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You are here: HomeImpact PressGame ReviewsAIMonster Reviews Dragon's Crown!

AIMonster Reviews Dragon's Crown!

 

[{"id":"9","value":"

<\/p>"},{"id":"10","value":"Dragon's Crown"},{"id":"1","value":"Vanillaware"},{"id":"2","value":"Atlus"},{"id":"3","value":["8"]},{"id":"4","value":"8"},{"id":"5","value":"~5 hours for a normal playthrough, ~40 hours to beat the Demon King, ~80 hours for full trophy completion"},{"id":"6","value":["3"]},{"id":"7","value":"2"},{"id":"8","value":"2"},{"id":"11","value":"

An epic multiplayer RPG \/ Arcade side-scrolling beat-em-up which appears to pay homage to Dungeons and Dragons: Shadows over Mystara<\/em> and other classic beat-em-ups.<\/p>"},{"id":"12","value":"

Dragon's Crown<\/em> begins by starting you off on your quest as one of six playable adventurer classes. With the help of your rogue friend, Rannie the Thief, you quickly delve into the multiple labyrinths that are plaqued with various orcs, undead, demons, and other mythical creatures fulfilling requests for the Adventurer's Guild, royals. Along the way you save a fairy, Tiki, who also assists you in adventures. Eventually you hear a tale of a crown dubbed the \"Dragon's Crown\" that can control dragons. You're once again sent off to the labyrinths to discover the crown and the mysteries behind it.<\/p>\r\n

The story is absolutely rife with fantasy cliches, in particular it plays into typical even juvenile male power fantasies. Male supporting characters are heroic, musclebound, and capable while female supporting characters are often often depicted as barely clothed, helpless, and in need of the rescuing.\u00a0 It's completely understandable the controversy about the game's poor depiction of women.\u00a0 If this is off-putting to you, consider this a fair warning you will not like the game.<\/p>\r\n

Story is generally delivered by an aristocratic narrator who explains conversations between characters and various aspects of the story as well as what you should do next should you get lost in town. Other NPCs do not speak except for maybe a greeting when you enter their shop or residence. For the most part this works very well as the dialogue and sophisticated nature of the narrator keeps the game from breaking down to the point of being absolutely absurd and laughable.<\/p>\r\n

If you are looking for a rich and deep story, Dragon's Crown<\/em> will be disappointing; however keep in mind this is a beat-em-up and it's focus isn't going on to be on story. The story is servicable at best, providing enough motivation to dungeon crawl and kill everything that moves. Still, if you are looking for that experience or Dragon Crown's<\/em> depiction of women is a deal breaker for you then you'll want to avoid playing it.<\/p>\r\n

\u00a0<\/p>\r\n

\"\"<\/center>"},{"id":"13","value":"

As with most Vanillaware<\/em> games, Dragon's Crown<\/em> shines in the graphic's department. It's one of the best looking games on the Vita, and you'd be hard pressed to find other 2D games that match the quality of the art in Dragon's Crown<\/em>. Everything looks great, is animated fantastically, and there is a lot of uniqueness and variety in the level, character, and art design in general. Despite the high quality graphics I never experienced any slowdown of any kind and the game ran smoothly even during online play with loads of spell effects on screen at once.<\/p>\r\n

As I mentioned earlier there is one quirk with the art style and that's how the game treats female characters differently from male characters. Many male supporting characters are absolutely overportioned with nothing but muscle mass with the exception of maybe the Wizard. Female playable characters except oddly enough the elf are overly buxom and have animations that show off these umm... \"features\". While this makes sense for the Amazon, it doesn't seem appropriate for the Sorceress who looks like her character design came straight out of a hentai. Female NPCs are placed in even worse situations, where they are either wearing little to nothing, placed in sexually suggestive positions, or both.<\/p>\r\n

One other problem that relates both to graphics and gameplay is that the screen can often become cluttered with too many spell effects making it difficult to keep track of your character amidst all the action. Too often did I find myself searching for my character if the Wizard, Sorceress, or boss used a powerful spell that filled up the entire screen with flashy effects. An arrow over character or some form of UI indicator would have helped alleviate this problem a bit.<\/p>\r\n

