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Dragon Fantasy Book II
Score: 91%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Muteki Corporation
Developer: Muteki Corporation
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Classic/Retro/ RPG/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:
Way back in the days of the original PlayStation, RPGs had to rely on a complex storyline with an actual plot rather than just throwing mind-blowing graphics on the screen because the system just couldnít do more than 8 bit graphics. As the years have gone by, the graphics have gotten a lot better, but so many of the storylines are majorly lacking that it gets frustrating. Dragon Fantasy Book II seeks to take us back to a time where the story was more important that the graphics.

The first thing you will notice, even on the opening scene, is that the entire game is done in low resolution graphics. If youíre playing on the PSVita, this works out pretty well. If you are choosing to play on the PS3, it doesnít look very good on a 70Ē TV. It is just too pixelated at that point, but I did find that after 30 minutes or so, it really didnít bother me anymore. I do love that the game does let you configure it to take up as much of the screen as you want. I wish it would let you make it smaller and less pixelated if you want, but it can only go a bit smaller. It is nice that it will let you stretch to the ends of a widescreen TV.

None of your characters speak out loud. Actually, they donít have lips that move that you can distinguish on the faces. You will have to read the on-screen text. Of course, this is in keeping with the throwback look as well. The background music is a typical upbeat instrumental that you would expect to hear in just about any RPG.


Gameplay:
I was expecting a short RPG. I guess I was expecting this because the graphics are scaled back, so I figured the whole game was. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Dragon Fantasy Book II is quite a robust RPG with a relatively complex story that will take a number of hours to fully explore and beat. The overall play reminds me of a humorous version of the original Suikoden, with a bit less intricate storyline.

Dragon Fantasy Book II starts off with Princess Becca trying to wake the hero Ogden, saying that the dragons are coming to eat them and pretty maidens "donít pair well with butter and jam." She needs him to go save them all from the dragons. When he leaves the castle, suddenly he is pudgy and his "luxurious" hair is gone, but he continues on anyway. Ogden is a Knight of Wisteria. At the end of the first Boss battle, Ogden wakes up and the story actually begins and Ogden is now with a pirate crew. You do get a bit of the story in the opening, but not enough to really know what you are doing. You know that you are searching for Voidstones to try and save the world.

The text is hilarious, making fun of itself wherever possible. Things like "Mrs. Rock Monster asks if Ogden thinks she looks fat" when the Rock Monster attacks are going to make you laugh or at least crack a wry smile. There is even an enemy called a David Bowelf who talks about being sparkling. I found myself waiting to see what the next monster would do or say. You can capture monsters to fight with you, but note that you can only have four party members at a time. If you capture a monster when youíre already full, it will just show up in town at the bar or tavern and be available when you are able to change your party out.

You will want to talk to various townspeople for side quests. There are lots of quests to be had that will give you bonus items and money. If you donít feel like doing them, you donít have to. After you get a certain distance in, the group will split up and you will choose which characterís path to follow. Eventually they will meet back up. You will continually be getting new characters to play with to continue on your quests.


Difficulty:
There is no difficultly level that you can set in Dragon Fantasy Book II. It is an RPG, so if youíre having trouble surviving, you simply grind dungeons and level your characters until you can get ahead. So far, I havenít had trouble beating the bosses without grinding. Actually, I found the boss battles to be easier than a large group of enemies as the bosses donít seem to attack very hard and when you have a whole bunch of enemies attacking at once, it will eat at your health quickly. The good thing is that you start off with a healing spell, which makes life easier. You do have limited magic though, so make sure to watch that. As far as I have gotten, I have always had at least one character with healing abilities, so as long as youíre careful you will be fine. Choosing the right captured monsters to fill out your party will also go a long way towards making the game easier! If you do let one of your characters get killed in battle, they will get up with 1 AP at the end, so you can then heal them fully with spells or herbs. You donít have to go back to a priest or somewhere like that to revive them from the dead. You can use items to revive them from the dead during battle as well. I like that the game changes your characterís status bar when you are low on health to pink, when you are poisoned to green, etc. This makes sure that you donít forget to heal or cure someone easily.

Items are going to be necessary to get through the game. The good thing is that minor healing, antidotes, and more are low in cost, so you can carry a lot of them around at once. You can craft your own items, but you will need to buy the crafting manuals to know how. You then need to find a crafting bench (try the Item Shops). This can be a lot cheaper than buying these items, so make sure to craft when you can.


Game Mechanics:
The controls in Dragon Fantasy Book II are quite easy. Dragon Fantasy is a turn-based RPG, so thereís not a complicated method for attacking. (X) is your select and you will be using the (X) button for a large portion of the game. Press (X) in various places to find hidden items, usually pots and such. (X) also talks to people. (Triangle) brings up the Menu for equipping, etc. Your Left Stick or D-pad moves the character around.

Press (X) on a camp site (looks a bit like a fire) to save. You can choose to cross-save to the cloud so you can continue your same game on the PS3 or PSVita. You can only have one cross-save file, but you can have multiple local copies on either system by choosing Record. Just make sure to save to the cloud when you have quit playing for a time so you can pick it back up in either place. You can choose to Quick Save just about anywhere, but this will only save a local copy. It will not do a full save or a cross-save, so make sure that you remember if you need to just continue game or load game when you are starting it back up. I love the world map and the fact that you are a giant on it. Plus, there are no enemies (that I have found) on the world map.

There are still a few glitches in the game, but patches have been promised very soon. I have had to just exit the game once because the screen stayed black after I chose to save and quit. I also find that if I try and start moving a character before the text has been cleared off the screen, then the character will not move that direction so I have to make sure to not press the D-pad until the on-screen text has cleared. These are minor annoyances though. Nothing that make me like the game any less.

Dragon Fantasy Book II is a great RPG. It is a lot more than I was expecting. If youíre looking for an old school RPG with a good story and a price that would be expected in the original PlayStation days, check out Dragon Fantasy Book II today!


-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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