Dragon Quest Builders 2 – Nintendo Switch

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Combining both RPG and crafting gameplay together, this game is all about gathering materials to create things like weapons, buildings, and even entire towns; With the help of the mysterious Malroth and other villagers, you'll be exploring large islands, finding quests, and battling monsters and...

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I enjoyed the first Dragon Quest Builders, and played it through a second time in anticipation of DQB2. (I bought the Switch to play Zelda, and was surprised that I found DQB entertaining and engaging. A merger of minecraft-style play and an adventure game... more fun than I'd guessed.) DQB2 is full of disappointment.----------Update, kid talk:As I've 'finished' the game (although I'm now doing an optional, um, epilogue? (not optional in the sense of the story, though)). I started playing Nintendo games when my son was kindergarten age, so I sometime mentally try to imagine what it would have been like to play a particular game with a kid. (We used to pass the controller around and play Zelda as a family. Also, my son was in general a reluctant reader, but would read the dialog in games, so yay for the Nintendo games.) I now have the sense that many of the things I find annoying were put there so that younger players could play this game. I can imagine playing this with my young son, and spending more time with it, slowly reading every word of the text I now try largely to click through, and thinking about the story and maybe having a conversation about "what's going to happen" or the like. I imagine my child being able to play most of the game himself, although there's just a couple of flat spots where you're not given the explicit hints (which is fine, but they're unlike the rest of the game, so I think these are gaffes). The ghosts that come out at night are now much more powerful, and I'm of a mixed mind about that for kids. On the one hand, if you go to sleep, the ghosts don't appear. On the other hand, it also sort of confirms that yeah, there's a monster that comes out at night, out of nowhere, so hmmmm. There are also just a couple of battles that I was not quite strong enough for / had enough food for at that point in the game. (I am a fairly abysmal swordsman, though.) Sadly, for the most part, the women characters are nurturers and homemakers, and really frustratingly, most of them have to wear bunny suits and dance in one of the chapters/islands. Time to shape up, Square Enix. I do think the designers had a "baby Zelda" notion in mind when creating this, although (of course) they are nowhere near the magic of the Zelda series.----------Update, game-design talk:1. The backbone of this game is that there's a story, but the story is kind of cr...fertilizer. I think the authors of the game did not love the world they're working in. There are repeated clumsy contrivances to advance the game. Also, what the heck, the core idea is the yin and yang of creation and destruction which could have been an epic storyline for this world. It should have been. But again, although there is a clear story that runs through this game, it is poorly realized.2. I've never played the regular Dragon Quest games, but to me the novelty here was minecraft+adventure. You build really elaborate things in this game, but you don't design them, and for the most part you don't even build them (they get built for you). So, although this is a world of cubes, they have removed a lot of the minecraft creativity that was part of the first game.3. There's some really shoddy programming/design here. I did some things out of the expected sequence (acquired things while out exploring that I hadn't been told to fetch yet), and that task sort of jammed until I sort of backtraced through some intermediate steps to trip whatever flag.4. Relatedly, I like the scavenger-hunt islands (which can largely be skipped if you don't care for them), which are generated at random. Turns out, at least one of the islands can be generated without all the things on the scavenger-hunt list. Six times, I had to go back to that island, before it generated the missing items. (Granted, I surely had a bad luck of the draw, but geez.) Right, and the mechanics are all borked for recognizing that you're right in front of an item on the list. Sometimes you have to move and move and move to try to get into just the right spot for the game to acknowledge that you're looking at that thing.5. The game crashed three times while playing. Eh? Mostly, it autosaves fine, I guess, but one time, I lost about 20 minutes of my game.Again, overall, it seems like Square Enix had to make a game and they made a game that met the specs, but they didn't really put their hearts into it.