While everyone else is running around playing Animal Crossing, I’ve been poking around with Dragon Quest Builders 2, which was on sale on Steam a few weeks ago. Truth be sold, my Switch is currently refusing to charge or I would have joined you.
I have to admit, there was far more gameplay to be had here than I expected, especially if you’re a fan of building and design. It does feature the typical limitations of cubic-voxel style building, so the overall effect is a thematic Minecraft with a little more story. The story itself is fairly simple and predictable most of the time, but the lines themselves are fairly well written and at least occasionally entertaining to one as easily amused as myself.
Much of the story-related building is either freeform with directions regarding decorations, size, etc, or a completely inflexible blueprint like this one. To be fair, the structures that start as blueprints are editable to your tastes after you have “completed” it. To progress the story you must build it exactly as specified. Each major island in the game generally has several very large blueprints where the NPCs will do most or all of the work, including providing materials.
There are a variety of different blocks and furniture available depending on where you’re at in the game. So many, in fact, that individual items can sometimes be difficult to locate in the main crafting station, or not always in the section you would expect. Windows are in the category with doors and not in the building blocks.
Speaking of building, there are also some size limitations. In this image, the central area with the crafting bench and the glass floor behind it were all a single room but was too large to be detected as such. Likewise, the plaza/patio area had to be split in two before they would be properly tagged as rooms. Working out the exact details of what furniture a room must contain to get flagged as something specific can be quite annoying. A “hotel” requires at least one bedroom connected to a “reception room,” but fails to indicate what you need in order to create one of those. You must either continuously experiment or look it up.
For instance, the kitchen in this restaurant is a “simple kitchen” because I have yet to identify the specific decorations required to make anything else. Add some firewood and flour sacks and it becomes an “agricultural kitchen,” but not really what I was looking for.
Farming is also an interesting activity with its own room type. When set up properly you can manually plant and harvest something once, then use the scarecrow to designate what grows in that field and the villagers will generally handle the rest. In fact, tasks like watering plants can only be done by villagers. While you do eventually start getting rare crops that create higher quality food and drop dyes, it mostly does its thing without you. As long as you’re on the same island.
There are a variety of exploration and puzzle-based activities as well, though most of the puzzles are fairly simple and exploration is mostly to either find these puzzle shrines or scavenger hunts that unlock unlimited crafting materials. Some of the smaller randomly generated islands have higher-end monsters that yield crafting recipes or trophies when they’re defeated. There are also some tamable animals and later on monsters, which have some sort of breeding/rarity system, but I haven’t spent a lot of time with that.
Most the main story gameplay took around 60 hours, though I was not in any particular hurry when I did it, so that time could probably be cut a fair bit with optimization. It has a variety of gates and checkpoints that require you to engage with a number of different activities. Most of my time alternated between some mix of exploration, combat, and gathering, or free-form building something a villager requested. Completing those requests are critical to having enough “generosity” to progress at certain stages.
I’m quite pleased with the game, overall. I’ve spent another dozen or so game hours beyond story completion just poking around and completing various optional tasks. There are a couple of small islands I haven’t unlocked yet because they’re crazy expensive and I’ve been doing my own thing instead of farming generosity.
My one large complaint is the multiplayer mode. It prevents travel to any of the other major islands and doesn’t seem to unlock anything for the guests. It’s more of a co-op building mode on the main island and less of a true multiplayer experience. It has value, but they could have done a lot more with it, especially in the end-game.
Y’all take care, and watch where you’re swinging those hammers.
Hey, it’s Blapril time! The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.