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[PS Vita Review] Dragon’s Crown

Dragon’s Crown is a multiplayer hack and slash beat ’em up game with breathtaking visual style, a design built around cooperative play and epic boss fights, and the ability to discover a new adventure in every play session. With Dragon’s Crown, developer Vanillaware deftly marries stunning hand-drawn and animated art work with deep, action-packed hardcore gameplay. Dragon’s Crown allows up to four players to team up online to clear out monster-ridden dungeons, discover precious treasure, and destroy awe-inspiring bosses. Its unique, highly replayable design means that every time players can boot up and log on, they can expect a different experience and hours upon hours of satisfying adventuring. Unparalleled in their unique style, developer Vanillaware painstakingly hand-paints every detail, be it a blade of grass or the scales on the game’s impressive dragons. The game becomes a lush, vibrant storybook come to life when everything starts to animate in gorgeous full HD.

Dragon’s Crown is an interesting RPG that almost didn’t come out due to issues during production. Atlus took over the publishing rights in 2012 and the game ended up coming out in August this year, and I’m very happy that I was finally able to play this game. Dragon Crown is very similar to old school hack and slash games like Golden Axe. You pick a character class and then walk down hallways killing enemies until you reach the end boss. Rinse and repeat for the next 8 levels.

However, Dragon’s Crown takes a new approach to put an extra spin to this beloved genre. Sure, you start by choosing the character class you want, but you can then select the gear for said character, and you can pick their skills, armor, potions and allies.

There are 6 character types to choose from, and they include the Fighter, Amazon, Wizard, Elf, Dwarf and Sorceress. Each character has a unique play style, and the Fighter, Amazon, and Dwarf are all close range melee characters recommended for new players while the Wizard, Dwarf, and Sorceress use more range based attacks and are recommended for expert players. This adds a considerable amount of depth to the game and increases the re-playability.

The game’s story really serves as a tutorial to the entire game since you can complete most of the story within a few hours with your first character. About halfway through the story in each level you will get a chance to choose a different path. This will lead to a different end of the level as well as a new and more difficult end boss. After the main story is over, you can keep grinding and building your character level up to the max 99 level.

The loot system is an interesting draw. This is how your character gets their different pieces of armor and, as you play through the levels, you will come upon chests, and in each chest there is armor and gold. When you open the chest it will tell you what grade armor you receive, with A being the best and E the lowest. When you reach the end of the level, you get to choose what armor you would like to appraise and what armor to sell. As you do longer dungeon runs you can choose bonuses before the level which increase your XP, money, or loot finding chances.

In town, there is an adventurer’s guild you can use to receive quests which will earn you more money. Some are based on killing a certain number of enemies in different levels, some are for doing something specific to your environment on some levels. It definitely gives additional reason to keep grinding through the levels as you try to complete them all. Also, at the Adventures Guild you can spend skill point earned throughout the levels on new specific skills for your character or on common skills shared all of them. This is where you can really gear your character to your play style, and I geared mine to being heavy on offense.

Another big draw for Dragon’s Crown is the multiplayer, and initially you don’t have access as you are learning and going through the story. The game takes this into consideration by giving you the ability to pick up bones when going through the levels, and you can decide to resurrect them or to bury them. Resurrecting them means that you can have them help you as allies when going through the dungeons, and when you reach a certain part of the story you can join other people online as well. The multiplayer works well and with the new patch you can play with Vita or PS3 players, which makes the community larger as a whole.

Dragon’s Crown is a very pretty game. All of the characters are hand drawn in 2-D, and the only regret I have for playing it on Vita was the screen was smaller. I could imagine the game really popping off a large television. I will touch on a bit of controversy in terms of how the Sorceress and the Amazon were animated. Some people have been offended by them due to their look, specifically because of the over sized bouncing chest on the Sorceress. If this offends you, then maybe the game is not for you, but you will be missing out on something special.

It is too bad this game doesn’t support Cross-buy, which was promised initially. Due to the turnover of publishers and interest in ensuring the game was profitable, it was dropped, and they were released separately on PS3 and Vita. My other issue with this is that they share the same trophy list like other Cross-buy games. If you are paying for them separately, then there should be two separate trophy lists. The recent patch that made them cross-play has helped bolster the online community. I still wish publishers would look at cross-buy as something positive as many indie games have seen larger success from having those options for gamers.

Dragons Crown is a great game, and it is easy to recommend for people interested in old school gaming, RPGs or just on something different from what we are getting from the industry these days. Give this game a try, and you will not be disappointed.

[review pros=”Great Character Choice
Cross-save and now Cross-play
Beautiful Graphics” cons=”Grinding can get repetitive
Lack of Cross-Buy
” score=90]

Cost: $39.99

PS Vita Game size: 980 MB

You can purchase Dragon’s Crown from the PSN


This review is based off of a PS Vita copy purchased by the reviewer.