Dragon’s Crown is like an odd mashup between Diablo and Castle Crashers with a Dungeons and Dragons skin over it. It takes place in a fantasy realm where players can select one of six heroes (Fighter, Elf, Wizard, Sorceress, Dwarf, Amazon) to follow the story with. Who is chosen is inconsequential to the tale as is the story overall. There’s a sleeping dragon, political backstabbing, thievery, and many more thinly veiled plot points in the narrative. It’s a side point in the action to pull players along. The idea of having adventures told by a narrator seems cool, but the execution is poor and uninteresting.
To be blunt, his game is a loot heavy, RPG, beat’em up: choose a hero, pick a stage, move from right to left and bash the crap out of monsters. There’s treasure to be discovered, experience to be gained, and quests to complete. With only nine stages, eighteen counting two different paths, there’s a lot of repetition and grinding in the game. It’s a mindless hack and slash with a surprisingly deep system underneath especially with the character choices. Sure it’s a bit short, but throw three friends together, either online or off, and it’s an incredibly enjoyable experience.
While the narrative’s presentation was poor, the presentation of the art is incredibly jaw dropping. Stand still at any moment in a stage and it looks like a piece of art come to life. Plus the animations of the characters, bosses, and enemies are too good to be true. In a world where polygons run supreme, seeing Vanillaware dish up another excellent 2D masterpiece is inspiring. Sure some of the art has been picked apart for being a bit sexist and risqué, but that shouldn’t detract people from enjoying this rich, RPG brawler experience.
Dragon’s Crown does a lot of things right. It’s got fun action, amazing art, and has a great multiplayer feature. It’s weighed down a little bit by its shortness, lack of levels, and a bland story. Compare these gripes next to its pluses and they get overshadowed for the most part. Whether it’s a solo adventure, or a quest with friends, Dragon’s Crown is the gift that keeps on giving.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on August 19, 2013 via my Examiner account before the website shut down. Check out the supporting video review on the accompanying YouTube Channel, ReActionExaminer.