It’s about damn time I reviewed Dragon’s Crown in all of its side-scrolling beat-em-up glory. The, ah, controversy surrounding the art style is hardly as fun as playing the damn game. I’m certain I’m not alone in saying that Vanillaware is the video game company that you can trust in this modern age of shitty sequels and uninspired roguelike indies. Between the gorgeous hand-drawn artwork and the rewarding quest system (and the food porn, damn you all), Dragon’s Crown is basically the king of beat-em-ups at this point in time. The plot is short enough to condense into a paragraph, so after that, I’ll just ramble about the classes, I suppose.
You are an adventurer. You come into town lookin’ to score a position in the Adventurers’ Guild and score in turn some gold, skill points, and awesome artwork by completing quests. After some tutorial-level shenanigans, you’re enlisted by the nobles of Hydeland to return some precious artifacts, which then segues into you discovering that an ancient dragon is soon going to awaken, claim dominion over all magic, and then devour the world. Your destiny is to collect talismans from the nine secondary bosses of each stage and then open a gate to the Ancient Dragon and murder it dead.
*cough* once for each difficulty *cough*
What was that? I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you over the sound of you getting your ass kicked on Infernal difficulty. The elite enemies are true. Ever heard of stunlock? Anyway, as promised, I’ll explain the characters to you.
Babyface Fighter is your standard DPS tank, excellent at handling crowds and laying down the defensive tactics when things get dire. He is a human helicopter in that you can just button mash and send his sword into an epileptic fury of ass-shaving destruction. Literally. Save for the ass-shaving part; he shaves limbs off more often than hair. Between auto-blocking shield gimmicks and excellent air and ground combos, Fighter is an excellent entry-level character.
Muscly Amazon is a little confusing, in that she’s capable of dealing ridiculous damage after dealing almost-ridiculous damage while hurting herself. What confuses me is that she’s actually pretty squishy for a melee character, and yet her kit relies on her being at low health. Don’t get me wrong, her axe becomes a planet-cracker once she’s riding the pixel-HP bar, but damn if it isn’t a gamble. Sure, you can buzz-saw through the Ancient Dragon’s life like an industrial tool with a firm, toned ass, but if you so much as find yourself staggered, you dead gurl.
Shaggy Wizard excels at offensive spells, or so the game would have you believe. He’s got a pretty damn nice set of spells to toss at enemies, most of which cause knockback, status effects, and/or instant death. There are a few spells that are neat but goofy, however: Extinction instantly kills a single non-boss enemy. Considering how many enemies there are… Nah. Meteor Shower deals tens of thousands of blazing apocalyptic damage, but it takes twenty some odd seconds to cast. Some enemies can’t be staggered or stunned once they begin attack animations. See the problem? Finally, the wood golem. Fuck yes, wood golem. Put all your skill points in that and have a giant treebro rustle your enemies to their cores. Damage sponge, knockback spam, flips the fuck out whilst on fire subsequently murdering everyone… why wouldn’t you?
Jiggly Sorceress is the reason why I say Dragon’s Crown is the boobiest game I’ve ever played. Her spells are primarily support and utility, like summoning food and stage hazards, but don’t let that make you think she’s only good in a booby-helpy role. She can drop boulders on people, toss lightning around the room like used tissues, and summon a skeleton army. Skeletons that heal when she eats food. Do you see what I’m saying? You can minion-spam while safely casting spells and sustaining everyone. PFSH, who needs allies when you have bonebros, am I right? Yes, I am.
Stumpy Dwarf is a cheating son of a bitch. He can pick up enemies and slam them into other enemies, which in turn causes them to smash into other enemies. Everything he does makes people die. On top of that, he gets extra unarmed damage, an at-will defense buff, and the ability to completely ignore damage below a certain threshold. If you want to powerplay, please select the Dwarf and proceed to throw your allies around while in town. They’ll love it. Listen, you can already hear them laughing and loving your sense of humor.
Finally, the Archest Elf. Not just archer, you see. This adorably deadly lass is anti-enemy incarnate once you get her into the higher levels and slap on multi-shot and charge damage. Applying elemental damage to her arrows causes DoT fields when used in charge attacks, so you can imagine why multishot comes in handy when facing off against larger enemies like bosses. You know what they say, right? Big enemy, big hitbox. And when you fill the field with burning/toxic death… Oh, yeah, and she can pull knives out of her pants and deal backstab damage. Definitely reliant on utility skills, though. Rack up the dodge and extra item uses, people! Don’t neglect your arrow count!
The Edge finds that it’s hard to get over the fact that Dragon’s Crown is the boobiest game. It’s a little presumptuous to call the exaggerated anatomy for both sexes objectification of women specifically, but that’s completely okay, I was startled by the Sorceress at first too. Still, it’s hard to find a review that dislikes Dragon’s Crown’s actual gameplay. This isn’t one of them! Hoo hoo: http://www.edge-online.com/review/dragons-crown-review/