One-Hundred years have passed since our Hero, the descendant of Erdrick, defeated the Evil Dragonlord as his predecessor once did. Following in the footsteps of Dragon Quest, Dragon Quest II follows another in the line of Erdrick who must set out to find the Prince and Princess of the two sister kingdoms as they all descend from the same line in order to fight off a Priest gone mad with power. Working off the premise of more, Dragon Quest II finds more enemies to fight, more party members to tackle the adventure with, more locations to visit, more spells to cast, and finally more bosses to fight. While this works in several cases, sometimes the idea of more is not a good thing.
Our second adventure into the realm of Dragon Quest starts off with our new Hero talking to his father. Tasked with joining forces with the other Prince and Princess, yes in that order because of distance of their kingdoms, we set off from our own kingdom with sword and shield in hand. Not even two steps out we encounter our first enemy. Using the same system as the first, we attack the enemy and they perish under the might of our royal blade swung by the blood of a hero. Get used to that feeling of triumph because it occurred two steps later, and two steps after that, and two steps after that.
Not even ten steps in and multiple encounters have been tackled. This more or less could occur until the very end of the game. The biggest fault of Dragon Quest II is the sheer amount of encounters that honestly turn the Random Encounter System into one that is honestly a Random Non-Encounter System. There are spells and potions available to reduce the amount of encounters but these only work if the party is strong enough to fend off the enemies with nothing more than a stare or a glare if you are really lucky. Prepare for absolute patience in this particular department as nothing is terrified of the party by the end of the adventure while storming the Mad Priest’s epic sized castle.
No longer a solo adventure like it’s predecessor, not all abilities are gifted onto one character this time around allowing for strategy to be put into place. Our Hero is the warrior and can both wear and wield the most powerful and heaviest of armors and weapons. The Prince strikes a balance between might and magic not being able to wield the heaviest of things but able to heal and cast fire spells. Finally our Princess is a master of the Arcane with potent healing spells and even stronger destructive ones. As the levels increase and so does the power however, our Hero can honestly feel underwhelming. While yes he’s essentially a walking battle tank, that’s all he is. With zero abilities the only use of our main hero is trying not to die and killing things as he has the highest attack values.
Where more does come into proper play are the various locations that can be explored throughout the lands. While Dragon Quest sought to have our descendant save the continent, Dragon Quest II would have our descendant’s descendants save the world. Streamlining certain features to make things a tad bit easier on our Heroes are specific keys that can be used over and over again. Dragon Quest had Golden Keys that could be carried six at a time and if you ran out while exploring it was back to the secret vendors in order to purchase more as the end of the adventure required a couple!
Doing away with the one time usage ideas, the sequel instead sees the usage of three separate keys in order to unlock three separate kinds of doors. Silver, Gold, and “Thief” doors litter the world. These specific keys will be needed in order to unlock these doors every time that you wish to make it through one as they will re-lock and shut themselves after our party leave that particular location. Like several other items that will be required for specific events over the course of the journey, inventory management will be crucial asset as between weapons and armors, there won’t be a whole lot of space left making the party instead rely rather heavily on Magic in order to see itself through the oncoming trials.
On a whole, Dragon Quest II doesn’t exactly escape the marring of the systems that it tried to introduce. Having put in so much “more” in order to advance itself over its predecessor, it sadly can be rather hard to look past a lot of its faults as they get in the way of the interesting experiments that were attempted within the larger world that I really wanted to enjoy. Sadly even victory over the Mad Priest could not bring more joy into the accomplishment of having saved the land with a lot of bitter sentiments that remained from the journey.
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Note: Background designs provided by Hamza
Screenshots provided through a Google Nexus 6 during playthrough
Article by Pierre-Yves