Dragon’s Crown Review
The Playstation 3 is in an awkward place for me right now, lacking the decent screenshot capacity of the Playstation 4/Xbox One while being new enough that getting around that by emulating its games isn’t really an option. A Playstation 1 or 2 game is as simple as ripping a disc to the computer and playing through it, but PS3 games require setting up this big Frankenstein’s monster of wires that feed into my temperamental capture device. Needless to say, I’ve avoided covering a bunch of games for the system because of the hassle required. That hasn’t stopped me from slowly building up a backlog of PS3 games that I originally missed out on, though, and none of them were more tempting than Dragon’s Crown; a beat-em-up in the style of the arcade Dungeons & Dragons games, this game received rave reviews on release and everyone seemed to love it without reservations. Having now spent a bit over 40 hours with it (which is what it took to unlock all of the art and do everything there is to do outside of the randomized Labyrinth of Chaos levels), I can say that I definitely loved Dragon’s Crown at times, but most assuredly not without reservations. There are some things that I really like about this game, but there are also certain things that are downright annoying about it, and in some ways it’s actually surpassed by Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara.
There’s interesting story stuff here, but little is done with it
You start out by selecting your character from the 6 possible classes and choosing one of several color scheme presets that help differentiate your character from that of allies. Personally, I went with the elf—the game may state that she’s best for expert players, but I had to play using all 6 classes to unlock all of the art, and the elf definitely felt the most natural and consistent. I’ll circle back around and cover the different classes a bit later on, but right now I want to talk about how the game begins so exceedingly well. Your created character (and non-playable partner Rannie, who is really only around to pick locks) joins an adventurer’s guild in the city and is quickly called on to help with various tasks. These introduce you to a handful of interesting characters with their own motivations and histories, and it’s honestly pretty great.
The gameplay loop here is satisfying for awhile. Less so after 30 hours.
If that was the entire game, I’d have no problems with the story or characters whatsoever, but the second half of your first playthrough suddenly shifts and tasks you with going through 9 dungeons to beat the harder B-route bosses in order to collect a bunch of random magical talismans so that you can go beat a dragon. Then you do, and the game goes, “congrats, but that was only the first of three dragons, and you’re not technically done until you’ve collected …read more