by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
I actually owned Dragon’s Crown on the Playstation Vita, because by then my Playstation 3 had been sold. But the concept is simple but wonderful: You play as one of six character-class heroes: Fighter, Amazon, Elf, Dwarf, Wizard, Sorceress. It even stays true to older beat ’em ups, listing non-human races as classes. Each character is distinct in their own way, from the Sorceress’ humongous breasts to the Amazon and her massive posterior and abs. She has like . . . a twelve pack, it’s insane. Each character has their own specific powers, equippable weapons, and items, but what makes this so great to me, is that the main goal is adventure and riches. It’s also set in the same world as Odin Sphere and GrimGrimoire, which is just lovely.
There’s no overwhelming demon lurking overhead trying to eradicate all life, and no corrupt government out to kill and sacrifice their human populace. No, we’re adventurers, out for a real fortune. There is a plot to recover the Crown before someone else can claim it and potentially use it for sinister means, but that just feels secondary to the main point – Treasure! You can recruit NPC characters by finding their remains in dungeons, and resurrecting them at the Church. The main crux of the game can feel incredibly repetitive, but that’s what you expect in a beat ’em up, so that’s not really a negative. The beauty of this version of the game if you have a save file on the Playstation Network, you can pick up where you left off – and it’s cross-platform across Vita and Playstation 3. If you have friends that still have the game on earlier consoles, you can hook up and go exploring in dungeons together! I have a lot of friends who do still have the original on their PS3/Vita, so now we can go exploring when we couldn’t initially.
However, this version of the game does not have any “new” content that I’ve seen and is not a true “remaster” other than updated/upscaled graphics. I don’t have a 4k TV, so I can’t really see that for myself, but being able to play a visually updated version of Dragon’s Crown is just dandy. The soundtrack is also remade and has a wonderful orchestral sound that I always dig, but the fact remains that this might not be worth picking up for people who already bought the game – unless they don’t have their old console, or simply want to play a visual update of the game. I recommend it anyway, because it’s a fun game, and the notion of playing on a Playstation 4 is much better than being hunched over a Vita. You can join a party or go solo (though online play requires a bit of gameplay first), and the tutorial missions are nice and simple to get through.
The gameplay is quite simple – You and your party scroll through dungeons, swamps, dragon’s lairs and other danger-ridden places, casting spells, doling out damage, and having your handy-dandy Rogue pick locks for you. I wouldn’t trust that guy though, he’s quite shifty. There are giant bosses to fight, frustrating battles where you feel overwhelmed while playing solo, and the satisfaction of growing incredibly powerful and obliterating your foes with a wave of your hand. Dragon’s Crown was already one of the most beautiful beat ’em ups I had ever played, and that’s not because of the fanservice (of which there is plenty). I do think that the upscaled graphics are gorgeous, but the original game was already pretty phenomenal as is! I don’t think there was a need for added content here, so I’m just fine with the original game being basically reprinted. Also, since this is a cross-play title, they couldn’t really change a thing. If they had, the PS3/Vita versions would not be compatible. Is it worth it? Of course, without a doubt.
Who Is It For? 4/5
So, despite already owning the original, I lept at the chance to try the game again. It’s just as fun as I remember, if not more so since I can play in far more comfort. But I did have to ask who this game is really aimed at. There are a lot of people who probably missed Dragon’s Crown. Dragon’s Crown released on the Playstation 3/Vita in October 2013. What came out the very next month? The Playstation 4 of course! So I can see Dragon’s Crown being missed out on because all eyes were on the launch titles of the PS4 instead. So a re-release of Dragon’s Crown for the PS4 just seems right to me. I would have liked it to come a little earlier in the life of the Playstation 4, but it is just as crisp, the action is still there, and no matter what current Playstation console you have, you can now play with friends, or make new ones on crazy, treasure-filled adventures. It’s a beautiful game and is definitely worth playing if you missed out, or don’t have a PS3 anymore. It can feel repetitive, but the action is non-stop and the designs of monsters and heroes alike are fantastic. It’s time to go back to Hydeland.