DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 / DEVELOPER: SQUARE ENIX, OMEGA FORCE / PUBLISHER: SQUARE ENIX, NINTENDO / PLATFORM: PS4, SWITCH / RELEASE DATE: 12TH JULY
Square Enix's long-running Dragon Quest franchise is back in the form of a second Minecraft-like. Dragon Quest Builders 2 is touted as being bigger than its predecessor, but does bigger mean better?
The game takes place after the events of Dragon Quest 2. Your character is a builder, and all of your profession are being eradicated. You manage to escape the ship where you're being held prisoner, and wash up on the Island of Awakening. There you meet Malroth, a name fans of the main series will recognise - here, he is a warrior who can't remember his past and who aids you on your journey.
Similar to the first game, the game very much takes its inspiration from Minecraft. The world is designed in that blocky style, everything is mine-able, you can craft things, and monsters come at night. But instead of a pickaxe, you wield a hammer.
Unlike Minecraft, this game is less about building or survival but more about completing quests. Small settlements need your help, rebuilding their town for safety, planting their crops so they can eat, and crafting weapons for them to fight with.
The blocky look of the game is fine, but whenever you see a cutscene you see how pretty a game it could have been without that style. A lot of the time the world looks empty and there's not really any enjoyment of going to see what's on the other side of that mountain.
Early on in the game it's made clear that combat is optional. Malroth is more than capable of handling himself, and villagers that you help will join you in a battle. You can assist with the fighting or you can just get any injured villagers back to safety.
The game clearly takes inspiration from the Legend of Zelda series – the initial island clearly a shout out to Link's Awakening in both name and animation, the dash stamina bar from Skyward Sword, and the glider from Breath of the Wild. Sadly though, the combat, puzzles and scenery don't hold a candle to that series.
The characters are full of charm, and dialogue is witty with plenty of double entendres that will go straight over the head of the game's target audience but will keep parents amused.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 is definitely suited to a younger audience looking for more direction than they're given in Minecraft. If you're a fan or something like Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley but want more of an adventure and a story, then this game is for you.