George Kamitani, Founder of Vanillaware, had ambitions of making a game for fifteen years, in that time he pitched it to various studios that turned it down and pretty much had to establish a development team just to see his vision through, and now in 2013, after a long, complicated struggle to see it happen, that vision has been made into the reality we know as Dragon’s Crown. I hope Kamitani is happy with it, because I sure am.


Depending on your attitude, the story may strike you as either deliberately traditional or painfully generic, you’re an adventurer, and you go on adventures in the name of the princess or something. In truth the story is there to give you context for your adventuring, but may be a bit too intrusive for how inconsequential it seems on the outset. Still if you approached with the right mindset then there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find yourself engaged by it. But at the same time, you could probably tune it out altogether and be no worse for wear.


In terms of the game’s presentation, if you’re familiar with Vanillaware, than you’ll have a good idea of what to expect, have said that, I don’t think I can overstate how beautiful this game looks. Vanillaware, with their extravagant attention to detail, have spared no expense in the effort to making this game stand out. Everything from the multi-section character sprites to the weapon designs are visually stunning, and while the enemies look great as well, the gigantic bosses steal the show, and watching the game in motion is a sight to behold. The music and voice acting on the other hand don’t leave as much of an impression, but considering the rest of the experience is so visually well-realized, that’s easily forgiven.


Also there’s some mature content that might rub people the wrong way.


As far as the gameplay is concerned, it’s also a familiar product of Vanillaware; simple, easy-to-grasp controls, and wonderfully balanced mechanics that make for a game that, above all else, is simply fun to play. Dragon’s Crown is essentially a dungeon-crawler with a well implemented 2-D brawler format and loot system. Each of the game’s six classes; Fighter, Amazon, Elf, Dwarf, Wizard and Sorceress, follow a familiar template, but each approach combat with their own methods of taking control of the battlefield. While I do wish the game encouraged playing solo more, being able to recruit new teammates by resurrecting their corpses is a neat idea, and building a team that works well together can mean all the difference between triumph and failure. And when triumph is achieved, you’re rewarded with EXP, Skill point and the like, as well as loot you can choose to simply discard, or have appraised at a nominal fee. It certainly makes more sense to appraise the high-grade loot on the surface, but I found it a bit too difficult to just let my treasure go without knowing what it was first. Your experience may differ, but in short, the risk-reward loot system works great.


If there’s any issue I take with the game, is that while it is playable on both PS3 band Vita, both versions have to be purchased separately. I’d like to think I’m not so privileged that I feel entitled to both versions for one price, but it’s still fairly disappointing considering it runs counter to Sony’s Cross-Buy initiative. But that doesn’t mean I won’t buy both versions. Because this game is just as playable on both platforms, and helps to necessitate both long and short play sessions, both of which the game is well acquainted to.


I’ll admit I’m generous when it comes to giving my opinion on games, and my view on this game may be a bit more flattering than it probably deserves, but Dragon’s Crown got to me, not just with it’s wonderful presentation and gameplay, but also as a testament to one man’s ambition to make the game he wanted to make, and after almost two decade of trying, finally seeing it happen. I respect that, and I my opinion, the game is all the better because of it.