A Random Happy Discovery: Dragon Quest Builders


Not to broadcast my age, but way back in ye olden days of the PS2, I happened to grab a copy of Dragon Quest VIII and give it a shot. I'd never touched a Dragon Quest (or Dragon Warrior). What happened next was over 120 recorded hours of game play that I still remember fondly to this day. The game was a masterpiece.

I know this isn't a popular stance to take, but I've never much cared for Minecraft. Don't get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for the game and its accomplishments. I'm not saying Minecraft isn't a phenomenal and groundbreaking achievement. It's simply that it never resonated with me. However, it did leave me longing to be able to enjoy what it had on offer.

Enter Dragon Quest Builders.

I love the art stylings of Akira Toriyama. Dragon Ball Z is one of my all-time favorites, including the art style. I was more than a little intrigued when I heard that Dragon Quest was going to explore the game play Minecraft had invented and mastered. Between that and the storytelling I knew the Dragon Quest universe capable of telling, I was more than a little excited.

I didn't grab the game right out of the gate, however. I've been let down by too many titles for that kind of blind faith. Thanks Final Fantasy XIII... Sorry, what? Oh! Right... we're talking about good games here. So yeah. I definitely didn't worry about it for a long time. I was pretty convinced no matter what the game was, it wouldn't be what I hoped it could.

My fears were fully unfounded...

I finally got my hands on this game a few weeks ago. To say I'm hooked is putting it lightly. I thought it would be repetitive. I was worried it would be too easy. I thought it would be too short. I'm so happy how wrong I was.

This game is so charming and so fun. The visuals are beyond adorable. The story is straightforward, but it doesn't make excuses for itself. The dialogue is cute and funny. I feel protective of my townspeople and my creations, swearing at monsters in the game knocking down my bedroom for the eighth time. For me, I really enjoy having missions driving me forward through the game. It gives me a sense of purpose and accomplishment when I'm asked to build an infirmary for the sick or an armory so people can defend themselves or a kitchen so they can eat. It's so satisfying to fulfill the blueprints one of the people you've rescued asks you to add to your humble town.

I've already finished it once. It took a solid amount of time and a lot of work, and it was fun the whole way. Honestly, I didn't expect much from the end. Like any classic RPG, it all culminated with a fight. I was prepared for some half-hearted attempt at an exciting altercation. I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself actually having to pay attention to what was going on, getting all mad and frustrated when the fight was surprisingly challenging. I had to give the game credit, they didn't get lazy at all.

I've already started a second play-through and it still isn't any less fun than the first time around. Admittedly, I am bummed there's no more story to get to enjoy for the first time all over again, and I genuinely hope there will be a sequel I get to play some day (I saw a trailer for a second game in Japan but I don't want to get my hopes up for a US release until I hear a real announcement).

Long story short, Dragon Quest Builders is amazing. It's everything I ever wanted out of Minecraft meshed beautifully with an RPG world that I, personally, adore. I'm beyond thrilled with how good it was and I'm probably going to go play it later today.

Thank you for joining me in my crazy world. What are some of your favorite video games that completely surpassed your negative expectations? Have you played Dragon Quest Builders? Would you?

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