Back in the year 2013, an intrepid group of adventurers met in a tavern… They discover that there is a lot that they can to for this country for it is in turmoil; the king’s brother is trying to usurp the throne and the king is missing on a quest of his own searching for the Dragon’s Crown… Together your small ragtag gang of adventurers decide to see what you can do to help the area… Will you find the king and will your hold the Dragon’s Crown? Now in 2018, the land is in trouble again. Can you help?
Dragon’s Crown Pro is literally a direct port of the same game that was released for PSVita and PS3, except it now boasts impressive 4K graphics (Similar to VanillaWare’s other titles on PS4, such as Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir), and is ready to play on your big screen TV. The port isn’t the best in the world, however, as it has issues that are obvious to me every time I boot up the game. It features an intro sequence where the first shot is of a dragon moving behind the game’s logo. Unfortunately, this shot lags to all fuck, it’s cause is most likely due to the image not being upscaled properly, but on a PS4 Pro this may not happen.
Stepping past the rocky start, the game is a classic 2D, action and adventure hack & slash, and features the same characters to the previous versions of the game. There are 6 of them and you can choose any one of them to take on your adventure as you please (A big difference to the linear style of Odin Sphere). Each class has different styles, ranging from ranged to magic to cold hard steel. The difficulty is also based on the class chosen, so a sorcerous character can be harder to play than a dwarf. And typical of the genre of JRPGs the art style is fitting, being entirely hand drawn in style, as is to be expected with the quality of VanillaWare games.
One of the features of the game is that you can control other characters by moving a cursor across the screen to be able to unlock chests and doors to access extra areas or to unlock treasure chests to get a score boost. On the PSVita this was done on the touchscreen by tapping directly where you wanted with your finger, whereas on the PS3, this was done by moving the right stick around and pressing a button to select the item. Now on the PS4, there is a mix of both. The cursor can either be moved by the right analogue stick or can be moved by pushing your thumb around on the touchpad with the selection being done by clicking the touchpad. This feels like a natural way to control the cursor within the game. Otherwise, this would make a lot of sense on PC.
While playing the game you have the option to either take a group of friends with you as the game includes drop-in/out multiplayer. If you’re like me and have no friends, you can fill out your party with in-game NPCs. These NPCs would normally be added to your party after you find their bones within one of the levels that you’re playing and resurrecting them. They can then be added to your party from within the tavern. The party also has the choice to be filled out using members of the guild.
The downside of all of this though is that things can become very confusing while playing. Imagine this, on the screen, there are representations of you, your party (Up to 3 other members), the thief follower, multiple enemies and a boss. This can be a lot of content to focus on and it makes it very easy to be able to lose track of where you are as all there is making you out from the other characters is a colour difference on some subtle clothing. I never played the game on the PSVita but if I’m struggling on a big TV then I would have hated playing on the Vita.
As you play through the story of the game, more levels are unlocked which unlock more bosses. The game is not huge though, it doesn’t feature a huge number of dungeons so it features a side quest system called requests. These are things that invite you to go through previous levels again to try and get a better score than the previous time and get a deeper understanding of various parts of the story. These quests are picked up at the guild. At the end of the level, your score is added to your XP and which pushes you towards the level up rather than it happening mid-level.
When you have levelled up, the game gives you the ability to unlock special abilities. There are two types. Abilities that are directly connected to your character type that only they can use or general abilities that can be unlocked by any character. These normally range from reducing the cooldown of effects and prolonging other things like death with the amount of health you have.
Finally, we come to another issue of framerate not being smooth and this time it’s at a time where I want to be sitting back thinking “Fuck yeah, I did it” rather than “This looks shit”. In the majority of the levels that I played, I experienced a lag of frame rate when I defeated the boss. The game tries to produce a load of extra content on the screen to make your win glorious. On the PS4 Pro it might be a bit better as it has more power, but on an original PS4, it does struggle again.
Despite the framerate issues, this is a good game that I enjoyed playing. Some of the 2D animations are a little weird but it just adds to the feel of the game. If you’re someone who played this game before and has a burning desire to play it again I’d say go ahead, it will satisfy your desire. Likewise if you’re a fan of VanillaWare games. If you haven’t played it before, however, I would say maybe have a look at the game on the PS3 or Vita; it will probably be a little cheaper.
Overall Im going to rate this a 6.8/10
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