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About the product
- A nearly endless cooperative online action RPG: Dragon's Crown allows up to four players to team up online to clear out monster-ridden dungeons, discover precious treasure, and destroy awe-inspiring bosses.
- Stunning HD visual design from the makers of Odin Sphere: Unparalleled in their unique style, developer Vanillaware painstakingly hand-paints every detail, be it a blade of grass or the scales on the game's impressive dragons.
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From George Kamitani and Vanillaware, the mind and design team behind Odin Sphere and Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Dragon's Crown is a multiplayer action RPG with breathtaking visual style, a design built around cooperative play and epic boss fights, and the ability to discover a new adventure in every play session. With Dragon's Crown, developer Vanillaware deftly marries stunning hand-drawn and animated art work with deep, action-packed hardcore gameplay.
Brandish your blade, dust off your grimoire, and rally your online adventuring party.
Dragon’s Crown thrusts you into a fantastical medieval world packed with labyrinthine dungeons to explore, vile monstrosities to smite, and nearly endless online adventure. Your mission is to dive into the dank underworld, uncovering treasure and strengthening your mettle as you unlock the secret behind the ancient dragon threatening the world.
Safe on the surface of the earth, humans believe that they dwell alone. Dragons, monsters and magic are simply fantasies to mankind — but what undiscovered secrets may lie right below our feet? Deep underground, a sprawling labyrinth holds treasure — and danger — beyond your wildest belief. Now, the portals to the subterranean world of magic have opened to you, inviting you on a perilous and glorious mission to uncover the dark secrets guarded by a deadly dragon. Descend into the labyrinth and arm yourself for massive-scale battles and magical encounters in the Dragon's dungeons.
The mysterious Dragon's Crown holds infinite power that's coveted by many. As a fierce warrior, you must journey through the winding pathways of the underground world to ensure that this power doesn't fall into the wrong hands. Embark on quests that take you across varying dungeon worlds, where you'll battle tremendous dragons and other powerful bosses in exhilarating combat. Hunt for hidden treasure, items and weapons that will propel you on your quest. Decide to team up with a legion of friends or take the road alone — whatever you choose, prepare for nonstop action and intense, role-playing immersion on your hunt for the Dragon's Crown.
- Descend into a labyrinth underground world on a quest to unlock the secrets behind a mighty dragon that threatens the land
- Hunt for hidden treasure, items and weapons that will maximize your power and aid you on your mission
- Embark on a variety of different, daring quests throughout endless dungeon worlds in addicting, long-lasting gameplay
- Battle deadly dragons and other fearsome foes in massive boss battles
- Customize and raise your character to experience the world in exciting new ways
- Join forces with your friends and conquer monsters together
- For 1 to 4 players
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* Note: I originally bought this game for the PS3 and loved it so much that I ended up buying the PS Vita version as well so I could play it on the go. I have no regrets.
Dragon's Crown's tale is a fairly big deviation from the deep, largely character driven tales of VW's past games. Set in the magical kingdom of Hydeland, the story revolves around you, the player, as one of six preset class archetypes, and your adventures as you fight for the kingdom of Hydeland and quest for the mystical Dragon's Crown, an artifact said to hold the power to control dragons. Coming from the more nuanced, character focused narratives of, say, Odin Sphere or Muramasa, DC's story may seem to be disappointingly simplistic and straightforward at first. However, it really does grow on you over time. There are plenty of likable characters that you'll encounter several times, and the story's events have a genuine feeling of impact and importance to them.
The whole tale is told via one central character you'll never ever see, a narrator. What a brilliant choice it was to have him! It's no stretch to say he elevates the story from decent to great, at least for me anyway. The way he delivers the lines, as well as the style in which he phrases the story's events definitely lends a MAJOR table top RPG vibe to the game, as if he's the DM and you're playing a game of D&D or GURPS with your friends. Being reminded of my table top RPG days was powerfully nostalgic for me, and it really made me love the story in this game. When I was young, I used to play beat-em-ups like Golden Axe,Knights of the Round/King of Dragons, and the Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara games. Even though those classics didn't have particularly deep stories, they did to me as they inspired my imagination to come up with back-stories, personalities for the characters, possible banter, etc. Those classics also made me feel empowered, as if my character really was a legendary hero in their universe. I haven't felt that from a game in years. I feel it from Dragon's Crown. Bravo to Vanillaware for that! I also have to give credit to them for creating a fascinating universe to play through. Even if the main tale isn't particularly ground-breaking, the world of DC is incredibly well realized from a story perspective. There are roughly 50 side-quests to undertake in the game, and doing so unlocks a new, gorgeous piece of art, as well as an awesome page's worth of lore to read connected with the art. These pieces of art and lore are incredibly engaging. I found myself completing all side quests just to read new info on the fascinating universe of DC.
