Action-RPG spin-off gets a sequel
Following the successful original, Dragon Quest Heroes II has arrived on PS4. Like its predecessor, the game transforms this traditional RPG series into a Musou-style experience similar to Koei Tecmo’s Hyrule Warriors. Only this time it’s bigger, bolder, and lets you play with up to 4-players. It’s also completely open-world, too, letting you explore this vast world and engage in epic monster battles with friends.
1,000 years of peace
Dragon Quest Heroes II is set in an all-new world with new heroes and a new story. It begins by letting you play as either Lazarel or Teresa, two knights-in-training who also happen to be cousins. They’re also joined by the adorably cute Healix, a floating Healslime wearing a red beret.
The trio live in a world divided into seven realms bound by a peace accord signed a millennium ago. That is until the Dunisian army arrives, led by Lazarel and Teresa’s old friend Prince Cesar. Suddenly the long-kept peace is broken, throwing the world into confusion and disarray. It’s your job, of course, to discover the truth behind his foul invasion and restore order to the world.
Huge number of playable characters
Like its forebear, Dragon Quest Heroes II brings together a cast of unique characters each with distinctive moves and abilities. There are 15 characters in all (excluding DLC), including five returning favourites, and ten that are new. This amounts to the largest roster ever for the series, surpassing the original’s dozen playable characters.
New characters include the aforementioned cousins, plus the arrival of popular characters like Angelo (DQVII) and Carver (DQVI). As for who’s back, there’s Kiryl, Alena, and Maya from DQIV, as well as Terry (DQVI) and Jessica (DQVII).
As mentioned above, each character has their own specialized moves so they all handle rather unique. For example, Torneko the merchant is an amazing healer, while Carver the buff brawler is good for dealing serious damage. You can bring up to four characters into battle at a time, giving you a vast amount of strategic options. This is especially important considering characters have elemental powers that can give you the advantage in specific regions. For example, Teresa has a bunch of fire-based attacks well-suited for combat in the game’s snowy mountainous region.
Massive open game world
One of the biggest and best changes in DQHII is the game world is now open for you to explore. In the previous game, you flew around in an airship and would drop down to take on individual quests. Now the world is fully connected and it feels much more like, well, a real Dragon Force game.
The map is divided into seven main regions with a sprawling city called Accordia at the centre of it all. Inside Accordia you can change party members, save your game, accept Quests for rewards, and buy items, weapons, and accessories.
Outside the city walls is a sprawling world filled with gorgeously varied terrain like grasslands, swampy marshes, forests, and more. The original game was quite stunning in and of itself, but the sequel ratchets the visuals up several notches. This is especially apparent when playing on PS4 Pro‘s exclusive Enhanced Mode. However, I did notice this mode drops the frame rate a bit, which is a bit of a disappointment.
On the topic of graphics, I have the mention the absurdly beautiful character art from world-renowned artist Akira Toriyama. Your heroes all possess distinct visual appearances, and each one oozes with utmost charm. Furthermore, their stellar visual presentations are backed by top-notch voice work that really brings them to life.
Moreover, the game’s monsters are equally as stunning. They’re bright, colourful, and many of them are enormous to boot. I also love how much personality monsters have, like the iconic Slime family’s pudgy cheeks, wide eyes, and beaming smile. Dozens of other monsters will make you smile and giggle too, like the Sweaty Yetis and Bag o’ Laughs.
While traditional Dragon Quest games feature turn-based combat, the action in this game is real-time and a fast 60fps. You directly control your characters in combat and can perform a variety of flashy, devastating combos.
To add even more spice to battles, by holding the R1 button you can perform four pre-set special moves. These cost MP to execute, and typically result in powerful attacks or buff/debuff magic spells. To keep combat fast and thrilling, your MP automatically recharges over time. You can also instantly swap between all four of your party members to unleash powerful combos one after another.
Battling solo is plenty of fun, but it’s even better when you bring your friends along. To that end, for the first time ever Dragon Quest Heroes II adds multiplayer to the mix. Multiplayer allows you to form parties of up to four online to conquer swarms of enemies and defeat powerful monsters.
Two multiplayer modes are available for you to choose from: taking on Story missions, or exploring Dimensional Dungeons. For Story missions, you can call upon friends to help with your current battle, or help others in missions you’ve already completed. On the other hand, Dimensional Dungeons are multiplayer-specific dungeons with randomized monsters and tons of loot.
My experience connecting with friends and players from around the world was seamless, and there was no lag whatsoever. Overall, multiplayer is unquestionably an awesome addition that makes this game even better.
Dragon Quest Heroes II builds upon this excellent series, adding innovative elements to spice up the experience and greatly improve it. The RPG elements have been vastly refined and the game offers immense scale. In addition, the inclusion of 4-player co-op makes this a game you can enjoy with friends. It’s a worthy successor and will certainly appeal to Dragon Quest and action-RPG fans.
+ Even more beautiful graphics
+ Character art and animation is top-notch
+ Rich open world to explore
+ RPG elements are much improved
+ Includes 4-player co-op
– Combat can get a bit repetitive
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5