It has been awhile now since I have done a good ol’ game review. So I decided I would do one over one of a good half dozen or maybe even up to a dozen new games I have gotten over the last couple of months.
One thing that I feel like should be said first about Dragon Quest Builders is, at least to me, it was being advertised incorrectly. Most were calling it Minecraft with a Dragon Quest skin and a touch of RPG. I think it is the opposite where it is a Dragon Quest RPG with a touch of Minecraft.
Yeah not really that big of a difference but I think it is important as it gives more of a feel of what the focus of the game actually is. Through the story your focus is more of completing the various villager requests, slaying monsters, and moving onto the next area. Of course most of the villager requests require the Minecraft aspect of building with blocks but at least in the story I just felt it wasn’t the focus.
So in Dragon Quest Builders you are a Goddess blessed individual with the ability to build, something humanity has long since forgotten how to do thanks to the evil Dragonlord, meanwhile you work to fight back against the Dragonlord and the monsters who have taken over the world by literally building up the hope of humanity.
The game is an interesting one taking a particular ‘What If’ from the first Dragon Quest game but luckily requires no knowledge of in order to be successful in its own right. In the story mode there is four unique areas/maps that you play in and each area includes multiple islands for you to adventure across as well. At the start of each one you are directed to an area that serves as the hub for your base. Once this village is established villagers will begin showing up to offer you quests to follow.
Most of these quests from the villagers are related to building rooms for various needs of the villagers themselves, or even defenses for your village itself, but there also various quests to fetch a certain item needed to create something or to find a person who is lost in the wilds. The rooms of a village are fairly important through the course of your time in a particular area as many of them offer special effects such as villagers crafting extra food or furniture, healing you or staving off hunger while in the boundaries, or allowing villagers to equip stronger weapons in defense of the village.
Sadly to what I found after playing is all your hard work does not carry over when you move to the next area/map. Often even most of your hard work ends up destroyed by the area boss that you fight after you have completed all the quests because they are rude like that. This ties into the narrative and more RPG element of the game (if the quests for building rooms was too close to Minecraft still for you) as the villagers speak of beginning to rebuild as you race off to free the next group of humanity from the darkness.
Now a question you may have, and I certainly had, was “Well what about free building?” and the answer is yes there is an area/map that is an area to build freely! But, it is unlocked only after you beat the first area. Not only that but each map adds more things you can create in this free-build area as well as each map has a set of challenges set to it (which you only learn AFTER beating the map) that then unlocks even more things you can build there. Of course this doesn’t stop you from just building however you please on whatever map you are currently playing on.
Of course as with any game out in the creation of forever I tend to have an issue somewhere with something. For Dragon Quest Builders it was the camera. A fixed third person camera often makes being indoors hectic. Also for us creative builders roofs are also hard to make work, if not impossible all together, since it is difficult to see indoors with them.
I also disliked originally the small area that is given for base operations but realized if it was allowed to sprawl out it’d probably be annoying to manage. What I ended up hating more than that eventually was not being told about the challenges until after the map was completed. On one hand I guess it allows me to replay the maps later but I wish I had known about them before hand still.
Overall I really enjoyed what I have played in the game so far but despite it being a new game I don’t believe it will get any major updates, if any at all, in the future. But what Dragon Quest Builders has done is help open the West to the beauty of the Dragon Quest world through a much loved Minecraft-esque cameo.
In the end, for now at least, I am putting Dragon Quest Builders at a solid 8 out of 10 though that could go up or down depending on the ending and/if we get any future DLC.