• Only several months from Book I being released, Dragon Fantasy Book II continues the story of Ogden and his ragtag group of unlikely heroes. The game traded out a battle system that was reminiscent of Dragon Quest for one more akin to Chrono Trigger, and also receiving a graphical and music upgrade. The results were mostly successful.

    One big change to the game was the darker direction the story takes, with only a handful of referential jokes. Although this work in the game’s favor, as some people might not get or care for the humor. Not to say that there isn’t a lot of references themselves, as there are more winks and nods that old timer RPG players will no doubt crack a smile at. This game, more then the previous title, has many more references to other RPG’s, and even other game’s or other areas of pop culture. The perspective has also taken on a more Chrono Trigger feel, where you can run around the field and find enemies on screen before you choose to battle them, or run away. Battle also, while still turn-based and not ATB like Final Fantasy, takes a page from Chrono Trigger where attacks have Areas of Effect. You can also capture monsters with nets or the Capture spell that Woodsy has. This was an idea lifted from the bonus ‘Intermission M’ chapter from the previous title. They now gain levels and have their own equipment. Battles are also much quicker and the pace can be sped up. No real need to grind as well, since the game is quite relaxed in it’s difficulty. The game also has a sidequest system to earn some extra money and items.

    The game also features a loose chapter system where you will frequently change perspectives between the characters, as opposed to the last game’s chapter selection. The music is done by Dale North, and it is really well done. Graphics look more like something that came out of the 16-bit era and while rough, still look fairly decent. The game looks the best on the Vita though. Cross-saving still is a functionality as well. There are also more optional side areas to explore, thus giving the game a decent 15-30 hour experience, depending on whether you want to do all sidequests, max out your characters, or get trophies.

    There are a few issues though. While there were a good number of improvements made to the game even after patching, some things were still not addressed. The crafting system seems like a bit of a waste, because there is a very limited number of materials to be gained in the game. This also ties into the quest and monster party systems. Quests usually only offer a tiny amount of gold and an herb, plus one other mostly not useful item. The quests should have offered more materials as rewards, and maybe experience. Maybe even tie it in with the story a bit. As for the monsters, while they do gain levels and skills, their abilities are largely the same. There is little difference in their skill sets, with stats being the main deciding factor in which monsters to use. Also, their equipment draw is weak, being mostly tied to the aforementioned crafting system. One last thing about monsters. When your party gets too strong, you automatically win fights. This normally would be good, but it makes trying to recruit older monsters impossible. Also, while navigating the item screen is easier, you still have to go through a rather unorganized list of equipment and items. There should have been tabs for equipment and items. Also, you still can’t buy or sell multiples of any given item or equipment.

    Despite these shortcomings, Dragon Fantasy Book II is a fun RPG made by a team whose love of the genre can be even more felt by this installment, and I’d recommend it to lovers of the genre who want to play a game with a more classic and traditional feel.

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