Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Dragon’s Crown

The European release of Dragon’s Crown has been a long time coming, but even so it’s more than likely that most serious hobbyists will have caught wind of the videogame many months ago. It’s a title that got noticed not for its gameplay or its […]
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Electronic Theatre ImageThe European release of Dragon’s Crown has been a long time coming, but even so it’s more than likely that most serious hobbyists will have caught wind of the videogame many months ago. It’s a title that got noticed not for its gameplay or its art style – despite both being of noteworthy quality – but rather for its art direction. A shame, perhaps, but clearly an intentional misdirection on behalf of Vanillaware.

The story of Dragon’s Crown is told by way of recalling tales at a bar. Your earliest of quests and the first meeting with your now ever-dependable colleague, Rannie the Rogue, told by the man himself. The introduction is delivered by way of a Electronic Theatre Imageslowly progressing tutorial that informs you of the basics of control as well as the unique actions of each character class, of which there are six.

The Sorceress, who is arguably the source of most of Dragon’s Crown’s early attention, is a slow but high damaging aggressor, able to both dish out damage as well as take. The Dwarf is a combo-orientated brawler who is strong enough to pick-up dazed foes and use them as a ranged weapon, while the Elf is all about maintaining distance. The Fighter and Amazonian and stalwart heavy hitters while the Wizard is a faster, less dependable take on the Sorceress. Every character class has advantages and Electronic Theatre Imagedisadvantages of course, and it won’t be long until the player decides in a favourite especially when considering the passing of characters between save data. The player will create a character prior to starting the videogame and can actually create several if they so choose, with their save data more keenly relating to development rather than progress; any character you create can be taken into your own or a friends’ save data via either local or online gameplay.

While Dragon’s Crown is a scrolling beat-‘em-up through-and-through, it is a very modern one. Players will level-up their character with each new experience spend and subsequently earn Electronic Theatre Imageskill points which can be uses to purchase new abilities. Furthermore, players will acquire treasure and loot mid-level which can be used to finance new armour purchases or equipped for statistic bonuses. It’s a very familiar system which is let down by some awkward menu design, but nonetheless Dragon’s Crown proves to be entertaining at even it’s most basic level when played with friends.

When playing alone – or with less than the full quota of friends, at any rate – the player can fill their active party with artificial intelligence (AI) allies. In an unusual twist the player has to find these disposable additions before being able to call them into battle. Electronic Theatre ImageBones will be discovered on your journey, and carrying them back to the Tavern – the videogame’s hub – will provide you with the opportunity to resurrect these fallen warriors. They will then wait at the Tavern until such a point at which you decide to request their help. However, those who you do call are significantly weaker than you, and should they fall in battle they are lost forever.

As you progress through the story you will encounter certain moments at which you’ll be given a choice as to how to react to an individual or an encounter. The decision is typically quite binary and the knock-on effect of the choice made is limited in it’s effect but it does Electronic Theatre Imagegive a nice and often sudden break in the pace of the story, which for the most part is a constant thread pulling you through the adventure.

Much has been said about the visual design of Dragon’s Crown, but very little about its quality. While you could argue that its excessive misogyny is both laughable and unappealing for any respectable videogame hobbyist there’s no denying that the quality of it’s presentation is of a remarkably high standard throughout. Characters are bursting with life and the animation is faultless. Environments are detailed and colourful and enemies are varied enough to remain interesting throughout. Of course, all of this is supported by familiar and engrossing multiplayer scrolling beat-‘em-up gameplay. So Dragon’s Crown goes to prove that while overtly sexualising your characters may help the appeal of your videogame to specific demographics, it becomes more forgivable to those who criticise such an attitude when the gameplay underneath is rock solid.

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