Even before I ripped the cellophane wrap off of the package, I knew I was going to love Dragon's Crown. After all, it was made by one of my favorite game developers, the illustrious Vanillaware. It's evidently set in the same universe as Odin Sphere, one of my all-time favorite video games (and Vanillaware's magnum opus, if you ask me), albeit much, much later in its chronology. It's a beat-em-up with RPG ambitions. It's all guaranteed to be good right? I thought Dragon's Crown was going to be a fun, guilty pleasure diversion between more grand gaming undertakings. Well, I was wrong. Dragon's Crown isn't just "good," it's great, stupendous, marvelous, incredible, damn near PERFECT for its genre. I thought I'd really like DC, but I have been genuinely surprised at how much I love the game. Once again, VW has exceeded my expectations and given me a game I'll cherish for years to come.
* 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.
The game itself is cool. It's a nifty little platform RPG. Just like all other vita games, it's small in size with the levels and overall story, but still a great game for it's size. The combat is very different from other Action/RPG games in the way you use your skills. The characters are rich and very fun to play with. My favorite is the sorceress. The loot system is nice. You find loot throughout the stages and at the end you have to identify each item and decide if you want to keep or sell the loot you've found. You also can play solo or with 3 other NPCS you find in the stages and they can also be equipped with the gear you find. The story is also narrated the entire time you play, which can get annoying at times, especially when your exploring a dungeon and the narrator starts talking about the quest that you've undertaken while you get attacked by enemies! If you like platform and role playing games, this game is great.
This game purchase was an amazing treat. First off, I bought it when it was on sale for $29.99. It arrived quickly and to my surprise, came with a nice artbook full of artwork from the game. The quality of the book and print wasnt all that great, but still...it was an unexpected bonus.
Now, about the game. I remember preordering this game about 2 years ago and was bummed when it got delayed. I wasnt exactly sure what to expect, but it looked very similar to Golden Axe, which was one of my favorite games. Well....it does have some similarities, but it is very very different and much more involved.
The art in this game is amazing. Its amazing to know the entire game was hand drawn.
Also, the soundtrack is out of this world. There are many parts that remind me of lord of the rings, however, the soundtrack stands on it own.
The gameplay is also very addictive. I love the added missions and the main story line seems to be pretty decent as well. The narration is also done very well.
This game is truly a work of art among being a very fun and addictive game. I like that it is easy to pick up this game and play for a short period of time and be able to pick up right where you left off. The game makes it very easy to remember what to do next because the narrator tells you when you start up where you left off. But it is also very easy to get sucked into this game and play for hours on end.
I dont usually pay full price for games, but this game would have been worth the full price if I paid it.
First off, this is Vita version review of Dragon's Crown. My first impressions were, of course having to own a pre-order copy of the art book and how beautifully illustrated they were! As for the game it started off pretty quick after customizing your character and throws you right into the action and getting to know your local appraiser/magician, wizard, priest who can resurrect people, the monarchs and yes, a guild master for your quest and looting needs. So let's proceed to my relatively quick review.
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!
I knew this game would be great but i've been playing the heck out of it lately. I started out playing Diablo 2 LOD back in 98' and eventually graduated to playing full blown MMORPG'S like Final Fantasy XI. I am currently in the military active duty so I do not have as much time to invest into a MMORPG. I can pick up the PS Vita and play Dragon's Crown whenever i want. Solo or online, the lag can be forgiven. I currently have 130+ hours invested into the game with 3 level 99 characters. My first character took 75 hours to get to maximum level. Afterwards you can power level a character to Infernal difficulty with 3 level 99 NPC's. The game reminds me of playing Streets of Rage, Battle Toads and Double Dragon but with customization with different equipment and spells. I chose to level the hardest jobs first, being Sorceress to Elf then the easier Amazon. Elf sucked most of the way but now she is a powerhouse at 99. The game is awesome and there is a massive replay value.
Now that Atlus has updated the game with the new patch that allows ps vita players and ps3 players to play together. I always have no problem finding a room to play with other people. It would be nice in the future if they release an update with more characters but right now with 6 different classes i have no problem finding variety in my play styles. The music is nice and the art style is amazing. The gameplay is a lot more hectic than Muramasa Rebirth since three other characters are blasting around enemies but I still have time to screen shot some of the action. I highly recommend this game and I feel that this game will be around for quite some time.
