Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a unique game about crafting your own world while also following a unique story set in the Dragon Quest universe. In this game, you play as a builder apprentice who finds him or herself kidnapped by a movement called the Children of Hargon, who set out to destroy everything after their master was killed in Dragon Quest II. Rather than remaining a prisoner on their ship, the ship sinks and you wind up on a deserted island along with a stranger named Malroth. Sure enough, you’ve been chosen to bring life back to the island called the Isle of Awakening by visiting other islands to gather new blueprints, skills, tools, and people.
Building is obviously the main goal in Dragon Quest Builders 2, as you will unlock missions and objectives from NPCs to make your tasks all the more easier. It’s better than having to guess what you should be doing, and it’s what I appreciate the most about this game as opposed to others in the same genre. These missions range from building rooms, gardening, creating rivers and forests, to gathering materials that will expand your creative skills. This game will keep you learning the entire time, and just when you think you’ve seen everything it has to offer, it throws something new at you that changes how you build and gather materials. For example, later on you will learn how to craft and use bombs. No need to keep digging or smashing terrain with your hammer. Speaking of that, you are equipped with said hammer, gloves that allow you to lift materials, and a vase that holds an infinite amount of water, handy for building ponds and rivers.
Though I haven’t played the first Dragon Quest Builders -which you don’t have to to play this one- what I’ve heard is that the sequel offers the player more freedom. Weapons and tools don’t break, and the vase of infinite water is almost practically unfair in a realistic setting. Thankfully, Dragon Quest Builders 2 isn’t trying to be realistic, and I love it all the more for it. This is the most addictive game I’ve played all year, and it’s thanks to the easy-to-learn crafting mechanics that continue to evolve as you play.
In order to grow life back on the island, you and Malroth are tasked to visit other islands that have been ravaged by the Children of Hargon. At first the citizens of these islands detest that you’re a Builder since they’re not allowed to exist, but they come around to you when they realize how helpful you are with your skills. However, I do wish the game would move along faster, as the characters can be way too chatty, at least when they’re giving me an objective. They tend to over-explain what they need and why they need it. Just give me the objective and let me do my job! Each citizen in the towns you visit give you hearts whenever you help them out or when they love something you’ve built. You have to run around the town collecting these hearts for the town to level up. As the town levels up, the citizens begin to do more things on their own: they cook for themselves, they water their own crops, and they even help you build a blueprint assuming you have the right materials for the job.
This is also where Malroth comes in, as he follows you throughout the entire game. I thought he would be a nuisance. Instead, he is a great help, assisting you in gathering materials and fighting monsters in the open-world. Because it’s not the main focus of the game, the combat is very simple, only demanding you to slash enemies with your sword and heal yourself with medicinal leaves or food. I find that’s combat is way better in first-person mode, where you can dodge attacks easier by simply backing up. Did I mention this game has a first-person mode? Yes, but I don’t think of it as a replacement for the standard third-person mode, rather a supplement for when I need to place building materials in specific spots.
Aside from the chattiness of the NPCs and the annoyance of having to gather their hearts, I absolutely adore Dragon Quest Builders 2 and give it my personal award as the most addicting game of 2019 so far. The world is your oyster in this game, allowing you to change the terrain as you see fit, build anything you want where you want it, and fighting anything that stands in your way. If you’re a fan of building sims, then you owe it to yourself to pick this game up!