Dragon Warrior II - Staff Retroview  

Small Improvements
by Derek 'Roku' Cavin

20-35 Hours


Rating definitions 

   This review is based on the Gameboy remake. After the sucess of the original Dragon Warrior, another was created. This time around there are three main characters each with their own specialty. The world is much larger as well and features many villages and even a new mode of transportation: the boat. Many of the other aspects of the game remain essentially the same though. As a result, the second game seems only a minor improvement over the first.

   Battles show the largest improvement in the transition from the first game to the second. The player is now able to control three characters with their own specialties of physical power, balanced power, and magical power respectively. The ability to control three characters adds a lot to strategy as attacks must now be balanced with healing in order to survive. Though the added strategy is a big improvement, the battle system is still lacking a bit due to so few abilities and little diversity.

He's a liar He's a liar

   The difficulty is slightly increased due to the need for strategy in the more difficult fights, but only enemies found near the end of the game pose much of a threat. There are only a few bosses and most of them don't pose much of a threat either. The game is easy overall.

   Dragon Warrior II's interface is very similar to that of the first Dragon Warrior. There's nothing special about it, but it isn't too bad either. The menus could use a little work though. Localization is similar to how it was in the first game too. It's not perfect, but it's acceptable. Nothing special here.

   Being almost exactly the same as the first Dragon Warrior, the second is far from original. It plays almost exactly the same as the first one with the addition of a few new party members and a slightly expanded storyline and world. A boat has been added, but it isn't very original either.

   Though Dragon Warrior II's story is better than the first, that isn't saying much. With three main characters there is a bit of character development and each character has his/her own backstory and personality as well. The rest of the storyline still involves the collection of several special items that will allow the heroes to reach and fight the final boss. Even with the minor improvements, the plot is still average at best.

The world is bigger and so is the quest The world is bigger and so is the quest

   The second Dragon Warrior takes much longer to complete than the first did thanks to larger and more frequent dungeons and a larger worldmap. It takes longer to level up than it did in the first game too. The game can still be rushed through in about twenty hours, but it can take as long as thirty-five hours for those that like to level up a lot and get all of the best equipment.

   Dragon Warrior II features new music, but the new tracks sound very similar to the tracks in the first game. They're nothing special and get a bit repetitive late in the game. Sound effects seem to be exactly the same as in the first game with perhaps a few additions. Both music and sound are average at best.

   Visuals are also on the same level as they were in the first game. Each sprite is still fairly well-detailed in battle and there is only a little re-coloring. Once again, the above average visuals are sadly the best part of the game.

   Despite its improvements, Dragon Warrior II barely manages to keep up with other RPGs released at the same time. Battles are improved and the storyline is a little better, but the rest remains the same. It's still not a bad game and worth playing if you like Dragon Warrior games, especially if you want to see the complete storyline of the first three games in the series.

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