Now, I have never played a Dragon Quest game before. I mean, I didn’t even know what Dragon Quest was before I heard about this game, so any callbacks or references in this game were definitely lost on me. That being said, I don’t think you have to be familiar with Dragon Quest at all in order to play this game.
At first glance this game looks like a third person Minecraft spin off and I wouldn’t fault you for thinking that. There are a fair amount of similarities; the terrain is built up of blocks like in Minecraft and the bulk of the game will have you finding materials in order to craft new things. However, while in Minecraft you look for materials and craft new things for your own personal reasons, Dragon Quest builders is much more focused on NPCs and quests. NPCs give you quests and ask you build things, craft things or bring people to come and live in your town. This makes the game quite a structured and story focused experience, which I like. You can build to your heart’s content if you want to when you complete a chapter, there are 4 by the way, and you are able to Freely build within the islands used in that chapter.
The chapters are quite considerable in length, it took me about 25 hours to complete Chapter one and about the same amount of time to complete Chapter 2. I haven’t completed the game, but I feel I can offer a reasonable overview of the game, seeing as each chapter basically uses the same gameplay mechanics while introducing new materials, enemies and things to craft. After you complete a variety of quests, build your town into a respectable habitat and fight about 9 combat instances with 2 waves of monsters each, you get to fight the boss of that chapter. After you do that, you save the land and move onto the next chapter.
There are some great features in this game that other games in this genre don’t have but definitely should. For example, you can send the items you pick up while exploring back to your “colossal coffer” which is a massive chest that you can craft and put in your base. This encourages exploration and allows you to go far and beyond to pick up materials without fearing that you’ll need to return back to your base in order to pick something up. You can also change the materials of your buildings very easily using an item called cladding. For example, if you build your base from dirt, but then you gain a lot of wood and you want to make things look a little nicer, you can create wooden cladding which will allow you to change those dirt blocks into wooden walls. You can also do this with flooring. Every game that makes you create a base should have these features.
There are a few cons though.
The combat is super easy. I didn’t die once in my whole time playing the game and there isn’t much depth or strategy involved. You just hit your enemy, then jump to the side, maybe do a spin attack here and there and rinse and repeat.
The building can be very awkward at times. The camera in this game can also be really annoying and it’s sometimes difficult to place blocks where you want due to the camera and the third person perspective.
I’ve also had a fair few quests that tell me to go to some general area, but don’t provide a quest marker or any reliable directions. This has led to me spending hours not knowing what to do or how to complete the next quest, only to find an answer online because it wasn’t presented to me in the game.
The story of Dragon Quest Builders is nothing special. It does enough to give you a reason to play the game, but nothing more. Basically the big bad guy the Dragon Lord shrouded the land in darkness a while ago, and since then everyone forgot how to build things. However, all of a sudden you – the legendary builder – awake from a long sleep and you come to build stuff and bring light to the land. There is no voice acting in this game at all, but the dialogue and writing is pretty funny and cheeky at times; I found myself chuckling on multiple occasions.
Is it worth the price?
Dragon Quest Builders is currently £36.99 on Amazon. I had a bunch of fun playing this game and I got over 40 hours of play. I did start feeling burnt out when I played the game hours at a time, so I’d suggest you play this game in short bursts. I think it’s well worth the price as the value is definitely there. So, if you like this sort of game, I’d say go ahead and get it. However, be warned that there is no multiplayer in this game at all though. And if you don’t like these sorts of games, this might be a good entry into the genre, but honestly, there are much cheaper options out there E.g Minecraft or Terraria.