Dragon Quest Builders was a game that Minecraft could never hope to be and successfully melded crafting, survival and RPG mechanics.
However, it wasn’t perfect.
After each chapter, you were forced to start all over. Your sense of accomplishment was dulled and it became a bit of a slog. Similarly, as it was only playable in 3rd person, building intricate and detailed things could get a little finicky. It also became really frustrating collecting materials.
Square Enix is back with Dragon Quest Builders 2 and has fixed all of these issues. Not only that, the sequel is a bigger, better and more interesting game.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 Review
The first Dragon Quest Builders was set in the same world as the original Dragon Quest. Similarly, Dragon Quest Builders 2 is set in the same world as Dragon Quest 2 and is set sometime after the events of that game.
As someone not familiar with Dragon Quest or its lore, I’m not really sure about the importance of Malroth or the Children of Hargon. However, a knowledge of the old game(s) isn’t really necessary. The story is simple, yet effectively told through lots of dialogue.
Lots and lots of dialogue.
If you’re not a fan of reading while playing, you can skip through most of it and still get the gist. But, if you do read while you play, you’ll be treated to a funny, heartwarming and silly story.
What’s the story?
Essentially, the world lays in ruins as the Children of Hargon have forbidden all building, all farming, all mining and anything that is considered creative. This is due to their beliefs in the teachings of Hargon and the power of destruction.
As a prisoner on a ship, you’re shipwrecked on an abandoned island and meet a human named Malroth. Malroth has no memory of his life but works with the Builder and they become fast friends. They set out to create a life on this island by travelling to nearby islands and finding food, shelter and more.
The plot is actually helpful in setting up the gameplay in Dragon Quest Builders 2. Instead of having to start over each time you reach a new area, in Dragon Quest Builders 2 you have a hub island. This is your free build zone.
There are a few mandatory projects, but, overall, you have free reign to do and build what you want. Progress is slow though since you need to travel to each other island to learn one major mechanic; farming, mining, combat and more.
Islands in the Stream
Each of these islands is a chapter which has an overarching goal with multiple missions in between. These islands teach you the basics of the game and how to build your own island into whatever you like. As you progress you learn new recipes and gain new abilities.
Thankfully, you bring all of these with you on each new island. You don’t start with any of your materials, but you do have your skills, weapons and items. In Dragon Quest Builders 2 your hammer and weapon are no longer mapped to the same button which is incredibly handy.
As a result, the hammer isn’t really able to deal damage, but there are so many weapon blueprints that you won’t mind. On the subject of weapons, Dragon Quest Builders 2 gives you a partner — Malroth — for the duration of the game.
Malroth fights with you, he helps you gather materials and generally speeds up your overall progress. It’s such an improvement over the first game that you’ll wonder how you ever did without him in the first place.
Partners in Mine
Additionally, when the game tasks you with building enormous projects, the villages, farmers, soldiers etc all pitch in and help build. They’ll collect all the required materials and build the building freeing you up to complete missions. When you head to the second island to learn to mine, you won’t have to mine for metals yourself.
You can, of course, but you don’t need to as, at the end of each day cycle, the miners will fill a chest with metals for you. You may be thinking that all of these materials being given to you may be a problem as you won’t be able to hold them all. Thankfully, that’s a problem of the past.
In Dragon Quest Builders 2, you’re not limited like you were in the first game. Instead, if you’re inventory is full, items are placed in your backpack which has huge amounts of storage. This means you’re never short on materials for crafting and can get on with the tasks at hand.
It’s all Mine
And that’s what Dragon Quest Builders 2 is all about. It’s a ridiculous amount of fun to build and create in this game. There are so many items to find and invent. An insane number of rooms to discover and an almost endless amount of content to play with.
The story is classic JRPG and (assumedly) classic Dragon Quest and it helps teach you the game, the way it works and the freedom you have when you play. The joy in playing is in the discovery and while playing Dragon Quest Builders 2, you’ll be making discoveries constantly.
I played it on both PS4 and Switch and either way you’re getting a fantastic game. Playing on the Switch works flawlessly and is visually indistinguishable from the PS4 version.
It’s not the most gorgeous game on the planet, but the visuals are great and suit the style. Plus the Akira Toriyama characters designs are always brilliant.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a wonderful, time consuming, engaging, joyous game. It will have you smiling ear to ear and you won’t stop, not even for a minute.
On either PS4 or Switch, it’s a must buy.
Oh, and you can play in first-person now!
Dragon Quest Builders 2 was reviewed on PS4 and Switch using digital codes provided by Square Enix and Nintendo.
Game Title: Dragon Quest Builders 2
- Great JRPG-story and gameplay - 8.7/108.7/10
- Streamlined and improved over the first game - 9.3/109.3/10
- Lots to build, lots to do - 8.2/108.2/10
- Top-notch character designs - 9.1/109.1/10