Platforms: Playstation 3, Playstation Vita
Release Date: August 6th, 2013
During the golden age of the arcade, Beat ‘em ups like Golden Axe and Capcom’s Dungeons & Dragons ruled the arcade space. Developer Vanillaware takes us back to that era with modern game design, high fidelity 2D graphics, and reinvigorated couch co-op which has been missing in video games for years. All of this becomes a game that is going to keep you playing for hours on end.
Art thouest ready?
The story in Dragon’s Crown revolves around the character you create. After doing some errands for the Adventurers Guild and Queen Vivian you find out that the King has perished looking for the Dragon’s Crown. Later on our hero finds out that the great Ancient Dragon has been awakened and threatens all life. The Ancient Dragon can only be defeated by collecting the nine talismans and defeating him. During this journey you will traverse through dank catacombs, lushes green forests, and even a dark eerie ghost ship.
The story is told through the voice of the narrator
Dragon’s Crown’s story may be just another high fantasy tale, but how the story is presented is very unique. The story is told through the voice of the narrator which you will come to love and then quickly hate after he repeats himself for the sixth time. I thought the narration was great and it reminded me of a Dungeon Master leading me on a quest. When traveling throughout the game each stage has its own separate tale. Seeing these for the first time was very magical, but hearing these tales over and over makes them start to lose their luster and sense of imagination. One last thing I want to mention is that there are some story choices you can make, but ultimately these are pointless and don’t amount to anything.
Ye olde Hack ‘n Slash
The core of your experience with Dragon’s Crown will be with its simple yet deep combat. Combat is conducted on different planes on a single screen that allow you to move freely up, down, left and right. Most combat is done with one button and a combination of the left analog stick or rapidly pressing the attack button. Using the D-pad will allow you to select different items in your inventory. Finally, the right analog stick is used to control a pointer to direct your rogue companion Rannie.
…simple yet deep combat.
Some of the problems I had here were that sometimes I had a hard time knowing if I was on the right plane and I would often miss my enemy. If there was a lot of action going on it was difficult to see my character. Dragon’s Crown also suffers heavily from massive slowdown when there is a lot of action on screen. I didn’t like how I selected items since I always had to at least tab over three times until I got to the item I wanted.
The biggest offender during gameplay was using the right analog stick to control the pointer. It was completely awkward and ruined the flow of the game having to click on treasure chests and the little sparkles on screen. Another aspect to look at is the normal enemies in the game are cannon fodder and are easy to dispatch. Only the bosses are able to put up any kind of challenge in the game.
Though there are some issues with the controls in the game it won’t keep you from enjoying the loot base system it presents. Dragon’s Crown is split up into nine different stages. Throughout these stages you will open treasure chests that contain different unidentified weapons and armor. Not knowing what you are going to get is great and when you get that epic S rank item it feels so satisfying. In order to find out exactly what you obtained you need to get the items appraised and being willing to spend some coin after you go back to town.
Later on after you finish the game it unlocks hard mode making the game a little tougher. Also you unlock the Coliseum where PvP battles can be conducted to see who is the strongest. My personal favorite thing you unlock is the Labyrinth of Chaos. This is a dungeon that doesn’t end and will keep you playing and collecting loot for hours.
Undeniably Dragon’s Crown’s artwork is the first thing that stands out. Somehow Vanillaware took a time machine back to the Renaissance period since these sprites look like a gothic painting. This art style fits appropriately for the setting.
Vanillaware took a time machine back to the Renaissance period
Every animation flows well together, but in a handful of instances the animation did look a bit choppy. The music is enchanting and whimsical with strong strings and flutes giving an authentic Medieval sound. I also want to give a nod to the voice actor for the narrator since he does a spectacular job pushing you along your adventure.
Thy Wrap Up
Vanillaware does it yet again, constantly redefining the 2D action game. If you like loot based driven games and some awesome old-school online or couch co-op then Dragon’s Crown should definitely be on your radar. Dragon’s Crown‘s replay value is through the roof and its cheaper than the normal price point, so it is well worth the price of admission.
BOG’s Dragon’s Crown Review Score
|7.5||Why so high?
Great combat, Amazing art style, Lots of replay value
|Why so low?
Second half of the game can feel like a grind, Little challenge, Strange control choices