Sep 11, 2013

[Games] Dragon's Crown (PS3)

Tobie and I lead rather busy lives. Between work, gaming and taking care of our dog, there really isn't as much time for leisure activities as we'd like. Our console gaming time is fairly limited, but as of late a lot of our free time has been dedicated to playing Dragon's Crown.

For those who have read my past PS3 game reviews, you'd know that we have a certain affinity for games that include local cooperative play options. Not every game gets this done right, but every now and then some games just shine. And as much as Tobie and I are rather content with the senseless button-mashing of various Koei games like Dynasty Warriors, this does not mean that we don't have standards. We're just after a particular game experience.

And this game is amazingly brilliant on so many levels. Given the struggle to get this game actually published, it's nice to see that the end result was a most entertaining game. And yes, we're still playing through the darn thing and we're bound to try to get through it all again on the harder difficulty modes.

Synopsis: Dragon's Crown is a side-scrolling action adventure game developed by Vanillaware together with Atlus. The game has been released for the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation Vita.

The game plays out like a side-scrolling role-playing game (in the video game ense of the term RPG) where you play a character in a fantasy world prepared to go on a grand adventure. You get to choose from six possible character classes - the Fighter, the Amazon, the Wizard, the Elf, the Dwarf and the Sorceress. Together with up to three other players (whether it's a local player, a network player, or an AI-controlled player) as you set out to find the Dragon's Crown.

The game play runs like classic side-scrolling beat'em games like Golden Axe or the Dungeons & Dragons games released for the Sega Saturn. Each character has unique fighting style and related character skills that they are able to utilize in their efforts to face the challenges in this land. For example, the Wizard casts powerful spells while the Amazon gets stronger the more damage she receives. This diversity of power sets and skills makes for a different play experience with every character that you create.

The game also provides a series of quests that either advance the story or provide additional opportunities to earn more gold, find better weapons or just earn more experience. The story isn't the most brilliant piece of work out there, but it's a decent enough fantasy story that will carry you through the game.

The game features a lot of little bells and whistles that add a bit more fun to the game experience. For example, you will get to control an additional mouse-like cursor with your right analog stick which you can use to interact with objects in the stage. Clicking on a locked chest will direct Roland, the thief, to open it up for your. Clicking on the sparkling lights that you see from time to time will trigger additional loot to appear out of nowhere - sort of a little scavenger hunt that goes on the whole time you're fighting the bad guys.

The art in the game is definitely, well, chauvinist, to say the least. Thus the men have grotesquely large, muscled bodies and women have very large breasts. The Amazon is barely wearing anything as she wields her poleaxe across the stages and the Sorceress can barely keep her boobs in her outfit. And this plays out throughout the stages, but it's part of the inherent humor of the game. Don't expect this game to try and present a true balance to things. At the end of the day, it's a silly fun romp meant to remind you of much older games and such.

Dragon's Crown is a great game that provides a solid experience whether or not you want to play cooperatively with other players. It provides a great diversity of characters, a heck of a lot of quests and challenges to complete and a story that isn't half bad. Thus the game rates a solid 5 vampire maidens out of a possible 5.

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