Dragon Quest Builders 2 – Easy Allies Impressions

After the successful courtship of Dragon Quest
and building-blocks, the Builders series returns for a second adventure. It’s been seven months since Dragon Quest Builders 2
was released in Japan, and we’ve been teased by trailers and gameplay
of new features like gliding through the air, swimming underwater,
and playing cooperatively with a friend. Now, after making our way
through the story’s first chapters, we can already tell that tons of improvements
have made the process of constructing each world quicker and easier than the first game. Here are some early impressions before Builders 2
launches later this week. Builders is about turning damaged
or abandoned settlements into thriving communities, and becoming involved in the plight of the people
who live there. The sequel really speeds up this process
by making mostly positive changes that streamline the systems introduced
in the previous game. The first is your combat partner Malroth. Cursed with a classic case of role-playing amnesia,
he’ll follow you around the map, assist you in fights
by drawing attention away from enemies, and even harvest something for you
if you’re actively looking for it. There are also moments in the campaign
when your fellow villagers will assist in farming or construction,
which both saves time and is fun to watch. You meet Malroth on the shores of the
Isle of Awakening, a body of land you inherit that serves as headquarters you can improve
by working with other characters and flexing the building skills
you pick up from your travels. Locations include bigger islands reminiscent
of the first game’s four chapters and smaller islands you can tour
with Malroth at your side, picking up materials and completing challenges. In Builders 1, your stats were only raised
after forging new weapons and armor, but in Builders 2, you and Malroth also level up together
after gathering experience from fallen enemies. The settlements you slowly reconstruct level up
as you finish missions and keep the residents happy. They show this in a strange way, by dropping red
or yellow hearts whenever they’re fulfilled or inspired. You have to manually pick each of these hearts up
or ring a community bell to summon all residents and their manifested emotions. It’s nice to see each resident do their part
in leveling up your base, but the hearts can make the environment look cluttered. It’s a bit of a hassle to round up everyone’s mess,
whether it represents happiness or not. Other changes feel like small things at first,
but they add up, considering the many blueprints and recipes
you’re asked to put together. Like Minecraft, usable items are displayed
in a row of boxes on the bottom of the screen. These stacks were capped at 99 in Builders 1,
but now 999 can be held in one slot. A piece of furniture called the Colossal Coffer
previously let you store three pages of bonus items, but now a simple bag, given to you very early in the story, lets you pack away equipment, blocks,
and other materials and easily retrieve them when you’re out and about. You can send them straight to the bag without pausing the game by pressing down on the d-pad, quickly organize them by pressing square in any menu, and place items directly into chests
with the square button while facing them. Another timesaver
is the removal of weapon and tool durability. Instead of crafting a batch of swords and hammers
to take into the field, you can craft the strongest version of each,
equip it, and it never breaks. Your hammer now takes up its own spot in your HUD
along with other tools like a bottomless pot used to create reservoirs and a very handy glove that picks up individual blocks
or entire objects you just want to move around. Having your hammer, weapons, and items assigned to three separate buttons saves a lot of menu swapping. Assembling quest-specific recipes
and hopping around the map takes less effort as well. You can now sprint until your stamina meter runs out. You can fast-travel to naviglobes
you discover on the map and zip back to home base for free
without using a Chimera Wing. Quest ingredients you need to make or collect
are now labeled in bag and workbench windows, so you can clearly see what you have to craft
at a workbench or take out of storage when you’re gathering different quantities
of different items, a process that required a sturdy memory
or a pen and paper in the first game. Skipping a lot of the menu searches and button presses
from the original Builders is wonderful, but there are a few slip ups in the controls that can get
in the way of the otherwise smooth building process. Clicking the right analog stick now switches
to a welcome first-person view, but it replaces the third-person camera repositioning
that was previously useful for looking inside buildings or pushing the camera back to its maximum distance. The X button
now cycles through the last three tools you used, but you may find yourself accidentally triggering
nearby furniture or objects instead. While not every part of the controls
have been translated efficiently, there are several options to select
the button arrangement that best works for you. The multitude of changes made to Builders 2
take a while to adjust to if you’re familiar with the controls
from the previous game, but over time they really speed up the experience
and allow you to focus on being creative or addressing the challenges that really matter. We have many more islands to discover and projects
to finish before we get to the end of its campaign, but you can start your own crafting adventure
in Dragon Quest Builders 2 when it launches on PlayStation 4 and Switch
on July 12. Easy Allies videos are made possible
by generous viewers just like you. If you like what you see, check out
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