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The Beginner’s Guide To Dragon’s Crown

by Joe Juba on Aug 06, 2013 at 12:38 PM

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Today marks the release of Dragon’s Crown, the latest title from Vanillaware, the developer behind Odin Sphere and Muramasa. The 2D fantasy brawler/RPG has been praised by many critics (including us), whipping fans of the genre into a fever pitch. You are probably eager to jump right in and start hacking away at orcs and wyverns, but taking the time to read these tips will ease your learning curve and remove frustration from the adventure.

Prepare for a grind
Though it follows many traditions set down by classic arcade brawlers, Dragon’s Crown is not a short game. Don’t expect to be finished in a single session; in order to level up, complete quests, and obtain necessary story items, you are expected to replay the nine levels (and their branching paths) multiple times. The repetition may be too much for some, but it isn’t unbearable as long as you know to expect it.

Pray and repair
Every time you are preparing to head out to battle, you should do two things in town. First, go to the magic shop and repair your characters’ items. Second, go to the temple and select “pray,” choosing one of the available prayers (they are all beneficial). These two steps should just be part of your routine whenever you are getting ready for a level. They aren’t expensive and don’t take much time, and they only make things better for you.

Don’t appraise everything
At the end of a stage, all of your spoils are grouped together, but you don’t get to see all of their stats. Instead, you need to pay money for an appraisal in order to see info like damage, armor, and other special abilities. However, if you appraise every single item, you’re going to waste a ton of money; you generally lose more money on the appraisal than you gain by selling an appraised item you don’t want. The trick is to look at the information the game gives you without an appraisal; weapon type, who can equip it, the minimum level required, and the rank (E through S) all show up free of charge. Using that data, you can decide whether or not an item is worth risking the appraisal. If it’s a low-rank item, you can probably just sell it and rake in the cash without worrying about learning its specific properties.

Evade and upgrade
With all of the cool abilities to buy, an upgrade to your evade skill may not seem that important. However, evading is crucial to getting out of bad situations. It is especially important for melee classes, but every player should integrate the evade command into their repertoire. When you meet the requirements, dropping some points into the skill (increasing the number of times you can evade consecutively) is a great idea and pays off big time.

Keep track of runes
Once you’ve been playing for a few stages, you unlock rune magic. This allows you to create special effects and buffs by using combinations of stones you purchase and carvings on the walls in the environments. By highlighting the three correct runes, you cast spells like “Power and Durability,” “Enchanted Coin Geyser,” and “Solomon’s Flying Carpet.” Each rune corresponds to the first letter of each word in the spell name, but the game doesn’t give you a list to reference when you’re playing through the level (though you can see a list in town). This results in a lot of trial and error, so save yourself some trouble and use the old pen-and-paper method to keep track of rune combinations for your reference.

Casters should specialize
If you’re playing a wizard or sorceress, you might be tempted to buy all of the spells available from the skill menu. Avoid that urge, and instead focus on buying and upgrading a smaller number of spells. Characters have limited inventory space, and these spells take up a bag slot. Once you equip your weapons and armor, you only have space for two or three spells, and you’re better off making sure those spells are as powerful and useful as possible.

Do quests early
For the first part of the game, one new quest opens up after each level. That quest sends you back into the level you just finished. While it may seem tedious to play the same level twice in a row, you’re better off not letting these quests pile up. You eventually reach a point when selecting which stage you want to play (as opposed to just being tossed into one randomly) costs you money, so take advantage of your window to play and replay these areas for quests while it’s still free.

Learn The Rules Of Co-op
Dragon’s Crown has four-player co-op, and it is a lot of fun. But it also has some strange restrictions about how and when you can connect with friends online. If you’re all playing locally on a single console, four people can play together right from the beginning. However, if you want to co-op with friends online, you need to play for several hours (basically until you’ve beaten all nine levels once) before you unlock the option. Also, even though the game is out on both PS3 and Vita, it doesn’t support cross-play. That means you can’t play with anyone who isn’t using the same console you are.