Sometimes while browsing the internet you see an artist show their interpretation of a famous piece of art, be it their own version of the Great Wave of Okinawa but with Pikachu catching that mad wave. Does adding the Pokemon to this classic Japanese painting make the ‘new’ version better? Who knows. Does it beckon the question, “why?” I would hope so. With each year we get bombarded with waves of HD releases of classic games and it used to be where the games were just upscaled versions of the originals. But now we exist in a world where we have full on new models and bigger changes from the past to the present, ala Spyro Reignited.
Dragon’s Crown Pro isn’t much more of a re-release than it is an updated version of the original Dragon’s Crown. If anything, the biggest changes to the game aren’t to the new edition, but to the PS3 and PS Vita versions. The last generation gets an update that achieves two major things: allowing multiplayer with the PS4 edition and an updated OST. The PS4 version just gets the new OST and a ‘4K’ mode.
Dragon’s Crown Pro plays like the old arcade Dungeons and Dragons beat ‘em ups. You and three friends party up and go take on quests that consist of “find x” and “kill x”. In my group I was the small stout dwarf character that would toss enemies into the arrows of the elf archer, which would then bounce them into our ice mage’s tower, and eventually let them end up in flames on the ground no thanks to our beautiful fire mage. All four of us went through plenty of missions, mashing X to get through to the next convoluted plot point, gathering loot, laughing and having an amazing time. At the end of each mission the loot we find along the way is deciphered or “revealed” to us. This means that we get to see the stats of whatever item we find. We have to pay to own it, of course, but then we end up selling most of our other junk, making back most of the gold we threw into the garbage bin.
You know how people say that friendship is everything? This game is the best example of that. I found the multiplayer interplay in the game to be vastly more enjoyable than running through the same levels solo. Though not as successful, the single player mode can still provide some of that group experience. If we decide to take the dungeons alone we can revive piles of bones we find throughout our quests and they will follow us around and help us during future endeavours. The AI isn’t horrible, but it just doesn’t quite feel as good as having a friend who is fallible and will undoubtedly miss an attack or “accidentally” light you on fire.
The beautiful aesthetic and soundtrack seems to go to waste with Dragon’s Crown Pro. Vanillaware, the studio behind the game, is one of my favorites. Their gorgeous hand drawn visuals are eye popping and really give each game they put out a unique feel, but this time around, from a substantial upgrade perspective, it feels like a lackluster attempt. The core gameplay is exactly the same and apparently I’m not that big of a fan.
Is it fun to play with your friends? Yes.
Does it suck that you have to get to level 16 solo before you unlock online? Yes, it sure does.
On the scale of The Great Wave of Okinawa ft. Pikachu to Spyro Reignited, Dragon’s Crown Pro falls in that weird in between place where it’s NOT offensively bad but there’s also no reason for it to exist. If a friend of yours has the game on PS4 and wants to play, just buy the PS3 version for super cheap. Or, maybe you still have it from it’s appearance on PS+ a few years back. There’s no reason to buy another copy of essentially the same game,which is a huge bummer. Dragon’s Crown Pro is rightfully definitive. It’s a definitive example of a “buy it used and play it over the weekend, then return it to Gamestop the following monday” game.
This review is based on a PSN code for the game sent to the reviewer by the Publisher.