Saturday, August 31, 2013

A short REVIEW - Dragon's Crown.

A full review can be found here.

Dragon's Crown is Vanillaware's take on the classic fantasy action-RPGs of old.  A 2D co-op fantasy RPG-brawler, it's Golden Axe for the modern age, and - while remarkably light on story, considering the developer - the best action game they've ever produced.

The game's Normal difficulty can be bested in a scant twenty hours as you wander through enchanted forests and haunted, vampire-infested castles - you'll battle goblins, orcs, zombies, pirates, owlbears and of course, dragons - but you can easily invest over 100 hours in a single character across the game's three progressively more-rewarding difficulty levels.

It is in Hard Mode and beyond that Dragon's Crown reveals its true intentions and true beauty. Unlike Vanillaware's previous efforts, which had good (Odin Sphere) or great action (Muramasa) while leaning heavily on an involving narrative, Dragon's Crown's pleasures lie entirely in the playing of it.  In grinding beautiful, familiar dungeons for an ever-expanding collection of sweet, sweet random loot and kitting out your hero.

Each of the six character classes play beautifully while being vastly different from each other - each requiring time and investment to truly master - not that you'll want to switch when you've found one that you really groove with.

My Amazon is level 99, but I don't feel close to finished with her.  I still love chaining twenty dungeons in a row (there are only nine total, unless you count the 99-floor randomly-generated Chaos Labyrinth) just for the sake of playing it.  Just for the beauty of it - just for the fun of wrecking goblin armies and slaying dragons.

It is visually stunning, has gorgeous music, a smart and satisfying difficulty curve, a ridiculous amount of replay value (I'm pushing 100 hours) and is always tons of fun.  At this point - two and a half weeks prior to the release of GTA V - I can only call Dragon's Crown the most valuable, bang-for-your-buck title to release in 2013.

Buy this game.

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