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Dragon’s Crown – Review

Dragon's Crown
My Fair Gamer
Written by My Fair Gamer

Dragon’s Crown for the Playstation 3 and PS Vita is richly detailed side-scrolling fantasy brawler with a lot of classic arcade charm. Choosing from six hero archetypes, you set out on a journey to thwart a mysterious coven bent on using the game’s titular treasure to wreak havoc on the kingdom of Hydeland. Each would-be hero has a unique selection of abilities and usable weapons, accessories, and armor. All of which are obtained entirely through plumbing the infested depths of Hydeland’s countryside.

The reasons you’ll visit these dungeons come from the game’s fairly rote high-fantasy storyline and side quests that largely exist to provide opportunities to earn experience and levels. Gaining levels and completing quests yield skill points which are spent on class-specific and general talents and abilities.

Dungeons remain static between playthroughs: helpful if you’re attempting to track down a specific door that was previously blocked, or to complete a specific mission objective; problematic if you’re looking for a little more variety or randomization. Cooperative play is achieved locally with either A.I. controlled characters or real human beings on the couch, as well as multiplayer matchmaking.

Attacks are assigned to two buttons, one of which results in a powerful attack (usually resulting the loss of your equipped weapon). The other is used in conjunction with directions on the left joystick and the jump button to unleash a flurry of combo and special attacks. It is possible to simply mash your way through almost every battle, but the combo system is deep enough to reward thoughtful and more considered play.

Visually Dragon’s Crown draws a direct line to the classics of the genre it emulates, except this time everything actually looks just like the gorgeous art on the cover. To say nothing of the at-times overbearingly sexualized imagery in the game, every nook, cranny, creature, and character is rendered in amazing two-dimensional detail. It’s gorgeous every step of the way and is backed by a pleasant and at times downright beautiful soundtrack.

Dragon’s Crown has its heart-and-soul rooted deeply the bygone days of titles like Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, and the Dungeons and Dragons series from Capcom, but is the unique mix of highly-detailed art, lush music, fighter-esque combat system and loot-based gameplay enough to provide a lasting and enjoyable local cooperative experience?

Dragon's Crown

The lovingly rendered and detailed art and animation and the frequently beautiful soundtrack fail to excuse or alleviate the frustration and general “meh” feeling of actually playing the game. Dragon’s Crown is certainly worth owning and playing, but it most definitely does not co-op.

Dragon's Crown - Co-Opinion
  • Learning Curve
  • Learning Curve
  • Player Roles
  • Player Roles
  • The Game Itself
  • The Game Itself
  • Does it Co-Op?
  • Does it Co-Op?
Overall:

Summary

Learning Curve
Despite the added control depth to an otherwise typically shallow genre, it is still entirely possible to essentially button-mash your way through the entire experience.In local co-op, menu-driven parts of the game are cumbersome; almost everything must be done twice and there's just a general lack of fluidity to interacting with the out-of-dungeon environments and NPCs.

Player Roles
Much of the action consists of wading through mindless (but beautiful) combat scenarios for 10 minutes and then spending an almost equal amount of time dealing the aftermath of your efforts, or preparing for the next one.

The Game Itself
In a word the game is visually gorgeous.

Does it Co-Op?
Dragon's Crown is certainly worth owning and playing for it's artistic achievement, but it most definitely does not co-op.

About the author

My Fair Gamer

My Fair Gamer

Sean has been gaming since 1988 when, at the age of five, his father brought the entire family down to the electronics department of Montgomery Ward to purchase an NES Family Pack. Sean's first two games were Contra and Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. Bloody Tears is to this day his favorite game theme of all time. He has oscilliated between being a console and a PC gamer for the past 15 years or so, but has squarely put himself in the PC camp for the time being. He primarily enjoys single-player campaigns and co-operative games and will play just about anything except hardcore simulation or real-time strategy titles.

He also enjoys electronic music of all kinds, being an amateur photographer, plying his skill at graphic design by profession, and knows just enough Japanese to get him into trouble. His favorite game of all time is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. His favorite co-op game(s) is the Earth Defense Force series.

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