I’ve mentioned Dragon’s Crown a few times in recent posts, and now that I’ve had some hands-on experience with the game, I wanted to share some thoughts about it. If you’ve played the game, or even read much about it, you’ll know that the controversial portion of the game lies in its depiction of females, in particular the Sorceress, Amazon, and most of the NPCs.
Honestly though, let’s grow up. Sure teenaged boys will go apeshit over such saucy depictions, but the audience for the game is clearly adults, and most of us pretty much ignore the graphics, and are about the story/gameplay. At least, that’s how I feel. Sorry ladies if you’re offended by these images, but really, what medium isn’t tainted by the objectification of women? This really doesn’t take away from the fun of this game, or any other where the female’s boobs take up half the screen. Sex sells, this isn’t new stuff.
Now, with that aside, I must say that Dragon’s Crown is a fantastic game. If you ever played Golden Axe, this is the next generation, on steroids. The side-scrolling beat-em-up hasn’t had much of the spot light in recent years, because really, it had already been done so many times before. These were the kinds of games I lived for when I was a kid. After doing some growing up however, these kinds of games got old rather quickly, and rarely added anything to the genre that was yet unseen. Dragon’s Crown has ultimately merged differing kinds of games into one fairly cohesive system.
The game is meant to be played on a console, as the button-mashing will begin as soon as you enter combat. This is reminiscent of games I played in the arcade in the 90s, such as The Simpsons or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and of course Golden Axe. Older games of this sort usually only had a couple of attack buttons and perhaps a magic button. Melding in the combos of fighting games, upon leveling you will eventually have quite a few more moves than you began with, and will be slightly more tactical with your button-mashing. Then, building upon the system of leveling, you will find skill trees for your given class, and a common one that all the classes share. These RPG elements have been found in all kinds of games, so I’m sure I don’t need to draw examples. Finally, the loot system and the new game + features remind me of Diablo or Borderlands. In fact, Dragon’s Crown is to beat-em-ups as Borderlands is to first person shooters. All in all, these features make for a game that is a little on the short side, that much longer.
A little off topic, but I wanted to touch on the sort of trophies you can expect to earn while playing the game. As I have mentioned recently I have weened myself off of trophy whoring because I have had game overload for about a year. I still enjoy the concept of trophies, but I found some were more effort than they were worth. I suppose if I only had one game to play at a time, this wouldn’t be as much of an issue, but with so many free games and free to play games and sales I have way too big of a collection (back log). Dragon’s Crown is a perfect example of how trophies should be designated. For example, there are trophies for completing all of the individual story missions. You receive paintings for completing side quests, and these serve as the game’s collectibles, and there are incremental trophies for collecting them. There’s a trophy for beating the game with each class. One for beating the game on Hard, and the Hardest difficulties. You see where this is going? The trophies flow with the natural order of how someone would approach playing a game. Play the game. Beat the game. Play it again with a different class or on a harder difficulty. Rinse and Repeat until you are finished. These are the types of games that I have Platinum trophies for, because they followed my general playstyle. These are the kinds of games that I want to play, and this is why I became a trophy whore in the first place.
So, back to the game. The art direction is probably my favorite aspect of the game. Everything has a hand painted feel, and despite catering to teenage boys, the women are hot, and I don’t care if that makes me sexist of whatever. The animation and frame-rates are top-notch. I have seen tons of characters on screen at one time all with magic/combat animations going and the game never skips a beat. The story line is a bit light, but that let’s you focus on your character building, and that’s the whole point of these types of games, and also what draws us to them (but that’s a topic for another time). The difficulty was just right, where I never really felt a huge challenge, but I also was a completionist and did all of the side quests and was at the normal difficulty level-cap of 35 when I defeated the final boss. I am hoping that the later difficulties really challenge me, but I have since started playing The Last of Us, so it will be a bit before I get back to it.
I haven’t played much of the multiplayer, but I did have a session one night where I turned my network settings to on and was joined by other players. I was attempting to do a continuous run (trophy related) through the levels and thought I’d see how the co-op worked. I enjoyed it. Other players can drop-in and drop-out at any time, so while I was playing alone with AI characters, eventually they were all replaced by players, and then some of the players would drop and others would replace them. I’m not sure if voice chat is compatible as I didn’t try it, but I assume it would work just fine (though it’s definitely not necessary). As an added bonus, I found that some of the bones I collected from those missions, upon resurrection, were actually copies of the player’s characters that I had played with. So I ended up with higher-level-than-me NPCs to use when I’m playing solo.
Overall, the entire game is a bit on the short side, but with the new game + and other mini-games that are available upon completion of the main story there is a ton of replay-ability. I would recommend it to anyone that owns a PS3. And if you own the game and want to play a game, my PSN ID is on the contact page.