Dragon Quest Builders 2 is the first in the series that I have played and the first in the Dragon Quest franchise that I have played, so I was excited to give it a try but also apprehensive as to whether I was going to like it or not.
The main aim of the game is basically building, but not in the Minecraft sense where it’s just sandbox freedom, Dragon Quest Builders 2 has a story behind it and throughout the game you can build what you want to, however, there are always going to be things to build based on the story and what other people request of you. Like at the start of the game and the first island that you sail to ‘Furrowfield Island’ once you establish and start the farm there, you’re asked to create a bedroom for people to rest in, this then grows on the more you do, with barns being requested, more space for crops etc. While you’re asked to create these items as part of quests, you have the freedom to design them however you wish too. There may be some restrictions such as it has to be a certain size but other than that you’re free to build it however you want.
There was a point I had loads of people working on the farm and I went into the bedroom to find everyone crammed in, so I expanded on this to allow more room for them to sleep, seemed like the right thing to do.
This was one thing I loved about the game, it wasn’t scared to hold you by the hand and take you through to make sure you knew what was going on and what to do if you did get stuck, but then on the other hand, was more than happy to let you off the leash and explore the islands you were plonked onto.
I did find Dragon Quest Builders 2 to be a little wordy and stop/start, but I guess that was down to trying to get you used to the game and familiar with the controls at the beginning, as well as trying to make sure it got across the storyline and why you were building and doing what you were.
In terms of how the game looks, I really like it, it looks clean and there is some great use of colours. The game plays brilliantly as well, the controls feel smooth and I like the option of switching between first and third person. Both of which have their own advantages, I prefer the third person when I’m roaming about the islands, and the first person when building, I seem to get a better view for building when in the first person.
I’ve played the game on both PS4 and Nintendo Switch and will admit that both run just as well and there is, for me anyway, no noticeable downgrades or changes between the two version, which is very nice too see.
In terms of the Switch version, playing in handheld is a dream as well, the only reservation that I have with the handheld side of things is that the writing was sometimes really small on the screen and it was hard for me to read, but other than that, I enjoyed being able to just relax and play when my wife wanted to watch TV.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 does feature forms of multiplayer, one instance is the message board, which is basically posting your snapshots to a ‘message board’ for the world to see. Others can then go in and see your creations from the snapshot. Very clever.
You can also play with friends on the Isle of Awakening, you can team up and build with friends to your heart’s content, but only on the home island. All other islands in the game are single-player only. Which was a little disappointing as it would have been nice to complete those missions and get help from friends, but I kind of understand where the game was going with that.
For my first ‘Dragon Quest’ experience, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The building aspect wasn’t tedious, there was always a method to the madness, but not restricting it in the sense that you had to build this and that, there was always that balance that gave you creative freedom, while sometimes helping you along.