The sound is similarly high quality, with excellent voice acting in both Japanese and English for all the characters.\u00a0 Well delivered dialogue by the narrator keeps you engaged in the story. Music is also top notch, with appropriately epic music played during boss fights that gets you in the mood for a night of dragon slaying. One thing is for sure, Dragon's Crown<\/em> certainly excels in these departments.<\/p>\r\n

\u00a0<\/p>\r\n

\"\"<\/center>"},{"id":"14","value":"

You can start off by creating a new character from your choice of a Wizard, Sorceress, Amazon, Elf, Fighter, or Dwarf. Every character class is unique with their own set of passive abilities, special mechanic, normal attacks, and special abilities aside from the Sorceress and Wizard who share some of the same normal attacks and the same basic mechanic. The Wizard and Sorceress focus on charging and unleashing powerful spells. While the Sorceress's spells tend to be a bit more supportive, the Wizard's spells focus on being more destructive. The Amazon, Fighter, and Dwarf are melee oriented fighters with ways to soak damage and prevent knockdown. The Fighter tends to be a bit more tanky of the three, while the Dwarf focuses on grappling and throwing enemies and the Amazon focuses on building up a frenzy and dealing more damage as she attacks more and has lower health. The Elf primarily focuses on agility, with extremely strong but limited bow attacks and quick melee attacks. Each character can perform a unique evade, double jump, slide attack, and aerial attacks, which are controlled by the D-pad and 4 buttons. Each character can be customized with skill points earned through leveling and doing sidequests so one person's Amazon for example may differ from another's.<\/p>\r\n

You can choose a name, online greetings, and death messages as well as a color skin from a small selection. Once you've made your character you can explore the town where areas unlock as you progress through the main story.<\/p>\r\n

Entering areas and talking to NPCs progress the story until you are eventually set through the Gate (or optionally later the Stables) to go on a mission through one of the Labyrinths.<\/p>\r\n

Combat is extremely fluid. Each characters unique mechanics lends well to the gameplay and the game just feels solid and fun. You play through areas killing enemies until they are cleared (or a sufficient number of them are) and you can progress to the next area. There are a few side rooms and minor puzzles, but for the most part the game remains fairly linear. Each level ends with a unique boss battle too.\u00a0 There are a staggering 19 story bosses total as well as one optional boss to defeat. As far as beat-em-ups go, this one is exceptionally well made. There are several items to pick up, but honestly they are rarely much more useful that your character's set of abilities.<\/p>\r\n

The loot in the game is also superbly done, using randomized loot similar to what you might find in a Dungeon Crawler RPG. Effects are noticable and there are a myriad of different effects that can be on even a single piece of gear. The urge to collect the most powerful loot is certainly there and is a great motivator to keep playing and build a unique character with.<\/p>\r\n

Later on you'll also have a cooking minigame which has you cooking a variety of food as fast as you can. It's a nice diversion and works well as an infrequent distraction and break from the pace of combat. You can also take up sidequests apart from the many story quest which award you with more skill points as well as a special piece of artwork and experience.<\/p>\r\n

The game never feels too difficult, in fact if anything it could be a bit too easy with players being able to continue by resurrecting themselves (or other players) with gold, although the gold amount does increase drastically with repeat deaths. I never felt as challenged as I would of hoped, especially after playing Muramasa Rebirth<\/em> which was also from Vanillaware<\/em> and was a significantly more challenging game. Still the game is never a cakewalk. Difficulty can also be a bit sporadic at times after you unlock \"Path B\" of the labyrinths as playing straight through could be challenging one boss then immediately fighting a boss several levels higher in the next Labyrinth, then once again fighting an easier boss.<\/p>\r\n

On the Vita version you can use the touchpad to signal Rannie to open doors and chests as well as touch glowing areas of the screen to reveal special loot. Additionally the cooking minigame is played entirely on the touchpad which makes it superior to control than the PS3 version which has you manually move the cursor with the joystick.<\/p>\r\n

