Taking place directly where it’s predecessor left off, Dragon Quest Builders 2 improves on everything the first entry began and it truly delivers a unique gaming experience. Everything is made bigger than its prequel, with its gorgeous cast open world set sometime following the events of the original Dragon Quest 2. As one of the Children of Hargon, you must rebuild a devastated world with the aid of your AI companion Marloth. Thus begins your quest into a world far greater and full of interesting NPCs that its predecessor merely graced upon. Builders 2 does everything a sequel should do and way more.
One of the major strengths this game has is its AI-assisted questing that renders Malroth a necessary character along your adventure. He not only aids in combat but also helps you build character stats that open up new abilities that are necessary for completing your main quest. His assistance is important as well as organic. One never feels the loneliness of traveling in the vast open world of the Island of Awakening that’s common in most other single-player Campaigns. Rather, Malroth’s presence is both delightful and tangible, with his blend of witty dialogue and item gathering capabilities. Writer Koya Tsukada fills each line of dialogue with a blend of charm and wit that very few RPGs can own up to and the world of the story never feels dull.
Entering dungeons, building towns, talking with townsfolk in taverns are all nuanced experiences that are enhanced by the game’s writing. What is, even more, is that this game offers cooperative multiplayer that allows up to four players to band together and adventure through the different biospheres of each Island. This was greatly missing in the first builders. Players can even fast travel by either land or sea via the hand glider which is an amazing feature yet again not present its predecessor. Everything has been enhanced and masterfully so, Ashe fast travel mechanic adds a scope of openness to this sandbox-style RPG. The world is organic and teaming with fantasy tropes even with its Minecraft art style. Builders 2 could easily be a harvesting world-building simulator as much as it is an adventure RPG. The depth of gameplay allows it to be anything it wants to be for players and yet it does not even fit into a single unitary genre.
While Builders has many positives, it still holds onto some of the shortcomings of its forbearer. The battle mechanic is still mindless button mashing and the boss battles are simplistic even for a Minecraft like adventure piece. As a character, Malroth’s presence and his eventual conclusion are predictable given the history of the franchise and the timeline this entry takes place in. It does become frustrating to see buildings you have built come under attack constantly by monsters even after you have left that part of the world map and have progressed miles away. Suck constant backtracking becomes tedious and eventually, it becomes easier to just build structures somewhere else rather than constantly mining resources to rebuild the same towns. But regardless of such minute idiosyncratic gameplay elements, Dragon Quest Builders is a phenomenal sequel that does everything right that the first one did wrong.
Everything in this second entry in the builders’ franchise is streamlined perfectly for newcomers and experts alike. From its deep dungeon challenges to its extensive harvesting of building material, this game never strays away from being an enjoyable experience. The Switch does offer a more extensive wireless play than the PS4 do to the structure of its hardware but either platform does this title justice. Players never feel the need to simply burn through the plot nor speed-run towards the final act simply because the writing and world itself is so fantastical for a sandbox-style game. Having invested dozens of hours into this title, there is still plenty to do and more cities to build. A sequel that outshines its predecessor and sets the standard for sandbox RPGs, Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a delight to have on Nintendo’s current platform.