Of course, I wouldn't be so caught up in the story of DC if the universe of the game wasn't so magical in its presentation, and it definitely is here. This game is so beautiful! Of course, this shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone familiar with VW. George Kamitani and the rest of VW's past works are filled to the brim with the kind of brilliant art design and execution that leaves your imagination afire and your heart captivated. Whereas Odin Sphere had a whimsical fairy tale look, and Muramasa opted for a mythological Japanese focus, Dragon's Crown is all about high fantasy. There's a sense of whimsy to it, but there are much more down-n-dirty and epic aspects overall. There's a huge variety to the locales you visit too. From traditionally Tolkien-esque fantasy towns, castles, forests, etc. to locales that feel more at home in ancient Greek and Roman mythological and historical settings, and even some inspired by Scriptures. Every place you visit just sucks you into the world of DC, making it breathe with life and magic. The characters are equally superb visually, both in design and animation quality. There's tons of variety as well, from the positively godlike physique of the dwarf, to the swift, slender build of the elf, all playable characters have a very distinct style and design (to the ire of some overly sensitive circles). Same goes for the enemy and boss designs which are, according to VW tradition, absolutely breathtaking. Same goes for the food dishes in the game that appear during campfire cooking segments. There are few developers who understand focus on art design does much more for a game visually and is far more timeless than trying to push the boundaries of ever-aging tech like VW does. They deserve applause for that.
Sound design is also quite fantastic. Just as with the visuals, everything is saturated with a fantastic fantasy motif. As I said earlier, the narrator does the majority of speaking in the game, and the actor who plays him did a fantastic job breathing life into the game's story. For $2 you can also purchase DLC that allows each main playable character to act as narrator, which is awesome. All of them do a great job as well. The real highlight with the sound, however, is the music. Hitoshi Sakimoto hit it out of the park. From the quieter moments, such as sitting at the tavern to level up and navigating the beautiful home town at Hydeland, to the intense events, such as fighting a massive red dragon across the halls of a long-abandoned capital city built into a mountainside, this game's soundtrack is simply wonderful. Overall, the sound design is superb.
The real meat-n-potatoes of the game, and the obvious focus during development, is the gameplay. George Kamitani stated prior to release that he wanted to take the classic beat-em-up genre to new heights, and I'd say he definitely succeeded here. There are six playable archetypes you can choose from. There's the Amazon, the Fighter, the Elf, the Wizard, the Sorceress, and my personal favorite, the Dwarf. All have immensely different play styles that make each one a very unique experience. The Dwarf is an incredibly strong brawler who has the unique ability to pick up and throw enemies to devastating effect, the Fighter is as straightforward as his name implies, and the Amazon favors tricky parries and a beserker style that rewards risk taking. On the other hand, the Elf is a much more strategic type class, with a strike and evade style that is deadly, and the Wizard and Sorceress classes are both magic users, with the former being more offensively capable and the latter being more of a supportive class. Each character offers a vastly different experience as you play. Not only are their move sets totally different, but each comes with a de facto difficulty setting, as some are more challenging to master than others. All are incredibly fun, especially when you can play with others in multiplayer. Fighting hoards of enemies, discovering secrets in the levels, as well as engaging awesome bosses, has never been more fun. It only gets better in multiplayer, both online and off.
There are also RPG elements that are brilliantly implemented. There's a skill point system tied to RPG elements and undertaking side quests that really engages you with the development of your character. New skills/abilities/passive traits open up at an excellent pace as you level up, so you always feel like your character is getting new, fresh moves to play with. Sometimes, leveling up skills does much more than just increase their damage, adding new excitement to seeing what will happen with skills you already liked. Of course, as is the main draw of most RPG-hybrid games like this, acquiring new and better loot is an addicting highlight. Add in other strategic elements such as item degradation, item management, an appraisal system for all loot, being able to find bones to resurrect into allies you can recruit, etc., and the result is a game that is as mentally engaging as it is viscerally satisfying. As always, VW's attempt to build onto an established action genre with new and exciting RPG elements is a smashing success.
There are some miscellaneous aspects of the game I have to praise VW for. First off, the online multiplayer in this game is, for the most part, superb. As I mentioned previously, you can find the bones of other "heroes" throughout the levels and, for a small fee, you can resurrect and recruit them to come along with you on your journeys if you select them to. These AI controlled characters are perfectly adequate, but if you have it connected to the net, other players will seamlessly jump in and replace NPC players. Some levels branch off to different paths with different bosses. Rather than a democratic system, you can pick whichever path you want and all the players that opted for the other path will still have their characters join you, only this time as NPCs. There are so many thoughtful design choices that went into the online multiplayer in this game, and it works very smoothly, for the most part. I also have to praise VW for the fact that they have continued to support this game immensely after launch. They have used patches to not only fix bugs and issues, but also to add, FOR FREE, the kind of substantial content most other companies would charge you money for as DLC. That. Is. Awesome. After a patch, DC has cross-play functionality, so if your friend only owns the Vita version and you only have PS3, you can still play together. The game allows you to upload your save file to a server so that you can continue your adventures on the go with the the PS Vita version, if you have it (I do, and this feature is great!).
