Dragon Quest Heroes II is the second musou game based on the Akira Toriyama inspired characters from the popular Dragon Quest series. Like other games developed by Omega Force, you’ll find yourself slaying armies of enemies based on the monsters from the mainline Dragon Quest games. Some of the recognizable mascots and characters that appear in the game will give a friendly nod to fans of the long-running RPG series. But while the sense of power over many foes is exciting, much of the fun in Dragon Quest Heroes II is brought down by a combination of rough camera control, a shallow story, and repetitive gameplay.
The story of Dragon Quest Heroes II can be shallow and get drawn out for the worst at some points. You control one of two heroes that uncovers an evil plot to force the kingdoms of their homeland into war. Along the way, you come across other heroes that can join your party as you cross paths with them and the plot unfolds. While there is a large ensemble of characters you can control and party up with, there’s hardly any time establishing why you should care for each one.
Every time a new character is introduced during cutscene or boss fight, the details about them are kept slim to shift focus onto the next story event. At the same time, there is some dialogue that never goes anywhere to progress the plot or give background about any character. It doesn’t help much when the voice acting for some characters can be very irritating, especially when they are complaining constantly during the main story.
Visually, Dragon Quest Heroes II is very colorful. The monsters you slay in bulk retain their original designs from previous Dragon Quest games, with a few that look just as silly as you remember. The environments you explore and battle in are varied with a wide combination of fields, swamps, mazes, and narrow corridors in dungeons. Some places you visit can feel empty depending on where you are in the story, but most of the time you will locations populated by large groups of monsters wandering around.
Fighting enemies and controlling your party in Dragon Quest Heroes II is similar to the previous Dragon Quest Heroes. There is a leveling and vocation system that increases as you slay enemies, which in turn unlocks skill points to purchase new moves and abilities. You can unleash combos and use special attacks with just a few button presses to wipe out large groups of enemies, as well as use various medals you find to summon friendly monsters to battle alongside you. What’s different this time are the number of enemies that appear on screen, the flashiness of the spells and attacks at your disposal, and the monster medals that briefly transform you into a monster with new attacks and abilities.
A huge bummer is the camera. You can only control the position of the camera view lightly, but you can’t zoom in or out of the action enough in some areas. Fighting larger monsters can be tough when their bodies can fully block you view of the battlefield, which often leads to taking massive damage or a quick death.
This is made worse in sections of the game where you need to battle against a large mob of enemies within a narrow area. In wide open spaces this doesn’t become an issue, but you’ll find yourself entering places during the story that have very little space to see everything in view clearly.
The multiplayer of Dragon Quest Heroes II is interesting. Multiplayer allows you to party up with up to four players online and participate in battles cooperatively. Other players can assist in completing story missions and side dungeons that yield more experience and items that you can use on characters. Online games run smooth with a full group of players even with a large number of enemies appearing during battle. More side dungeons open up as you complete objectives in the main story. Later missions open up different locations with better rewards, but also tougher enemies.
Dragon Quest Heroes II ends up being a mild improvement over its predecessor. The online multiplayer is good and contributes to the solo game while never being a necessity for completing the story. The action can get repetitive quickly and the camera can be tough to deal with in some cases. Ultimately, if you enjoy the franchise and liked playing through the first Dragon Quest Heroes, then you’ll enjoy Dragon Quest Heroes II just as much.
This review is based on a digital review code of Dragon Quest Heroes II for the PlayStation 4, provided by Square Enix.