Game: Dragon’s Crown Developer: Vanillaware Publisher: Atlis, NIS America Release Date: Out Now Available On: PS3/Vita Version Played: PS3
Looking for treasure and adventure you begin one of the grandest adventures of all, explore labyrinths and dungeons all in search for the Dragon’s Crown. You are tasked with selecting one of 6 characters each with their individual strenghts and flaws that will make the player adapt a certain path to success for this game. The characters include a Fighter who has a strong defence, but is only able to wield a one handed weapon, the Amazon with the ability to wield a larger two handed weapon however, leaving their defences exposed, the Wizard possesses extremely strong magical abilities but is unable to fend off monsters physically, an Elf who has pin point accuracy with a bow but doesn’t like to be engaged up close, the Dwarf who yields amazing strength carrying double handled weapons and the ability to pick up nearly any of his adversaries and lastly the Sorceress who has immense magical powers but doesn’t hold up well in physical battles.
Once you are finished selecting your character you are tasked with locating the legendary Dragons Crown which has the power to tame and control mystic dragons. Hydeland’s king has become obsessed with finding the crown and has not yet returned from his latest attempt to locate it, which opens the plot for a power struggle with the throne.
Instantly you are drawn into the amazing artwork of the 2D hand drawn characters of this world (both during cut-scene’s and gameplay) that include allies, NPC’s and enemies all of which is complimented perfectly with a vibrantly colourful world that is extraordinary in design and details from is clear flowing waters to rusted out jail cells of a dungeon. Without a shadow of a doubt an exceptionally large amount of time has gone into fusing these two art concepts and it has been an amazing success for Dragons Crown. Every breath during cut-scene has been captured perfectly and during gameplay every movement for the hand drawn characters is fluid and seamless as they interact with the beautiful world that surrounds them.
Sound wise the game holds strong, capturing the theme of the medieval setting with an excellent sound track that contains a strong harp presence as well as some royal trumpets sounding at various times. Upon selecting your dungeon to conquer, you ears are treated to an enchanting vocal piece that is easily the bench mark of the score for this game. In battle clanks and clunks of swords and armour are captured perfectly as are the noises and cries of the living world which includes characters to the wild and mystical creatures that are present in Dragons Crown.
A presentational concern I did find with Dragon’s Crown however is the depiction of its female characters. While female characters do play a strong role in this game they have been drawn as having obscenely large breasts. Where my issue lies is that they have barely been covered up, some times only a strap of leather across the chest is what hides their nipples. Some people may find this as an exploitation of females or even in some cases sexist.
From the beginning you are instantly drawn into a world full of customisation; whatever character you select you are opted to select a colour scheme and a few phrases that will apply to your multiplayer gaming experience but I will touch on the multiplayer a bit later.
The opening tutorial takes you through perhaps the greatest part of this game. As a classic homage of 90’s beat em’ ups such as Golden Axe, I was instantly taken back to my childhood, tracking up and down the area back and forth swinging weapons, catching anything that was in the attack radius. This battle mechanic allows the player for an insane amount of fun and in today’s gaming, somewhat of a unique experience. Accompanying you in this excellent homage is the ability for your adventures to be shared with up to four players computer controlled or even online multiplayer across the PS3 and PS Vita
There is a fantastic amount of quests and side quests that will have you adventuring for hours as you conquer dungeons and labyrinths. As you do this, you gain experience that is used to level up boosting your various abilities. Treasures can be found throughout the dungeons and later appraised or sold, appraising can reveal much more powerful weapons or shields and even items used for various ability boosts or magic. All which are trait examples of the RPG that Dragons Crown has captured very well. These are just a small and brief overview of all the points you need to keep your eye on to successfully complete this game.
Controlling the character is a simple and enjoyable experience. Controls transfer perfectly to the Vita as well as your game saves to take this game anywhere and everywhere including online matching.
Whilst the story may not be anything exceptional or amazing it still does fail to stimulate your imagination although it does provide a foundation to get your adventure rolling. As you conquer the beautifully artistic and detailed worlds you cannot help but to be drawn into Dragon’s Crown whether it be by the excellent retro gaming feel of the action or the dungeon conquering and loot collecting, or the abundance of RPG elements that help to immerse your game even further.
The four characters on screen leads to non-stop action on screen with what seems like a million things going on but equates to a bucketful of fun online or locally. Dragon’s Crown for me has come out of nowhere and aside from a couple of issues certainly is a strong game that gamers can find themselves spending hours on.
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