• Latecomer Reviews: Dragon Quest II: Luminaries of the Legendary Line

    As the cold, wintry days grew shorter and colder, and the bus drives took longer and longer (because bus drivers are always somehow surprised by the arrival of winter, despite the fact that it snows every frigginí year in here), I had more time and incentive to game on my phone. As luck would have it, the follow-up to that little game I reviewed a while ago was also available for download on iOS. And so I downloaded it, and got myself hooked yet again.

    Dragon Quest II is a sequel to the original game, taking place a hundred years later in the same world. After the son of Erdrick, the hero of the first game, completed his quest by felling the evil Dragonlord (his Dragon Quest, if you willÖ see what I did there?), he went on to explore the rest of the world, establishing new kingdoms throughout. For a century, the world has enjoyed peace, with the original heroís offspring spreading to populate the globe, establishing numerous countries living in harmony with each other. However, all good things must come to an end, and such is the case here. The evil sorcerer Hargon invades the kingdom of Moonbrooke, disrupting the peace that let the kingdoms flourish so. A lone messanger from Moonbrooke arrives at the Kingdom of Midenhall, prompting you, the crown prince, descendant of Erdrick, to find your cousins scattered around the world and put an end to this menace.

    In every way, Dragon Quest II is bigger and better than the original. Yes, the game mechanics remain intact, and the same goes for the story structure which is devoid of any shocking twists. Once again, your goal is set since the beginning and there are no real plot twists to talk about. However, the world itself is much bigger, and at a certain point you even get a ship to traverse the seas. You no longer have only the country of Alefgard to traverse Ė this time, the whole world is open to you. On top of that, while the original game could be finished around level 20, here you will most definitely reach around 40 by end-game. You are also no longer soloing the whole trip Ė your two cousins join you on your journey. Your main character is the strongest physically but has no spells at all, your male cousin can hit okay and has a bunch of spells at his disposal, while the female cousin is a typical squishy mage. The party composition is simple, but it works. You really feel like you are not alone in this journey, even if your cousins donít really have any personalities to speak of. And any help is appreciated, considering you also no longer only face single enemies. They come in groups now, and that means magic is much more useful than before. What elements didnít grow in scale were streamlined to make the game smoother to play, so you can say goodbye to the constant need of lighting torches in dungeons, and you no longer lose keys after a single use.

    The iOS version of Dragon Quest II looks identical to DQ I, as it uses the same graphical engine, on top of reusing sprites and other assets. Again, Toriyamaís vivid art style brings the monsters to life, despite them being displayed as static images. Though the localization team again relied heavily on puns for all the monster names, which unfortunately I donít think is going to go away anytime soon. I also have the same gripe that I had with the original about NPC dialogue Ė the broken Olde Englishe is really poorly done and just reeks of trying too hard. The music, however, has grown on me substantially since the previous installment. I donít know if this stems from listening to the Symphonic Suites, just reading more about Koichi Sugiyama, or the music in DQ II just being better than the original, but I have a newfound respect for this composer, even if the genres he dabbles in arenít exactly my cup of tea. It really makes sense for the soundtracks to Dragon Quest to be so inspired by the classical period, considering the series itself is best known for steadfastly maintaining its tradition. The mobile versionís controls are just as good as those in DQ I, which means I could play using one hand again. Too bad itís so cold that the skin on my hand is now ruined. But at least I managed to keep the other one warm!

    All things considered, while it loses some of the originalís simplicity due to revolving around a party and not a single character, Dragon Quest II is without a doubt a much better game than the original. And since I liked the original a lot, itís easy to deduce that Dragon Quest II has also gained my favor (keep in mind, this game turns 29 year old today, so it's a wonder it hold up so well!). If youíre a fan of the classics, are curious of the history of RPGs, or simply want to check out this series for yourself, Dragon Quest II is available on iOS for $4,99. Just make sure you play DQ I first.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Latecomer Reviews: Dragon Quest II: Luminaries of the Legendary Line started by Fynn View original post
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Spuuky's Avatar
      Spuuky -
      Easily my least favorite game in the series, but a necessary stepping stone to the masterpiece that is DQ3.
    1. Fynn's Avatar
      Fynn -
      Honestly, I can kinda see that now that I beat DQ III and am past the mid point of IV. Still, experiencing the games in the proper order really appreciate them for what they are. Had I written this review from the perspective of someone who had already played III before, Id probably be less enthusiastic about the game, knowing what the series can be. But even so, if what is widely considered the weakest game in the franchise is still a very solid game, then I think that's indicative of the overall quality of the series

      Right now, I'm hooked. Almost done with IV and the DQ bug gives no sign of running out in the near future, so I'll keep playing them till I drop! (or I run out of games, which might be soon, since I'm waiting for DQ VII and VIII to come out for the 3DS this year)
    1. theundeadhero's Avatar
      theundeadhero -
      My only complaint with the game is that your two cousins have randomly generated names. They may change that in the later versions, but on the NES I've restarted the game because of some pretty bad names. The combat was definitely made harder with the addition of parties and enemy parties. The weapon systems were a huge step in progress though. I enjoyed having a falcon equipped on my cousin, with it's weaker stats but ability to attack twice, and using the cursed Sword of Destruction myself. Having three shields of strength to proc as an on-use heal was nice too.
    1. Wolf Kanno's Avatar
      Wolf Kanno -
      II is definitely bigger and better but I kind of like the simplistic charm of DQI a little better. It's probably me least favorite entry in the series so far but I would hardly call it a bad game. Of anything it's an odd middle child feeling like an evolution on what DQI did for the console JRPG but still feeling like a missing link from the later entries that feel like more fully developed games. The game is a bit too grindy for my taste but I had fun with my own playthrough of it recently.
    1. theundeadhero's Avatar
      theundeadhero -
      It is grindy, and I don't feel like they had mastered the balance of party combat yet in DQ II, but it made progress in other areas. It's my least favorite as well, but I'll still replay it every half-decade or so while I'll only replay DQ I every decade. I is objectively better, but I don't feel that there's anything I can get out of it anymore. I learned the locations of everything I needed, beat the game at it's hardest with taking the Dragon King out at level 19 when you get Healmore, and even did two playthroughs with special names for stat variances. http://www.gamefaqs.com/nes/563408-d...ior/faqs/18342 , all while still in elementary school. I can't remember which name it is now, but there's something you can name your character to start off cursed as well.
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