Dragon’s Crown Pro is a remaster of Dragon’s Crown that graced the PlayStation 3 system. The game was originally in production for the Sega Dreamcast many years ago but was delayed as the company was unable to find a publisher at the time. Following an announcement at E3 2011, Dragon’s Crown was finally released in North America in 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and Vita. Developed by Vanillaware, known for titles like Odin Sphere Leifthrasir and Muramasa Rebirth, Dragon’s Crown Pro is coming to the PS4 in May 2018.
The game is a side scrolling action RPG that takes place in medieval times in a fantasy world similar to that of Odin Sphere and GrimGrimoire. 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 treasure and gold with your sights set on the legendary relic 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, high ranking government officials and mysterious magic users have fought, killed and risked their lives in search of it. You are charged by the royal palace with retrieving the crown before it falls into the wrong hands. Regarding trusty companions, you are accompanied by the clever thief Rannie and Tiki, the tiny fairy as they both guide you through haunted dungeons, dark caverns, thick forests and dangerous ruins.
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 chosen class. They can be allocated for use towards your specific class or you may opt to use them for common skills available to everyone. This is done by visiting Samuel, the Guild master, who notifies you of requests for the chance to earn gold, experience and skill points as designated rewards. Along the way, Rannie can be directed to unlock idle treasure chests and pry open locked doors upon request by using the hand symbol. You can opt to form a party offline or to join an online room where you’ll potentially be teamed up randomly with other online adventurers at any given point. After each mission, you are given a choice to keep all the loot or sell it in town to a local merchant by the name of Magician Morgan. You can buy and sell items from her shop and she is also able to appraise unknown items in your inventory. She proves to be an invaluable ally as she can repair your weapons, armor and equipment that deteriorates after excessive use in the battlefield – all for a fee of course. If you neglect to do this, you risk breaking and ultimately losing valuable weapons and equipment when they are needed the most. This leaves you weaker and vulnerable in the hands of your surrounding 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 either bury them in peace or revive them to receive an immediate ally in your party. The stronger and more powerful the corpse, the more gold it will cost you to resurrect them from the dead. 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. Most of the areas in town are quickly accessible after the first few hours of gameplay with the Old Tower and Stables will be unlockable in the latter portion of the game. The option for online multiplayer modes opens up after you have reached a specified point much further into the main storyline.
Through each and every locale, you are ultimately searching for the talisman that is unique to that specific location. Halfway through the mission, you’ll have a choice to decide which path you want to pursue with the expected difficulty level. If you only have A.I. Heroes in your party, you make the choice alone and the rest of the party follows suit. However, if you are paired with other human players, the vote goes towards the majority depending on how they vote at the crossroads. In the event of a stalemate, the party will be divided with your party members who voted for the other path going their separate ways. In their stead, they will automatically be replaced with the A.I. Heroes equivalent. Regardless of the path you choose, they will eventually lead to an epic boss fight that provides a solid challenge and puts your best character skills to the test.
Rune Magic are spells used to enhance your party’s stats, find hidden items, kill enemies and more. By using the hand icon to locate engravings found in different locales, you can select the symbols in a specific order via the rune stones. Through trial and error, you’ll discover new and different rune magic spells that will either save or give your team the upper hand. If the order of symbols has no effect, you can try again with a different order until you memorize a few select patterns. The rune stones needed for these spells can be purchased by Lucain, the wise sage and good friend of Tiki. A sharp eye is needed to spot numerous engravings in many places as some are well hidden in dark areas and shadows.
An interesting side or mini-game is the cooking conquest between missions. When you decide to continue your adventure after one ends, you may be transported to a scene by a large bonfire. You are given a minute to pick up, mix and cook various ingredients to make food for yourself within a short time frame of 60 seconds. If there are other human players in your party, you will be competing for similar ingredients to cook and eat the delicacies before time is up. The more you eat, the higher the bonuses rewarded to your character at the end. Timing is important to ensure you don’t under or overcook your ingredients that would leave a bad taste in your character’s mouth.
Visually, the game is stunning with beautiful 4K enhanced graphics, especially when played on the PlayStation 4 Pro system. To top it off, the soundtrack has received a fully rerecorded orchestral arrangement for every musical track. The graphics and music were great in the original PS3 release which makes Dragon’s Crown Pro on the PlayStation 4 an absolute delight for the eyes and ears. Atlus has published a 4K comparison trailer showing the differences between the original and this latest version. You can swap back to the original soundtrack at any time if you prefer the original background music with its charm and charisma.
Dragon’s Crown Pro is the definitive version of the original Dragon’s Crown by a wide margin. Even after the story is completed, the game boasts high replay value as you can re-live the adventure with different heroes in online multiplayer coop mode. With three difficulties and a large art gallery, there is plenty to enjoy in this game for quite a while. The Coliseum and the Labyrinth of Chaos are sure to keep players busy with the increasing level challenges and skill requirements. RPG fans craving a fun and solid side scrolling action adventure title need look no further than Dragon’s Crown Pro.
PROS (+): Stunning Visuals, Solid Gameplay, Stellar Soundtrack
CONS (-): Repetitive and Boring Quests
SCORE – 9.0/10
This review is based on a digital copy of Dragon’s Crown Pro on the PlayStation 4 provided by ATLUS.