Online Multiplayer is hot-joinable and works well, with only some slowdown occurring when you join someone with a poor internet connection and occasionally (for the same reason) when people first join a match. Everything synchs up properly and you'll never be in a situation where you are hit by something online when you were clearly standing out of harms way. I did encounter quite a few trolls who did nothing but try to ruin the experience for others with little you could do about it aside from leaving which ruined the bonus of playing through dungeons consecutively. Multiplayer also doesn't unlock till halfway through the story, which was likely a design decision so players can't skip sequences in the story, but still a bit of a bummer if you were planning to play with friends (or strangers) immediately.<\/p>\r\n

Overall in the gameplay department it's easy to consider Dragon's Crown<\/em> a great beat-em-up if not one of the best beat-em-ups of all time.<\/p>\r\n

{youtube}8H7qlqT8c0Q{\/youtube}<\/p>"},{"id":"15","value":"

Unfortunately like many Japanese games Dragon's Crown<\/em> falls prey to being too grindy at times. The main story quest will only take 5 hours to complete if you rush through everything, and the game tries to intentionally add replay value by forcing you to grind. You'll often have to replay levels because you are too weak to proceed through the next (at least not without a hefty gold cost which will also require you to grind gold if you intend to push through it that way).<\/p>\r\n

The achievements generally don't require a lot of skill and simply require time investment, so much so that it can easily turn an enjoyable 5 hour game into a repetitive grindy 80 hour ordeal. As with many JRPGs, if you want to fight the true final boss you'll need to grind to a sufficient level (about 90) in order to overcome the challenge. Doing all the sidequest often require visiting the same dungeons over and over and the game could have probably done with a couple more levels to begin with. Difficulty levels are unnecessarily gated to game completion, something I personally despise in games and this is no different.<\/p>\r\n

There are some bits of replayability here and there. Each character class is unique enough to play through each of them, and unlocking their more powerful abilities can take time. Progression in Dragon's Crown<\/em> has a visible affect and you can feel your character becoming stronger as you spend skill points and upgrade your gear.\u00a0 The loot system definitely adds to the replayability, especially if you are a fan of dungeon crawlers and trying to collect the most powerful items to make your character as godlike as possible. There is also an infinite in which your character as well as the monsters become increasingly stronger as you progress through the floors. The game can also be casual enough to ocassionally come back and play from time to time to relieve stress and have some quick fun.<\/p>\r\n

{youtube}YMnYqRpewCw{\/youtube}<\/p>"},{"id":"16","value":"

Dragon's Crown<\/em> is ultimately a very enjoyable experience as long as you can get over a few serious (and minor) flaws. If you are looking for a solid beat-em-up experience or just a fun dungeon crawler then Dragon's Crown<\/em> might be right up your alley. I highly recommend it for fans of the genre or even newbies looking to try the genre for the first time. The game breathes new life into a genre that has gone stale and stagnant over the last few years bringing it back to the glory days when beat-em-ups flourished in the arcades.<\/p>"},{"id":"17","value":"

\"\"<\/p>"}]

Dragon's Crown Vanillaware Atlus PS Vita PS VIta ~5 hours for a normal playthrough, ~40 hours to beat the Demon King, ~80 hours for full trophy completion Multiplayer Easy Easy

An epic multiplayer RPG / Arcade side-scrolling beat-em-up which appears to pay homage to Dungeons and Dragons: Shadows over Mystara and other classic beat-em-ups.

Dragon's Crown begins by starting you off on your quest as one of six playable adventurer classes. With the help of your rogue friend, Rannie the Thief, you quickly delve into the multiple labyrinths that are plaqued with various orcs, undead, demons, and other mythical creatures fulfilling requests for the Adventurer's Guild, royals. Along the way you save a fairy, Tiki, who also assists you in adventures. Eventually you hear a tale of a crown dubbed the "Dragon's Crown" that can control dragons. You're once again sent off to the labyrinths to discover the crown and the mysteries behind it.

The story is absolutely rife with fantasy cliches, in particular it plays into typical even juvenile male power fantasies. Male supporting characters are heroic, musclebound, and capable while female supporting characters are often often depicted as barely clothed, helpless, and in need of the rescuing.  It's completely understandable the controversy about the game's poor depiction of women.  If this is off-putting to you, consider this a fair warning you will not like the game.