----------While I do think there are some facets that are improved with DQB2, overall, I'm finding it mostly tedious. Here's some specific thoughts:1. I suggest you play through the free demo before getting this. If you don't find those tedious, you are good to go.2. In general, the gameplay is enormously linear and specific. It's the style of a game like this to be given 'errands' to do. In general in DQB2, you are given one specific errand and you are told exactly how to complete it. When you complete that one thing, you are given your next task (and told exactly how to complete it).3. Long stretches of blah-blah-blah text to click through, and similarly some animations you have to wait through. It's like they're trying to extend the 'gameplay' by making you endure these things.So far, I've finished the first island (Furrowfield). I got excited somewhere in the middle of this, when it appeared that it had all been an extended tutorial and I was going to be able to make some of my own decisions, but by the end of the island, it was back to super specific, I'll tell you exactly what to do, one at a time, errands. Granted, you can decide where your scarecrows/crops go to some extent, and where you build the couple of specific rooms you're asked to build. But you're fairly well constrained by the geography. I confess that I enjoyed building my cities and deciding where things would go in DQB and in DQB2 (so far), I don't have much leeway to plan out a city. In some ways, the emphasis here is on growing crops instead of building your city, and I'm not really into farming games. (Note: it was only the one island where farming was the thing.) Right, and I enjoyed designing my city's defenses in DQB, and that's not a thing you do here.Other stuff:1. The tutorial is plodding and Not Fun. You should be able to skip it (especially because you might have suffered through it if you tried the demo).2. Is all the human-made fertilizer ingredient funny or sophomoric? Sure, it's is a good fertilizer. The running gag does not hold my interest.3. It's only been one island, but so far the battles are very melee style. As long as you watch your health (and stop and eat in the middle of battle), you're not going to die.4. They switched up the mechanics for items and how you use them a bit, and I'm not sure there was good reason for doing this. Is 'more complicated' better? I'm not feeling it. I especially don't like that they changed the mechanics of placing blocks a bit. I find it harder to build. Right, but I'm not supposed to be doing as much building here.5. In general, does this game know its audience? The style of gameplay suggests younger players, and even the fertilizer would play to that, but there are also some adult jokes/quips.Granted:1. DQB had the weird chapters thing, where the worlds didn't connect, and here, they do. So DQB2 has a more cohesive story.2. It could be hard to figure out what you were supposed to do to win the battles at the end of each chapter in DQB, and hey, with a melee, you don't have to worry about that. (In DQB I think that was a game design issue, too, that the level/chapter didn't give you enough training with the critical concept so that you'd know how to use it at the end.)They made a number of things 'easier' from DQB, which again, suggests trying to appeal to younger players. But overall, the gameplay is not very interesting because it's overly mapped out. I feel like the makers of this game did not love DQB and were given some specs and rolled their eyes and followed the specs... and then we end up with this very mechanical game.Tedious. Disappointing. (And yet, I played it all the way through. But I will never replay this game. More likely to do DQB a third time than this a second time.)
I loved the first Dragon quest builders so I made sure to purchase this one as well. It is SO much better than the first one. I don't want to spoil the game but I will say the story is great. The is an open world theme. It's not like the Chapters in the first game - it's much different (in a good way). You have a follower that is really helpful. He fights monsters and gather the same type of material you gather. The worlds are MUCH bigger than the first game, and your building area is extremely big compared to the first. The also updated the visual controls and really polished this one out. If you liked the first game at all you will absolutely love this one. There are many new things possible in this game that were not available in the first. It's really well done and I can be picky. The only negative I have to say is some of script can be really cringe at times. One character is always saying things like lit, fam, totes, and hype. And some of the dialogue is written in a lisp - which can be hard to smoothly read and takes away from flow of the story as I'm trying to read the words the way they are spelled with that included lisp. And some others are written in a "hillbilly" sort of way? I'm not really sure how to describe it other than they spell out the words the way a really country back woods person would say and it does get annoying at times. I haven't beat it yet but I feel like I've gotten about halfway maybe. Even with the above complaints I'm still giving it 5 stars because I love the dynamics of the game and how the story plays out and the different things I'm allowed to do this go around.
I love this game. I loved the first one, but I love this one even more. If you're wanting to build replicas of 18th century China, or NYC, etc then Minecraft will obviously be a better tool.If you want a really fun rpg/adventure game with fleshed out building mechanics, intuitive controls, a touching story, surprisinglyg good writing, NPCs that feel alive, etc then DQB is the game for you.

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