Dragon Quest Heroes II Review

Dragon Quest Heroes II
The first Dragon Quest Heroes and Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below have managed to do something I would have never expected. It elevated the enjoyment of the Dragon Quest series by adding elements of the Dynasty Warriors series while still feeling like a Dragon Quest game. Dragon Quest Heroes II changes things to make the series stand out more while still keeping within the tone of the Dragon Quest Heroes games.

Set Off on a New Adventure

Peace has reigned across the land for over a thousand years. Something or someone seeks to destroy the treaty among the five kingdoms and bring about a new war. If you haven’t played the first game in the series, it’s not a problem. The game makes no mention of it, nor do any of the returning Dragon Quest characters. Unlike the first game, it feels like many of the characters you get later don’t feel like they really fit in the story. They feel more like they were just put into the game to increase the roster size.

The variety of fighting styles lets you mix and match your fighting styles, especially with your two main characters who now can swap class abilities as you level them up. Of course leveling up various classes will unlock even more classes for you to use. The only downfall is that your character’s level begins at one each time you start a new class. It also makes it a lot more enjoyable than having a party primarily consisting of a swordsman. It’s definitely worth trying different classes or maxing one out before starting a new one.

Map Changes

One of the biggest changes in the Dragon Quest Heroes II is the map. Unlike the first game, Dragon Quest Heroes II features one large map split into different areas. Players will visit certain locations multiple times while fighting enemies along the way. Each map leads to different areas and you can often find hidden paths to areas you’ve yet visited. This actually gives the game more of an RPG feel to it, especially with Zoom Stones. These have been given a much different and welcomed role.

In the first game, Zoom Stones would only let you jump back and forth between various areas of the map you are playing on. It played an important role in battles, but in the sequel, they are spread out across the various lands. They also serve as a way for you to jump between different areas. This is especially useful in preparing before a battle.

Battle 101

Dragon Quest Heroes II is split into three different zones which indicate what type of battle setting you can expect. The Wild Zone is pretty straight forward. It’s like walking a map in a traditional JRPG. Here you explore an area, fight or avoid enemies at your leisure as you proceed to your objective. War Zones are your large-scale battles which usually consist of fighting waves of enemies and big baddies in order to continue the story. Last up is the Hub Zone, which is located in the center of the map. It consists of your home base where you can save, change characters, buy new equipment and accept quests.

Your team is made up of four heroes. This is your main character and three party members of your choosing. As you progress through the game, you gain new party members from various Dragon Quest games. Each character has their own fighting style and abilities, and not all of the characters are well balanced. Learning to take advantage of each character’s abilities including buffs and debuffs can make a huge difference in battle. Just make sure to keep an eye on your MP.

The Return of High Tension and Monster Medals

High Tension hasn’t changed from the first game. It acts as your ultimate attack, dealing massive damage to your enemies. High Tension builds as you receive and take damage. And while active you have unlimited MP and are invincible.

Monster Medals was easily one of my favorite things in the first game. They return and get a really nice upgrade. Rather than summoning monster minions to help you in battles, you can also transform into a few of them too. This is a really welcome change from the first game. For a short time, you can transform into a specific monster, gain its ability, and go wild. They are useful in missions where you are forced to defend an NPC.

The character roster has been expanded with a few characters from the first game. Returning characters include Alena (DQIV), Kiryl (DQIV), Maya (DQIV), Terry (DQVI), and Jessica (DQVII). Dragon Quest VII’s Gabo and Maribel join the cast, along with Carver (DQVI). And for some reason that doesn’t make too much sense, Torneko and Maya’s younger sister Minea from Dragon Quest IV are added. That means there are five characters from DQ IV.

Request for Help

If you are having trouble completing a stage, you can make a request for help. It isn’t always a bad thing, thanks to your party member’s AI. When confronting huge bosses, try to focus on one of the more dangerous enemies and take them out quickly. The rest of your party might be doing their own thing and attack weaker enemies on the far end corner… lovely. Having a bit of help never hurts. There is also a cooperative mode where you can venture into special dungeons with other players online.

The visuals in Dragon Quest Heroes II doesn’t fail to impress. Taking the designs of Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama and making them stand out in 3D doesn’t seem like an easy task. But it’s something the developers did perfectly. The first game looked visually impressive, especially with all the action going on in the game. The team really outdid themselves.

As for the game’s audio, you have the option to select between English and Japanese audio tracks. The soundtrack isn’t all that impressive or memorable, but you do get to listen to a lot of iconic sounds and a few tracks from the previous Dragon Quest games.

Dragon Quest Heroes II: Final Reaction

Dragon Quest Heroes II does a great job of improving and tweaking elements from the first game. It feels more like a Dragon Quest RPG with action elements than it does a Dynasty Warrior game like the first game. With such an iconic franchise, it feels like the developers wanted to try a few new things. Overall it’s the step in the right direction for the series. If anything, I would have loved to see the return of cannons and other elements from the first game that were used to fight giant monsters. It beats having to fight a giant slow monster with another slow giant monster.

Rating: 3.5/5 Atoms

The publisher provided a Dragon Quest Heroes II PlayStation 4 digital code for this review.

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