Story is generally delivered by an aristocratic narrator who explains conversations between characters and various aspects of the story as well as what you should do next should you get lost in town. Other NPCs do not speak except for maybe a greeting when you enter their shop or residence. For the most part this works very well as the dialogue and sophisticated nature of the narrator keeps the game from breaking down to the point of being absolutely absurd and laughable.

If you are looking for a rich and deep story, Dragon's Crown will be disappointing; however keep in mind this is a beat-em-up and it's focus isn't going on to be on story. The story is servicable at best, providing enough motivation to dungeon crawl and kill everything that moves. Still, if you are looking for that experience or Dragon Crown's depiction of women is a deal breaker for you then you'll want to avoid playing it.

 

As with most Vanillaware games, Dragon's Crown shines in the graphic's department. It's one of the best looking games on the Vita, and you'd be hard pressed to find other 2D games that match the quality of the art in Dragon's Crown. Everything looks great, is animated fantastically, and there is a lot of uniqueness and variety in the level, character, and art design in general. Despite the high quality graphics I never experienced any slowdown of any kind and the game ran smoothly even during online play with loads of spell effects on screen at once.

As I mentioned earlier there is one quirk with the art style and that's how the game treats female characters differently from male characters. Many male supporting characters are absolutely overportioned with nothing but muscle mass with the exception of maybe the Wizard. Female playable characters except oddly enough the elf are overly buxom and have animations that show off these umm... "features". While this makes sense for the Amazon, it doesn't seem appropriate for the Sorceress who looks like her character design came straight out of a hentai. Female NPCs are placed in even worse situations, where they are either wearing little to nothing, placed in sexually suggestive positions, or both.

One other problem that relates both to graphics and gameplay is that the screen can often become cluttered with too many spell effects making it difficult to keep track of your character amidst all the action. Too often did I find myself searching for my character if the Wizard, Sorceress, or boss used a powerful spell that filled up the entire screen with flashy effects. An arrow over character or some form of UI indicator would have helped alleviate this problem a bit.

The sound is similarly high quality, with excellent voice acting in both Japanese and English for all the characters.  Well delivered dialogue by the narrator keeps you engaged in the story. Music is also top notch, with appropriately epic music played during boss fights that gets you in the mood for a night of dragon slaying. One thing is for sure, Dragon's Crown certainly excels in these departments.

 

You can start off by creating a new character from your choice of a Wizard, Sorceress, Amazon, Elf, Fighter, or Dwarf. Every character class is unique with their own set of passive abilities, special mechanic, normal attacks, and special abilities aside from the Sorceress and Wizard who share some of the same normal attacks and the same basic mechanic. The Wizard and Sorceress focus on charging and unleashing powerful spells. While the Sorceress's spells tend to be a bit more supportive, the Wizard's spells focus on being more destructive. The Amazon, Fighter, and Dwarf are melee oriented fighters with ways to soak damage and prevent knockdown. The Fighter tends to be a bit more tanky of the three, while the Dwarf focuses on grappling and throwing enemies and the Amazon focuses on building up a frenzy and dealing more damage as she attacks more and has lower health. The Elf primarily focuses on agility, with extremely strong but limited bow attacks and quick melee attacks. Each character can perform a unique evade, double jump, slide attack, and aerial attacks, which are controlled by the D-pad and 4 buttons. Each character can be customized with skill points earned through leveling and doing sidequests so one person's Amazon for example may differ from another's.

You can choose a name, online greetings, and death messages as well as a color skin from a small selection. Once you've made your character you can explore the town where areas unlock as you progress through the main story.

Entering areas and talking to NPCs progress the story until you are eventually set through the Gate (or optionally later the Stables) to go on a mission through one of the Labyrinths.

Combat is extremely fluid. Each characters unique mechanics lends well to the gameplay and the game just feels solid and fun. You play through areas killing enemies until they are cleared (or a sufficient number of them are) and you can progress to the next area. There are a few side rooms and minor puzzles, but for the most part the game remains fairly linear. Each level ends with a unique boss battle too.  There are a staggering 19 story bosses total as well as one optional boss to defeat. As far as beat-em-ups go, this one is exceptionally well made. There are several items to pick up, but honestly they are rarely much more useful that your character's set of abilities.

