Thursday, March 22, 2012
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 - Review
Ever since the release of Pokemon Red and Blue, there have been several attempts to cash in on the whole "monster collecting" thing with games like Monster Rancher and Robopon. The Dragon Quest Monster series is no exception, although it has done a lot to establish itself as slightly more than a standard Pokemon clone. For one, it takes place in the Dragon Quest universe, one of the most popular series of all time; that's got to help its cred a little bit at least. Also one thing that helps is the fact that the Dragon Quest Monsters games (formerly Dragon Warrior Monsters) are actually pretty solid, including this installment for the DS.
Well...it's mostly solid. I'll just come out and say it right now: the story is terrible. The game has the most paper-thin plot I've seen in a long time and I found myself rushing through the dialogue as fast as I could. But that's not what these kinds of games are about. Monster collecting games are all about the gameplay. And the gameplay is quite good; you, as a monster scout, traverse your way through several stages and collect monsters while eventually unlocking breeding (now called synthesizing) which gets you stronger monsters and so on and on. It's nothing special, but hey, it works.
The main game ranges from about 20-25 hours of game time; however, there are dozens and dozens of hours of post-game sidequests and various things to do so you'll be sure to get your money's worth. This is bolstered by the impressive 300+ monsters there are to capture/synthesize as well as the multiplayer battle mode.
Sadly, like I mentioned earlier, the story is awful, as is a lot of the music. There are some familiar themes from other DQM games which is a nice touch, but a lot of the music is simply pretty atonal and irritating. The graphics are nice, especially considering the dubious 3D of the DS, but the real diamond here is the gameplay. Some of the monster combinations are long and branching, taking a long time to acquire, but the sense of balance is much more realized here than on previous DQM games. Overall, it's an above average game. Is it as good as Pokemon's newest outing? No; however it's a solid time-waster, but only if you're into the whole "monster collecting" thing.