Speaking of which, you may wonder which version of DC is the one to get, and that's a valid question. As it turns out, there is no clear winner. The game is equally great on either system, with each version having their own strengths. The PS3 version is best if you want to be able to enjoy the art design to its fullest detail, and it's better for multiplayer to have a bigger screen. On the other hand, the Vita version features excellent touch controls that easily outclass the PS3 version, which utilizes a very clunky, uncomfortable, pain in the @$$ cursor with the right analog stick. Being able to play a game like this on the go is also a major plus in the Vita version's favor. However, the smaller Vita screen does make it easy to lose track of what's happening and where your character is among all the mayhem. The Vita version also suffers from a bit of slowdown when the action is particularly intense, whereas I haven't noticed any on the PS3. Even so, the Vita version doesn't suffer too badly from this, but it is worth mentioning. Like I said, I own both versions and I love them both equally for different reasons. Really, the only complaint I can think of for the game is that it's not cross-buy. If you want both versions, you've got to plunk down the cash for both, which can be seen as a negative. Personally, it doesn't bother me too much. At the end of the day, it's still a great game no matter which version you go with.
I knew I was going to enjoy Dragon's Crown, but I've been genuinely surprised at just how much I LOVE this game. I've played it for well over 50 hours. I have leveled my Dwarf beyond the old 99 limit and beating the three difficulties (the final patch increased the level cap to 255 as well as added a fourth difficulty), finished every story event and side-quest, unlocked every piece of art. I also beat the story on normal mode with the other character classes. This was the very first game that I ever earned a Platinum Trophy on too, and I'm so glad it could be DC. It is just so special. VW has truly blown my expectations out of the water and delivered much more than just a pretty beat-em-up diversion. They have delivered an entry that has revitalized a classic genre (one that had been growing stale and tired until now) and elevated it to new heights. They also happened to release one of the most beautiful games of its generation, with a thrilling new universe that delivers nostalgia and fresh excitement in equal measure. I really cannot praise this game enough. If you're a fan of classical, epic high fantasy, artistic games that leave you stunned by their design, action games that have intelligent RPG designs, or just addictive beat-em-ups to play alone or with friends, then Dragon's Crown is the game for you. Buy it, prepare yourself for a rousing adventure, and enjoy reveling in what it feels like to be a hero of legend.
Story: I find it hard to take it serious after having read high fantasies before and to be honest, if translated to a text book, I suggest that you look somewhere else. I'll let the readers of my review do their own justice of the game's story since I really don't like giving a hint of spoilers. If you disagree with me readers, please care to tell me why. ;)
Gameplay: It's funny how most people associate this game as an old-school style beat 'em game since the retro counterparts of it rarely has an rpg element to it. It's an action/rpgs sidescroller at best and damn good one at that! I really like the diversity of characters you can choose; wizard, amazon, elf, sorceress, knight and who could forget a dwarf in a fantasy game? I personally picked the bookie wizard since I want to nuke the field right away at a stave's swing, and dissapointed I was not, and safe to assume that the other characters move fluidly just like him. And the vast array of equipments, armors and accessories are pretty deep for your micro managing satisfaction. I am playing solo right now and who needs local connection friends that floods your screen? I don't mind soloing bosses and experimenting new spells to level the ground.
Graphics: Hands down one of the best and imaginative piece I've ever seen and played. Since it's my first Vanillaware game I can safely assume that the other games are in the same graphic caliber. The character illustrations* are razor sharp and I couldn't help but reminisce the artwork of Ayako Kojima of Castlevania and MGS fame! Even the bosses are fun to fight not just because of the challenge they pose but the amazing and vibrant color that graces Vita's OLED screen. They've also incorporated a small panning and zooming of some levels (try Magician's tower) to my 3D delight.
Sound: I play this game with 3/4 of it's max volume and I'll rupture an eardrum soon because of it's magnificent and atmospheric score made by Hitoshi Sakimoto of Basiscape (FFXII anyone?). The narrator's voice is amazingly enjoyable, though sometimes you just wish it's Christopher Lee's. You'll even find yourself stalling in Hydeland map just to hear the haunting score and voice that reminds you of Tolkien licensed movie scores. The levels were aptly scored from cold dungeon, castle and to sun-dappled woodland.
Replay value: Guaranteed to make you play all the characters and the oh, so elusive S-rank loots that we sadly missed!
*Light note: The female characters and npcs are getting the heat from feminists.
Story: 3 stars
Gameplay: 5 stars
Graphics: 5 stars
Sound: 5 stars
Replay value: 4 stars
Please do yourself a favor and pick this one up if you have both Vita and PS3!