Dragon’s Crown is the latest game by Vanillaware on the Playstation 3. The game was originally developed for the Sega Dreamcast at the time but was delayed as the company was unable to find a publisher. After an announcement at E3 2011, the game was slated for release for both the Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita. It is a side scrolling game that draws many similarities to classic titles like Golden Axe and Dungeons and Dragons. With successful and vastly underappreciated games like Odin Sphere and Muramasa Rebirth, Vanillaware has spent considerable time on this game that supports cross play between the Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita.
The game is a side scrolling action RPG that takes place in medieval times. You are able to choose from six different classes of heroes: Fighter, Amazon, Wizard, Elf, Dwarf and Sorceress. In the Kingdom of Hydeland, you are an adventurer out in search for not only treasure and gold but the legendary artifact known as the Dragon’s Crown. Legend has foretold that the Dragon’s Crown will grant its owner any wish and is believed to hold unimaginable power. Needless to say, many rivaling nations and adventurers have fought, killed many in cold blood and risked their lives in search of it to no known end.
In combat, you gain experience as fight and destroy your enemies which will earn you skill points that can be allotted to skills that are specific to your class. You are also free to use them towards common skills that are available to all classes. This is done by visiting the Guildmaster, Samuel, who will notify you of requests made in a list of side quests that will allow you to earn additional gold, experience and skill points. You will be joined by Rannie, a clever thief who is able to unlock treasure chests and pry open locked doors when asked. Further into the story, a tiny little fairy named Tiki will join you on your adventures as she aids you in finding treasure chests and directing your party through different stages in each mission. You can opt to form a party offline or to join an online room where you’ll be teamed up with other adventurers worldwide.
After each mission, you are given a choice to keep all the loot you acquire or to sell it off to a local merchant named Magician Morgan. You can buy and sell items from her shop and she is also able to appraise unknown items in your inventory for a fee. She proves to be an invaluable source of help as she is also able to repair your weapons, armor and equipment that deteriorates after excessive use in the battlefield. If you neglect to repair them, you risk breaking and losing valuable weapons and equipment in the heat of battle when surrounded by your enemies.
You will find many bones along your adventures that are the corpses of previous adventurers who met their untimely death. At the Canaan Temple in town, you can choose to bury them in peace or to revive them and receive an immediate ally in your party. You can also pray to the goddess for a modest fee who will grant your party benefits like life protection, better loot, increased scores and more. Other areas like the Old Tower and Stables will be unlockable in the latter portions of the game.
Visually, the game is stunningly beautiful as the game is incredibly detailed and polished. Known for their luscious artwork, Vanillaware has spared no expense in making this title an intricate and deeply immersive experience. The soundtrack is appropriate and audibly pleasing to listen to as you embark on adventurers in medieval times with passion and excitement. Those that pre-ordered the game during its original release were able to receive an artbook featuring gorgeous character art, landscapes and concept art.
Dragon’s Crown is the one of the best action adventure games by Vanillaware. Even after the story is completed, the game boasts high replay value as you can re-live the experience with different heroes while completing numerous side quests to unlock images in the art gallery. The second time around, the “hard” difficulty setting will be unlocked for players who are up to the challenge of fighting the final bosses one more time. Those who crave a fun and engaging side scrolling action adventure need look no further than Dragon’s Crown on either the PS3 or Vita.
PROS – Beautiful visuals, Online multiplayer mode, Addictive gameplay
CONS – Boring and repetitive quests
SCORE – 89%