Right when we thought the age of hack-and-slash sidescrollers was at an end, developer Vanillaware gave us reason to believe otherwise. Most of you must have heard about Dragon’s Crown because of it’s overly sexualized female characters that seem to have offended a lot of people in the past. Trust me though, you’ll stop noticing those themes after a few hours into the game as they are overshadowed by everything else it has to offer.
Dragon’s Crown will send a wave of nostalgia to fans of old side-scrollers such as Golden Axe as it borrows elements from it. Don’t worry though, Dragon’s Crown is quite unique in it’s own way as well. The game features nine dungeons for you to explore, either alone or with friends in local or online co-op mode. You have a six classes to choose from, from the typical, strong and well-dressed warrior to the magic-based Sorceress with the weird and quite revealing ‘armor’. Some classes like the Warrior and the Dwarf make the game quite easy to beat as all you have to do is hack and slash your day way through the hordes of enemies present in the nine dungeons that the game has to offer, while other classes such as the Sorceress or the Wizard will require you to play more carefully, making the game quite difficult.
Each class is different and offers a unique way to play. Start the game again with a new class and it’ll seem like a fresh experience even though everything else remains the same. As you gain experience points, you can get new abilities for your characters according to how you want to play. You also receive items along the way such as armor and weapons for each character. However, each item needs to be identified before you can use it, which can be a little annoying at times. Along with the your characters, each boss is quite interesting too. All boss fights are fun and and require some time and thinking to be beaten.
The first thing you’ll notice about Dragon’s Crown are it’s beautiful visuals. The background art is fabulous and will keep you staring at it for hours. Often, I would try to look for the background art on the internet so I could keep it at as a wallpaper. That doesn’t happen very often. The animations are quite fluid as well and it’s quite satisfying to see numbers upon numbers of the damage you deal to the enemies. It’s interesting to note that most animations are hand drawn which makes them different from what we’re used to seeing. The great music and sound adds to the already excellent atmosphere of Dragon’s Crown, giving every place a great feel and making you feel like jumping into the TV and entering the world of the game.
The only thing bad about Dragon’s Crown is it’s story. And that’s not something that can be overlooked. The story is quite typical and dry, with hardly any motive to keep you going. The characters are tasked with finding and retrieving the Dragon’s Crown, a powerful artifact, before it falls into the wrong hand. I often felt like the story was holding me back and wasting my time. I would have been happier if there wasn’t a story to begin with. At least then I wouldn’t have to listen to the same dialogue every time I entered a place or listen to the same points being repeated over and over again.
The main game is about fifteen hours, but there are plenty of sidequests over at the Adventure Guild that will keep you occupied. Where the game really shines is co-op. Nothing beats teaming up with your friends and beating the crap out of monsters. It’ll make you feel invincible. Single player can get a little boring at times, so it’s recommended that you play with someone. Online mode is unlocked after you beat the game though, after which you can play on higher difficulties and get help from other people online.
Dragon’s Crown Review (PS Vita)
Dragon's Crown is available on the PS3 and the PS Vita, but the two versions cannot be linked, except through save-sharing, meaning that there is no remote play or cross-buy. I would recommend going for the PS3 version of the game since a larger screen will definitely provide a better experience. The Vita's screen sometimes makes you feel like everything is too congested. This is true sometimes when there are just too many enemies, but the PS3 version will make it bearable.