Dragon Quest Heroes II is the latest release by Omega Force in their long line of “Warriors” style games for other franchises. Following on from their first game with DQ, Omega Force has also made games with One Piece and Attack on Titan. DQHII is more focused on story and the base material then most of the other games, with exploration as well as mechanics tied to DQ. But can these two franchises play well together?
The game starts off with a quick cutscene describing the general setting for 7 kingdoms being split up to continue the peace between them all. We are then given an introduction to the main cast, a pair of cousins, Lazarel and Teresa, whom we can choose as our main character and their slime friend Healix. The reunion of cousins is cut short as their town is attacked by their hometowns army. After helping repel the attack, the cousins along with new friends along the way, ask to help stop this war.
From here the game continues on the path of your heroes solving the mystery behind the attacks as well as seeking peace. You will travel between the 7 kingdoms, their cities and the neighbouring wildlands.
A single playthrough can net you over 30 hours of gameplay, but with plenty of side-missions to undertake, hunts and skills to unlock you should be able to stretch that out. You can also take a single character into co-op for story missions or dungeons with up to 4 players, gaining more experience, money and items.
DQHII is very much a “Warriors” style game, housing a pretty hack n slash genre of gameplay. You will swap between Square and Triangle for your normal attacks, holding down R1 will pull up your abilities list to use attacks like Zap and Multi-slash. Circle is yet again a high-tension power boost, giving you invulnerability and infinite MP for a few seconds, ending it with a final attack.
Adding in something a bit new, you can now collect coins in battle, an improved system from the first release, these are monster medals. Coming in 3 variations, you can summon sentry monster to fight for you, saviours can use their special attack or substitutes to even transform yourself into one. This new mechanic does mix up the combat a little, saving up the medals that deal wide are damage or tanky ones for bosses.
Like in newer DQ games, you can also change your class from 5 different ones, starting off as a Warrior you can swap to: Martial Artists, Mage, Gladiator and Sage. Each class offers something new to the player, from powerful ranged spells to up-close abilities and tanking. You can change the class of the two cousins, with the other characters you recruit having their own set class. Each class has their own level, changing between them resetting you to that classes level, so it does require some grinding to get them up to speed.
As you defeat enemies, complete quests and hand-in side-missions you will gain exp, which will increase your level. Gaining hp and mp, you will also gather ability points to unlock new skills to activate in combat, passive bonuses to hp/mp or other stats. The skill tree itself isn’t overly complex or confusing, simply displaying all the skills from left to right and telling you how to unlock them. The selection is minimal, but for a fast-paced game like Heroes it does fit well.
Overall thoughts and feelings
The music and sounds within Heroes is still Dragon Quest in nature, refining old tunes on top of making new ones for the release. While it does fit the setting of DQ, the music doesn’t often fit with the gameplay style of Warriors. In the end, the soundtrack sounds great but could have been geared more to the gameplay.
In comparison to the soundtrack, the voice direction and dialogue are horrendous. From somewhat forced sounding accents to grating personalities, I found it incredibly hard to relate or even care about most of the cast. Discussions become loops of “You’re bad” “No I am not” “You’re being a child”. While Warrior type games end up sticking to Japanese, due to past complaints at English translations being bad, I did hold some hope for this release being the pioneer to get more English voice acting in Warrior games. The voices are babied along with the cute art style.
Overall Dragon Quest Heroes II gets a 7/10, the gameplay gets repetitive but allows for easy class changes. The over world does feel wide and varied but hides a linear path amongst its size. Bosses and normal enemies are hp sponges, taking too long to kill, a vast change from normal Warriors style of difficulty. The soundtrack can be great, but voices in English are vastly under par. The overall experience can be fun for the first couple of hours, but the combination of Warriors and Dragon Quest just doesn’t blend perfectly. Fans of the first release should enjoy the improvements made in this release but newcomers might be deterred.