Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Dragon's Crown Review (PS Vita)

'Dragon's Crown' breathes new life into retro gaming
Written by Drei Medina

Dungeons sprawling with enemies? Check. Massive dragon bosses? Bigger check.
Endless hours of fun leveling and smack-your-opponent-dead action? Hell yeah!
Dragon's Crown on the PS Vita celebrates an arcade genre long considered to be obsolete; sidescrolling beat 'em ups.
As a kid who grew up playing these kinds of games during my childhood, Dragon's Crown not only gives a doze of feel-good nostalgia but also improves on all the aspects an old school arcade beat 'em up brings to the table.

First up is the game's graphics. It's a sidescroller adventure game and just like its predecessors in the 90's it is a 2D game but with a dash of some 3D elements mainly in the background accompanied by other special animation effects.
This gives Dragon's Crown a 2.5D-ish feel to it but what actually makes the graphics great is the visual style used in its characters and background.
The game's visual style is basically a fusion of renaissance and baroque art mixed with clean-cut Japanese animation giving the game a new yet familiar feel for those who played arcade beat 'em ups.
I have to admit though that the character's depictions are hypersexualized especially the women but this won't really affect your gaming unless this is a big deal for you.
As a bonus, completing certain quests unlocks a gallery filled with flamboyant artwork from various Japanese artists which I personally consider the icing atop Dragon's Crown's exceptional art.

Meanwhile, the gameplay is as straight forward as it gets. Just choose from six playable classes and begin whacking enemies til they die then move on to the next stage until you reach the boss.
Rinse and repeat.
Boring? Maybe. But the combination of the game's visuals, skill spamming and leveling system allows one to enjoy repetitive beat 'em up action for hours on end.
The key factor that made the game's repetitive grinding tolerable is the reward system after each level. Generous bonuses like experience and item drop rate increases are available upon completion of each stage.
So chaining stages until you get unreal bonuses stacked up is the ideal way to make your characters stronger.
Still, liking the game depends on the player since the beat 'em up genre is still an acquired taste for most gamers with Dragon's Crown only attempting to make it relevant in today's crowded game industry.

The verdict: 9/10 [Excellent]

Dragon's Crown is not a game everyone will have fun with but for those who have been thirsting to relive their retro arcade days or just want to experience a “new” gaming genre then this game is for you.
The game highlights gorgeous art and an RPG system paired with countless hours of addicting grinding that gives a feeling of accomplishment the more stages you chain together and beat in one go.

+ Gorgeous visuals
+ Addictive reward system
+ Retro beat 'em up gameplay
- Limited stages, bosses