October 7, 2013
As mentioned, Dragon Fantasy Book II follows Ogden and his companions as they continue to save the world by finding the voidstones and slaying the bad guy. Players may remember the voidstones from Prince Anders’ adventure in Chapter 2 of Dragon Fantasy Book I. In Book II, players will meet a few new faces, but will also meet some old ones. You’ll see characters such as Pirate Bill return, as well as and enemies like the dysfunctional Rock family.
Complementing the story is a battle system heavily inspired by Chrono Trigger. Enemies are not random, but visible in broad daylight. Once you collide with them, everyone on both sides quickly takes positions across the screen. From here menus will pop up one at a time and it’s at this moment that your characters can use abilities. This mechanic also feels heavily inspired by Chrono Trigger. Attacks that can hit multiple enemies will have a red circle surrounding the target or a red line starting at the target and ending at the enemy. These red shapes let you know who else will receive damage once the attack starts. Overall, battles are very fun and very nostalgic. That is, until you face the bugs.
These bugs can rather hinder the experience and they are to the PS3 edition of the game. After your first fight, you may notice a syncing issue involving the battle text and combat action. Thankfully this was solved with a patch that came out a week after the game’s release, but it’s difficult to see how this even passed the QA phase. Despite the patch, you will still occasionally have battles that end after slaying only one or two of the enemy’s party. There was also some lag that occurred if the game’s loading icon was still flashing. It still has yet to be corrected, but the removal of the previous bugs makes the game much more fun and less frustrating.
When it comes to the game’s presentation, you are treated to some pretty 16-bit graphics that, once again, have a strong Chrono Trigger feel to them. Over all the graphics work well and are both colorful and easy on the eye. However, there are several NPCs and a party member whose graphical transition does not serve them well. There are also a few instances where sprites overlap each other, but it is not very often.
The music has gone through a major evolution since its last title. Overall, it has a more orchestral feel to it and makes the game seem all the more adventurous. While there does not seem to be quite as many goofy tracks as before, the music is much kinder to the ears. It does, however, still loop abruptly just as it did in Book I.
Book II, as with its predecessor, features quite a lot of humor. From the pirates’ obsession with ham, to a man named Phil dressed as a shark, a pseudo-cameo of Rock-Man, and many more jokes about Ogden’s baldness, you will chuckle throughout this adventure. In fact, the banter between party members and NPCs may be worth the price of admission alone.
Overall, Dragon Fantasy Book II has around 15-20 hours of gameplay; much longer than Book I’s 5-10 hour length. There’s also a good chunk of replay value within the game compared to Book I. Much of this is due to quests. Quests are almost as common to find as they are in Skyrim. It gets to the point where talking to almost any NPC will land you a quest. They are optional, of course, but the extra money they provide will make buying items less of a hassle than in Book I. Also, most of the quests are humorous.
There is a noticeably larger amount of trophies than in the first game which had very few. Some are easy to acquire by progressing to the end, but some involve catching a large amount on monsters Pokemon style. Trophy hunters will also be happy to know that this one actually has Platinum.
While a fun game, Dragon Fantasy Book II has a few technical issues on the PS3 version that prevent it from reaching the heights of its predecessor. There’s more content this time around and just as much humor, but it would have been nice to see this instalment build more upon the original. Still, if you did enjoy the original and are wanting more of the same, then Dragon Fantasy Book II should be right up your street.
Dragon Fantasy Book II was reviewed on the PlayStation Network.