All the action and RPG elements you could want in a portable form. There is no skill tree but there are skills and they have levels and requirements. Each class plays different even when they they do the same thing, this is thanks to the skills they greatly change how you play. Online play is smooth and I love drop in and drop out multiplayer. You can have a NPC and have it become a real player and if they leave you get NPC again so if you want you are never alone. Healing is not plentiful but you can get by. One of my favorite things in the game is a mini game for when you are camping(doesn't appear often) you cook different foods and boil and fry and make soup and you eat them there in this hilarious fun 4 player mini game. The more you eat , the more buffs you get for the next quest. Overall it works like Diablo in terms of beating the game to get higher difficulty and higher level cap and better equipment. Rinse repeat for next difficulty, it gives the game replay ability and it is quite challenging.
Originally I preodered this game because it looked interesting, and it was published by Atlus. And in my mind anything touched by Atlus is simply made of gold, so I preordered and eventually found it on my door step come release day. And to my surprise this game was a hell lot of more fun than I thought it would be. The controls are quite fluid, and I love the side scrolling beat 'em up style. In this game you get six characters, the Fighter, Wizard, Soceress, Drawf, Amazon, and the Elf. I started out with the Elf, and I must admit that she's my favorite character to play as for she is pretty fast and agile, not to mention she's a very good long ranged fighter. I haven't finished the story with her yet but I'm really enjoying my time with this game. After using the Elf for a good time i decided to use the Fighter a bit and found that I liked him too as he wasn't as slow moving as I originally feared, though I haven't gotten very far with him. I have dabbled a bit in the Soceress and all I can say is...I like watching her run. That is all. Haven't done much with the other characters but I do plan on playing as them eventually. So yeah, the game is a lot of fun. It's a bit of a throwback to the old style beat 'em up games and even then calling it a simple Beat 'em up game doesn't do just how good this game is justice. I'll admit that the story's a bit weak, it's not a bad story, but it's obvious that this game was not meant to be very focused on story and instead had much attention placed on gameplay. And it did a very good job, if you like games like this and you own a Vita I can't recommend this anymore than I already am, go buy it.
At first I was tempted to cancel my pre-order thinking that this game might not be what I'd expected. Boy was I glad that didn't happen! Once I finally got my hands on it and started to play I found that I was pleasently surprised with the entertainment value. The controls are easy to get used to and the individual character controls are not hard at all to remember, unlike some games that have a a dozen or so pages of move combinations that they expect players to remember at the drop of a hat. I'd definitely recommend this game to any fans of the classic side scroller dungeon games. In my opinion even with the mild violence and the slightly suggestive costumes of a few of female characters, I'd still recommend this game for any age.
CONS: I will say that it does follow many a game in it's monotonous grinding of levels and the constant revisitation of the same areas. Because of this many players who are not used to a game with grinding after grinding to level might lose interest very quickly.
This game is not only beautiful but it's enthralling and highly addictive. You get several characters to chose from and I love leveling up my character and having complete control on the skills learned. The gameplay is fluid and easy to catch on to. A solid story line and plenty of side missions to level up and keep you busy, this an amazing action RPG that I recommend to anyone who's a fan of the genre and anyone looking for something different. Absolutely love this game.
Despite some of the criticism the game received for the art style, if you can get past that you'll find a solid side-scrolling dungeon crawler, beat-em-up game here. The developer has pushed out a number of patches and updates since the game's launch, with the latest one guaranteeing probably at least a hundred more hours of playtime with the increased level cap of 250. The story isn't the strongest part of the game--it's more window dressing to get you into the dungeons to hack and slash your way to loot. And in a lot of ways that's the main focus of the game: entering a dungeon solo or with online (or computer-controlled) players, killing a bunch of monsters, and collecting new weapons, armor and accessories. In a lot of ways it's like Diablo-on-the-go for that aspect of the game. There's a lot of replay value to this game if you're into this genre, but if you're not a big fan of side-scrolling lootfests, you might not appreciate the game. And the updates have helped alleviate some of the repetitiveness the game had after clearing it one or two times with one of the six characters.