DRAGON’S CROWN PRO
Find some company for this fantasy dungeon brawler
The clue is in the extra word at the end of the title. If you’ve already enjoyed hacking and slashing your way through Vanillaware’s fantasy arcade brawler on PS3 or PS Vita, your only incentive for double-dipping is if you have both a PS4 Pro and 4K TV to appreciate the extra sumptuous resolution – fitting for a game with scenes you could imagine framed on a wall. Of course, whether you’d want to hang this up would depend on your taste. If Dragon’s Crown’s exaggerated art style was a turn-off in 2013, then a 4K coat of paint and a new orchestral score won’t change your mind. Yet it’s clear that, humongous chests asides, the game revels in excess, from the dizzying number of enemies flooding the screen to the piles of loot you’ll be scooping up each session.
Vanillaware has looked to modern RPG rather than arcade systems to ensure replayability for its nine stages. You’ve got six different classes of character to choose from, from a fierce amazon to an elven archer to a very well-endowed sorceress, and levelling and loot drops mean they are constantly progressing with new stats and gear-granting buffs (or debuffs), while quests provide incentive for revisiting stages. The latter can go beyond ‘kill x amount of y’ to actually uncovering secrets that make the game less linear than you might expect. This is reinforced late in the game, when it transpires that every stage actually has a second harder path and a second boss.
LOCAL ROLE CALL
But even with this apparent depth, once the screen real estate goes to hell, you’re still mostly mashing either r or e until everything is dead and you can see again. Not that there aren’t attempts to mix things up, such as the Catacombs’ spectral enemies or rescuing maidens who also need to be protected from the vampire bosses at the end. But, as can be the case in the brawler genre, things quickly get repetitive. Even if you’re determined to play as every character class to unlock their ending, you’ll still have to go through the same quests all over again.
To that end, the rinse-and-repeat gameplay is likely more enjoyable when you have friends in the same room. That said, local multiplayer isn’t without drawbacks, as story progression is limited to just one player, while sharing a screen means trips back to town can make for a long wait while you take it in turns to sort through loot. Unlocked in the late game, online multiplayer also continues to have loading between moving from one screen to the next, while still susceptible to input lag. Fortunately, if you’re picking up Dragon’s Crown Pro for the first time to play with friends online who still have the PS3 or PS Vita version, cross-play has been enabled across all three platforms. Now that’s a way to bring people together.
“LIKELY MORE ENJOYABLE WHEN YOU HAVE FRIENDS IN THE SAME ROOM.”
Once chaos and damage numbers start flying, it’s hard not to get lost amid the action.
INFO FORMAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW PUB SEGA / ATLUS DEV VANILLAWARE