Libra: Dragon Quest Builders 2 (Switch)
Libra is a series which provides first impressions of games before their full review. These are generally spoiler free, however some base plot points – as well as some mechanic/system reveals – could lurk ahead.
For me, one of the biggest surprises of 2018 was how much I enjoyed the original Dragon Quest Builders. The combination of Minecraft building and exploration, alongside the art design and narrative influences of Dragon Quest, made for a truly unique experience, one which I believe can resonate with even those not particularly interested in the building/simulation genres. I’ve now spent several hours in Dragon Quest Builders 2 and I can’t help but feel that it improves on pretty much every aspect of its predecessor, save for a few outlying aspects.
Sometime after the defeat of Hargon in Dragon Quest II, his disciples, dubbed the Children of Hargon, are but a shadow of their former self, but still hell bent on destroying all living things. Builders, with the power of creation at their fingertips, are once again the enemies of the Order, and are rounded up in order to serve the vile faction until their usefulness runs out, ultimately leading to their deaths. You happen to be one of these builders, trapped upon a vessel of the Children of Hargon, forced to do their bidding until a massive storm provides the opportunity of escape that you need.
Crashing into a mysterious island, the builder befriends a couple of survivors, one of which doesn’t seem to originate from the same ship as the builder named Malroth. From there, the story goes from the trio simply doing what it takes to survive the island, to discovering new lands, recruiting new companions, fully realizing the purpose of the mysterious castaway Malroth, and perhaps stymieing the Children of Hargon once and for all. With the help of numerous companions, the builder will help revitalize seemingly lost nations through crafting, building, exploration, farming, and of course, beating up on the bad guys. Sounds fun, right? Well, it is.
- Like the first game, DQB2 masterfully blends comic relief with truly dire straits.
- Lots of things to gather, build, and craft.
- Inventory/stash management has been overhauled in a fantastic way.
- Equipment/Tool durability is no longer a thing.
- Permanent companion that helps move the gathering/combat process along.
- The previous “Terra Incognita” mode from DQB1, which is akin to a “Minecrafty” free-form building zone, returns and is cleverly grafted to the story this time around.
- Simple fast traveling system.
- Changes to cooking make the process much more tedious than in DQB1.
- Performance bogs down on numerous occasions, regardless of whether you’re in docked or handheld mode.
- Combat is still fairly basic, from a mechanical standpoint.
Be on the lookout for my official Dragon Quest Builders 2 review soon!