For years, table-top games and video games have pulled ideas and themes from Dungeons and Dragons. From Gauntlet to World of Warcraft, something just clicks about four to five people taking down the forces of evil in a realm of magic, knights, and dragons. Well Dragon’s Crown takes those principles and applies them to an RPG Beat-‘em-up combo. The question is how did it turn out? Read more to find out!
From a presentation perspective, Dragon’s Crown is near flawless. The game is gorgeous; it looks like a painting come to life with vibrant colors, beautiful effects, unique characters designs, and well-drawn backgrounds. Several moments are just stunning from huge battles to quiet scenes in town. The moment when you are out-running a wave of lava on a magic carpet put me in a state of awe. The sound design also is well-done. Voice acting is solid and every character sounds just right. No performance really stands out but there aren’t any bad ones either. Sound effects are perfect with every spell, hit, and creature sounding like what you would expect. Music is the one weak spot with no songs that really stand out. The music that is in the game fits the tone at least and never gets on your nerves even after hours of play.
The story is pretty predictable but nonetheless entertaining. You and your team of adventurers are out to help the local heroes guild in the Hydeland. Around the same time, several forces are threatening the kingdom. So it is up to you and your allies to save the kingdom. The story is told entirely through an incredibly charming narrator and pictures of characters with text boxes. It’s not bad, just pretty run of the mill, and I feel full-on animated cutscenes would have been a better route to go.
Thankfully, just like the presentation, the gameplay is superb. It is a 2D beat-‘em-up with RPG elements. Think if Final Fight and Diablo had a baby. You go through screens fighting enemies, exploring, collecting loot, and leveling up. There are multiple classes that all excel at different things. The wizard is all about offensive magic and is for more experienced players or those wanting a challenge. The Dwarf on the other hand is all about melee fighting, better for newer players. The six different classes all have their own quirks and skills that you will have to learn. Combat is fun and simple. You have two buttons for attacks that change depending on your weapon and where you are moving the analog stick. Then there are special attacks that have limited uses per dungeon and are mapped to the d-pad. It is very streamlined and early on can seem a little too simple, but it grows more complicated eventually. It is also very lengthy. One play through with one character on normal lasts around fifteen hours. That is before unlocking inferno mode or the B path you need to beat to see the true ending. Also like Diablo, the hour counter may go up even more because of wanting to have the best gear in the game.
One thing I really enjoyed is playing with other people. It is just incredibly satisfying when you and a group of friends just let off all your supers on a boss at once, or when the melee classes cause a distraction that lets the ranged get away and light the group of enemies up. If you don’t have friends to play with, then you can collect the bones of players who died and bring them back as AI companions. Dragon’s Crown is good alone but it is truly great with friends. That said, the game has a very weak tutorial and it took me quite some time to figure out simple things like how to map special spells. Eventually I learned everything I needed to but the game could have been better at telling me what I needed. There are other small interface issues, like not being able to pause the game, or having each individual person enter the heroes guild to take side quests or learn new skills. None of these issues are game breaking, but they are irritating and hinder the experience.
Dragon’s Crown is a fun game with some irritating minor issues. The story isn’t particularly strong, and there are plenty of interface and tutorial issues. These issues are minor when compared to the fantastic presentation, featuring immaculate visuals and entertaining gameplay. The gameplay reminded me of playing Gauntlet or Diablo. It is a fun alone but it is truly meant to be played with friends. If you have some friends to play with or want a twist on the old school beat-‘em-up, Dragon’s Crown is for you.
Final Score: 8.0/10