The seven kingdoms have started raging wars after a thousand years of peace. Grab your sword and a group of Dragon Quest chums and let's find out what's causing all of this turmoil.
You play as a young man or lady and their cousin who are two friendly family members catching up after some time apart. However, the peace in your cousin's hometown of Harba doesn't last long as monsters start approaching and the two must hack and slash their way out of the commotion. They find themselves en route to the major city of Accordia accompanied by a renowned aid to the King of Accordia, Desdemona. It soon becomes apparent that the attack on Harba was orchestrated by the prince of the desert city of Dunisia. The prince claims to be seeking vengeance for the recent death of his father and he decided waging war with the head of the city that he deemed responsible was the best course of action. When the group finally confronts the prince, it's clear that something more sinister is at play that is manipulating leaders of the seven kingdoms into starting fights and bringing an end to the era of peace. The theme of war remains throughout the story as you meet up with leaders of each of the kingdoms and try to piece together who or what is causing this disruption and why.
Every kingdom has a unique setting which varies from the green pastures of Harba and sand dunes of Dunisia to the bleak and barren No Man's Land. Dragon Quest Heroes II's graphics are impressive and bring the colourful style of the series to life in a most admirable way. The battlegrounds are interesting with lots of twists, turns and hills to traverse. There's even a variety of terrain to make your way through such as poisonous swamps and water that pushes you in a given direction. Although the basic formula of Dragon Quest Heroes is to battle enemies in a large scale arena until they're all beaten, you won't get bored because of the array of distinct terrain.
Each battle also varies in how it plays out. For example, some will have you hacking and slashing enemies in order to uncover teleportals while others will have you stealthily moving through corridors or hunting for chimera monster medals in order to traverse over land that's difficult to cover on foot. The number of unique enemies to fight doesn't disappoint either. Any fan of the Dragon Quest series will be able to pick out their favourite monsters amongst the hordes ranging from slow-paced Golems and pouncing Giant Sabrecats to floating Pink Sanguinis and sticky Muddy Hands. There are so many ways to battle and it constantly stays exciting.
Monster medals played a big role in the original Dragon Quest Heroes and they're back in the sequel but with a twist. Each medal is one of three types (saviour, substitute, or sentry). They are dropped by monsters and can be used to make them do your bidding. A saviour medal summons a monster to perform an ability such as breathing fire. Sentry medals typically provide you with support skills such as a paralyze spell. Substitute medals are by far the coolest and most useful as they allow you to control a monster and give you three of their abilities to use for a short time. It's exciting when you manage to take down a large enemy and they drop a substitute medal because you know you're about to kick some ass. Substitute medals are also useful for traversal such as the chimera medal that allows you to float over hazardous sections and breathe fire down on all of the enemies below, knocking them back and damaging them.
List of characters in Dragon Quest Heroes II
- Alena (Dragon Quest IV)
- Kiryl (Dragon Quest IV)
- Torneko (Dragon Quest IV)
- Meena (Dragon Quest IV)
- Maya (Dragon Quest IV)
- Carver (Dragon Quest VI)
- Terry (Dragon Quest VI)
- Maribel (Dragon Quest VII)
- Ruff (Dragon Quest VII)
- Angelo (Dragon Quest VIII)
- Jessica (Dragon Quest VIII)
The cast in Dragon Quest Heroes II is composed of a wide variety of characters from the series as well as a good blend of new folks mixed in. Some of the characters from Dragon Quest Heroes make an appearance, too, making this the ultimate collection of heroes. Torneko and Meena from Dragon Quest IV, Carver from Dragon Quest VI, Maribel and Gabo (who is renamed Ruff) from Dragon Quest VII, and finally Angelo from Dragon Quest VIII are all new recruits. Torneko's cute and goofy lines are more than welcome and I'm so happy that they decided to give this much-loved but rarely represented character the spotlight in Dragon Quest Heroes II.
Also new for this sequel is the option to change your vocation (job). However, you can only change it for the two main characters and with there being a bunch of jobs available to choose from, you probably won't master more than one or two. As you battle with an assigned vocation, you'll have the opportunity to learn new skills specific to that class each time you talk to the martial artist in Accordia. Changing vocations also determines which equipment type you can handle out of the sixteen possibilities. Now that's a lot of choice!
Going back to Accordia provides you with more shops than you were used to in the first game. There's your standard equipment and orb shops as well as the upgrade shop. Upgrades are handled differently as they provide a linear path of progress for each accessory type where you use collected items to enhance specific abilities and continuously level up the item. There are also quests to take on, a new booth to change your vocation, one to trade in mini medals earned by completing certain tasks, a counter to earn money for defeating monsters and a bar to change up your party. The new martial artist will reward you with new skills to use and the trading shop allows you trade items with other NPCs in order to expand your inventory. There's certainly lots to keep you busy in between battles.
If that still isn't enough, Dragon Quest Heroes II brings you online features that allow you to fight with fellow players. You can choose to help other players with story levels or enter dimensional dungeons and fight solo or cooperatively.
One problem that I had with the original Dragon Quest Heroes was the menu system. Thankfully, I can easily say that there's a vast improvement in the sequel. When purchasing items, you can buy multiple copies and after doing so, you'll be asked to select which characters you want to equip the items on. No more going back and forth through the same menu over and over again to upgrade your party's equipment. Healstones are also automatically refilled whenever you return to Accordia instead of waiting for the painful process of manually refueling every single one upon your return. Now, buying, upgrading and selling equipment is a breeze!
However, one thing I noticed in this version and not in the previous one is that the lip-syncing and timing of cutscenes can be off sometimes. Characters will react to another person's statement before they even finish it and mouth movement won't always line up with a sentence. It's a minor problem given how polished the rest of the experience is. My only other complaint is that a few characters from the original (such as Bianca, Nera, and Yangus) are not in this sequel. I wish the whole gang could fight together again.
Dragon Quest Heroes II takes everything that was amazing about the first game and fixes all of the major gripes that I had with it. I highly recommend it for any Dragon Quest or arena fighting fan and hope this is a sign of more incredible Dragon Quest games to come.
- + Interesting and varied maps
- + Awesome cast of classic characters
- + So much to keep you busy including a brand new online multiplayer component
- - Conversational timing and lip syncing is sometimes off in cutscenes
- - Some characters are unfortunately missing from the first game