My Crazy Love Affair with Dragon Quest Builders 2

So after about one million hours (give or take) I fnally finished Dragon Quest Builders 2. 

“Finished” here does not mean that I built my own creations, or that I made of my island what I wanted to make of it. I couldn’t and I can’t. The game is just too long, and by the end I had already spent too much time on the Isle of Awakening and neighboring islands. 

“Finished” means that I completed the story and the extras (including the long work of breeding three generations of puppies!) and I earned a platinum trophy for doing it.

So you play as a customizable character, a builder in a broken-down world. And the world is broken-down because the authorities have promoted destruction and outlawed building, and everyone seems to be going along with this. At the start of the game your character is a prisoner on a prison ship, forced to do menial tasks for the skeleton crew. Menial tasks, like repairing the broken hull while the water pours in, and all by yourself because the dummy crew can’t build anything. Well, surprise! The ship wrecks anyway, you wake up on the beach with two other survivors: a girl named Lulu, who for some reason has to tell you how to build a shelter; and Malroth the amnesiac. And that is where the story begins.

Well, as they say, time spent enjoyably is not time wasted, and for the most part I enjoyed the one million hours spent playing this game. For the most part. Not at first, though. 

In the beginning I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I liked JPRGs, but I’d never played a sandbox game before, and at first I really hated this game. Really, really hated it. I hated the cutesy graphics, I hated the dumb cubes that everything was made of, I hated the stupid world where building wasn’t allowed. I hated the game and I said it every day. But every day I kept playing. Just to the end of the chapter, I said…  and then just to the completion of this one tablet target… and then, just let me see what the next new place was…  I couldn’t stop playing this stupid game. 

So you see how it went. In Furrowfield I was annoyed, but by Krumbul-Dun I was addicted. Then in Skelkatraz I was annoyed again, and then in Moonbrooke I was in love with the game… and then in Moonbrooke I was angry at the game, and in Malhalla I was annoyed again, and in love again on the Island of Awakening. What a roller coaster! (And speaking of roller coasters, let me mention here that I actually built one: made of minecarts on a long, hilly and winding track over and through a desert pyramid and across an oasis. It was great! No time to ride it, though!)

Anyway, in order to keep this review from running over hills and winding tracks, let me tell you — brief and to the point — three things I loved about DQB2, and three things I hated. 

Three Things I Loved about Dragon Quest Builders 2

  1. The building and crafting and farming and mining and exploring. Yeah, so I included a bunch of things here, but I’m counting it all as one, OK? Because seriously, this game has it all. 
  1. Malroth. My best friend, with horns, red eyes, and amnesia, who can’t build worth a darn. While I build, he is more into destruction. It’s a yin-yang thing. The story of DQB2 is our story. 
  1. It’s a JRPG. At first glance, this game may look a bit like Minecraft, but it is really a full-blown JRPG, and its story is about friendship. 

Three Things I Hated about Dragon Quest Builders 2

  1. The constant enemy attacks. So many attacks. So many times I had to stop building and go to battle because farm or village or castle was under attack. Then to repair the damage. It was all too much.
  1. Prison. I hated all the prison episodes of the game. Prison ship, prison island, castle dungeon: don’t care, hated them all. 
  1. The length. Did I tell you it took a million hours? This game is too long! Each chapter could be made better by being cut in half, and more time could be spent developing the main island. My two cents, anyway. 

My final verdict

If you are fan of JRPGs, if you like building and crafting games, and if you like the idea of losing yourself in a big game for a while, then DQB2 might just be your cuppa soup. It’s a hybrid sandbox-JRPG, and the story is by turns silly and serious. It’s long, though, so if you like to finish your games, be prepared for that. 

Trailing Sleeves gives this game 8.5 / 10 bowls of soup.

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