Filthy Lucre - Dragon's Crown Pro (REVIEW)
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
A world of high fantasy, tales of brave knights and mystical wizards have encapsulated pop culture for as long as I can remember. Thinking back to my first experience with high fantasy, it wasn't the well crafted worlds of Tolkien fiction. No my dear geeks, my first experience was from cheesy choose your own adventure books and D&D campaign guides.
The best way to summarize what you can expect with Dragon's Crown Pro is a paper-thin narrative full of so much cheese one would think that would be a major flaw... but really it isn't. This release is the definitive version of the same game that came out on PS3 and PS Vita back in 2013. Dragon's Crown is like a homage to classic side-scrolling RPGs of yesteryear with a new coat of paint. Throw in some modern RPG elements and we've got ourselves a game with all the charm of old arcades with a gorgeous visual style that looks ripped from the pages of a high-fantasy manga.
For our current generation of players, Atlus and Vanillaware ravamped the title with visual and audiop upgrades for the PS4. Whether you played Dragon's Crown five years ago or Dragon's Crown Pro is your first foray into this action RPG, your hunt for the mythical Dragon's Crown is sure to bring smile to your face.
As far as gameplay is concerned, Dragon's Crown is a side-scrolling action RPG which plays like classic 16 bit era beat-em-ups. Up to four players can tackle missions simultaneously, picking from six character archtypes with unique gameplay for each one. You progress through levels facing all manner of dungeon dweller or ghastly beast. Chasing down loot and taking down unique level bosses round out the gameplay experience. Basically... it's a brawler with a few tricks up its sleeve.
If you don't want to play some couch-co-op or play online, you can recruit AI controlled companions based on one fo the six character archetypes. This is accomplished by finding remains in the game's various dungeons. These remains can be taken to the church to either have the adventurer resurrected or out the adventurer to rest. These AI companions are comparable top the level you found their remains, if you find some old bones in a low level dungeon, you may find it better to let the soul rest rather than resurrecting a weak companion.
As for the RPG element, a heavy emphasis is placed on leveling up stats and acquiring new gear with players able to revisit levels to discover secret routes, hidden bosses, and side-quests handed out by the guild.
What feels like a bit of a let down was the paper-thin narrative we got... something about a princess and a dragon, there's a crown involved and yadda yadda. I wasn't kidding when I mentioned that the story felt quite cheesy. This is made up for in the game's action, which can get pretty crazy when you have a full party of four running around these narrow corridors. Players that crave a deep narrative will have issues with the game, Dragon's Crown leans heavily on the gameplay with constant back-tracking and loot-grinding at the game's core. This isn't a game for the casual story loving player, but rather a game for the completionist to obsess over until every single secret is uncovered.
More so, if you are a PS4 Pro user, there is a lot to take in here with the game receiving an impressive 4K upgrade with immediately noticeable jump is visual fidelity. The score was also completely re-recorded with a full orchestra.
To be honest, Dragon's Crown isn't for everyone. It was a divisive title back in 2013 and it's a divisive title now. Personally, as a huge fan of the original title and with my reputation as an obsessive gamer hell-bent on completing everything I can in a game... this was a no brainer for me. While not for everyone, for the people this game is for, it sure is a sight to behold.
4 OUT OF 5
Grindy... but the fun kind of grindy...