Dragon Quest II: Luminaries of the Legendary Line

Square-Enix, in recent time, has been content with porting several installments of their chief Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest franchises to mobile devices, and while the latter series has somewhat struggled in North America, what with the lack of any announcements for a few years of localizations for its major releases such as a Nintendo 3DS remake of Dragon Quest VII, the company’s American branch regardless brought the mobile version of its first entry to Anglophone gamers in September. A month after the first game’s released, Square-Enix’s North American division localized the latest iteration of the franchise’s first sequel, titled Dragon Quest II: Luminaries of the Legendary Line, which provides an experience on par with its predecessor.

The second entry takes place a century after the first, with the descendants of the legendary hero Erdrick settling in lands outside Alefgard, the original title’s world, and establishing various kingdoms that their scion rule. When the game begins, the forces of the sorcerer Hargon obliterate Moonbrooke Castle, from which a surviving soldier travels to Midenhall Castle to inform of his homeland’s demise, with the first of the titular luminaries the player names receiving the quest to recruit the other two main luminaries, his cousins, into his crusade against Hargon and his minions. The story is actually fairly decent, with plenty ties to the first game despite occasional inconsistencies such as the town of Tantagel in the second being west of the Castle whereas in the first it was east of the fortress. The translation, though, is well above average, adopting its predecessor’s medieval milieu in spite of occasional Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe, but even so, the narrative helps the first sequel more than hurts.

The player begins the game’s many random encounters with solely the Prince of Midenhall against multiple enemies, a change from the first game’s one-on-one battles, with the first luminary being a pure physical character that can only attack and use items. Eventually, however, another luminary, the Prince of Cannock, a character with equal physical and magical capability, joins him, along with the Princess of Moonbrooke, who specializes in magical capability. Despite its simplicity, random turn order in many cases, and the potential for the last character’s most powerful weapon to be missable if the player battles a certain enemy with everyone’s inventory at maximum capacity (with no sack akin to future series entries), battles tend to be fast, and hardly serve as a detriment.

Control generally serves the second entry well too, in spite of the aforementioned limited inventory for each luminary, and occasional crashes (although in these cases, the player can load an autosave to get to the point where they were at before said crashes), and it’s also possible to complete the game without the assistance of a walkthrough, this reviewer, for instance, finding all five Sigils necessary to advancing the game without the use of the Echo Flute, and ultimately, interaction very much helps the first sequel more than hurts.

Koichi Sugiyama, furthermore, does a nice job as usual with the soundtrack, with notable tracks such as the sailing theme, “Beyond the Waves,” and the ending theme, “My Road, My Journey.” The sound effects, though, are primitive, and there is an occasional bug where the aforementioned sounds become inaudible, but even so, the music definitely serves the game well.

The same goes for the visuals, which resemble those from the original version of the sixth game and the Super Famicom remake of the third, although enemies in battle, in spite of Akira Toriyama’s typical nice designs, are still inanimate as they were in the first game’s latest iteration.

Finally, despite a vaster world to explore, the second entry is surprisingly short, with skilled gamers possibly able to finish in a little over eight hours, although more novice gamers might find themselves taking longer, around fifteen hours, with little to boost playing time beyond that range and replay value. Overall, Dragon Quest II is for the most part a solid sequel that hits most of the right notes, particularly with regards to its gameplay, control, narrative, soundtrack, and graphics, although there are some things that leave some room for improvement such as occasional missables, infrequent crashing, audio glitches, inanimate foes, and the lack of lasting appeal. Even so, the second entry for iOS devices is very much worth its $5 price tag.

The Good:
+Simple but solid combat.
+Great control.
+Good narrative and translation.
+Nice soundtrack.
+Polished visuals.

The Bad:
-Some rare missables.
-A few occasional aural glitches.
-Inanimate enemies.
-Little replay value.

The Bottom Line:
A great sequel worth the price.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: iOS
Game Mechanics: 8/10
Controls: 8/10
Story: 8/10
Localization: 9/10
Music/Sound: 8/10
Graphics: 7/10
Lasting Appeal: 6/10
Difficulty: Medium
Playing Time: 8-15 Hours

Overall: 7.5/10

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