The loot in the game is also superbly done, using randomized loot similar to what you might find in a Dungeon Crawler RPG. Effects are noticable and there are a myriad of different effects that can be on even a single piece of gear. The urge to collect the most powerful loot is certainly there and is a great motivator to keep playing and build a unique character with.

Later on you'll also have a cooking minigame which has you cooking a variety of food as fast as you can. It's a nice diversion and works well as an infrequent distraction and break from the pace of combat. You can also take up sidequests apart from the many story quest which award you with more skill points as well as a special piece of artwork and experience.

The game never feels too difficult, in fact if anything it could be a bit too easy with players being able to continue by resurrecting themselves (or other players) with gold, although the gold amount does increase drastically with repeat deaths. I never felt as challenged as I would of hoped, especially after playing Muramasa Rebirth which was also from Vanillaware and was a significantly more challenging game. Still the game is never a cakewalk. Difficulty can also be a bit sporadic at times after you unlock "Path B" of the labyrinths as playing straight through could be challenging one boss then immediately fighting a boss several levels higher in the next Labyrinth, then once again fighting an easier boss.

On the Vita version you can use the touchpad to signal Rannie to open doors and chests as well as touch glowing areas of the screen to reveal special loot. Additionally the cooking minigame is played entirely on the touchpad which makes it superior to control than the PS3 version which has you manually move the cursor with the joystick.

Online Multiplayer is hot-joinable and works well, with only some slowdown occurring when you join someone with a poor internet connection and occasionally (for the same reason) when people first join a match. Everything synchs up properly and you'll never be in a situation where you are hit by something online when you were clearly standing out of harms way. I did encounter quite a few trolls who did nothing but try to ruin the experience for others with little you could do about it aside from leaving which ruined the bonus of playing through dungeons consecutively. Multiplayer also doesn't unlock till halfway through the story, which was likely a design decision so players can't skip sequences in the story, but still a bit of a bummer if you were planning to play with friends (or strangers) immediately.

Overall in the gameplay department it's easy to consider Dragon's Crown a great beat-em-up if not one of the best beat-em-ups of all time.

{youtube}8H7qlqT8c0Q{/youtube}

Unfortunately like many Japanese games Dragon's Crown falls prey to being too grindy at times. The main story quest will only take 5 hours to complete if you rush through everything, and the game tries to intentionally add replay value by forcing you to grind. You'll often have to replay levels because you are too weak to proceed through the next (at least not without a hefty gold cost which will also require you to grind gold if you intend to push through it that way).

The achievements generally don't require a lot of skill and simply require time investment, so much so that it can easily turn an enjoyable 5 hour game into a repetitive grindy 80 hour ordeal. As with many JRPGs, if you want to fight the true final boss you'll need to grind to a sufficient level (about 90) in order to overcome the challenge. Doing all the sidequest often require visiting the same dungeons over and over and the game could have probably done with a couple more levels to begin with. Difficulty levels are unnecessarily gated to game completion, something I personally despise in games and this is no different.

There are some bits of replayability here and there. Each character class is unique enough to play through each of them, and unlocking their more powerful abilities can take time. Progression in Dragon's Crown has a visible affect and you can feel your character becoming stronger as you spend skill points and upgrade your gear.  The loot system definitely adds to the replayability, especially if you are a fan of dungeon crawlers and trying to collect the most powerful items to make your character as godlike as possible. There is also an infinite in which your character as well as the monsters become increasingly stronger as you progress through the floors. The game can also be casual enough to ocassionally come back and play from time to time to relieve stress and have some quick fun.

Dragon's Crown is ultimately a very enjoyable experience as long as you can get over a few serious (and minor) flaws. If you are looking for a solid beat-em-up experience or just a fun dungeon crawler then Dragon's Crown might be right up your alley. I highly recommend it for fans of the genre or even newbies looking to try the genre for the first time. The game breathes new life into a genre that has gone stale and stagnant over the last few years bringing it back to the glory days when beat-em-ups flourished in the arcades.

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