Dragon Quest II: Luminaries of the Legendary Line, known originally as Dragon Warrior II in the West, is now available on the Nintendo Switch allowing players to experience all the joys of non-stop random monster encounters on the go! The sequel to the sensational original Dragon Quest offers up at least double the gameplay of its predecessor, mostly due to the high volume of battles the player will undoubtedly encounter. Don’t even think about skipping battles either (assuming an enemy will even let you flee) otherwise you’ll be drastically under leveled for the next area and lacking money to purchase much-needed equipment.
The second game in the highly popular and long running series brings features that would become a mainstay for Dragon Quest titles going forward, such as party members with specific roles and some quality of life improvements like using the spell Zoom to choose the town you would like to fast travel to. Despite these improvements it’s extremely inaccessible in today’s video game climate.
Modern role-playing games have mostly done away with random monster encounters with many ports of earlier games giving players the option to turn them off altogether or speed through battles with a time multiplier. None of these options are available in this version of Dragon Quest II.
Yes, the original Dragon Quest has its fair share of battles, but each battle only contains one monster so they end fairly quickly even without a time multiplier. The first game can be finished in about 5 hours if you know what you’re doing and I feel like the second installment would have clocked in around the same had I not spent so much time in battles.
There’s not a lot of story direction either. Don’t expect the game to always tell you where to go or what to do, which means you’ll be walking back and forth between towns and dungeons looking for clues as to where to go next and – you guessed it – fight an insane amount of monsters along the way.
The story is exactly what you would expect from a Dragon Quest game with it being the most vanilla JRPG out there. It was super cool that this game follows up the original as a sequel with the heroes being descendants of the original hero. Series staples like the Luminary and a wider variety of monsters make their appearances here. There’s even the first bunny girl!
It’s not all bad though. As someone who’s used to playing older JRPGs I came into the game knowing what I was getting into. But that doesn’t mean I want to spend all my time fighting monsters anymore. Square Enix obviously knows this as they added ways to alleviate random battles in their other mega popular franchise, Final Fantasy, which gives players the options to increase the game’s speed and turn off random encounters in recent ports. I know that Dragon Quest is a series that’s renowned for its ability to stay consistent for so long, but having these kinds of options would allow for new players to discover the roots of such a great part of gaming culture.
Like Dragon Quest and Dragon Quest III for the Switch, Dragon Quest II is a port of the mobile version of the game, which has updated graphics as opposed to the original NES version. All of the monster designs have been redrawn to look more pleasing on the eyes and the music is a much higher quality than the original.
The Switch is probably the best way to play this title as it offers portability and buttons, unlike playing on a phone’s touchscreen. Chipping away at this game while on breaks or commuting is a fun experience because it thankfully has a quick save feature.
Dragon Quest II is not a bad game. It’s a product of its time where this was the norm for the genre. Like I said in my review of the original game, it’s like playing a piece of gaming history. It’s amazing to see how much it really has stayed the same and what things have changed for the better. If you’re a glutton for old school JRPGs like I am then you’ll no doubt squeeze a bit of fun out of this one. But, if not then you might want to save your sanity and skip what’s essentially 15 hours of monster battles.
- Graphics - 8/108/10
- Sound - 8/108/10
- Gameplay - 6/106/10
- Lasting Appeal - 6/106/10
Final Thoughts: GOOD
Although there’s more game here than the original most of it will be spent mindlessly pressing the A button through endless monster encounters in a never-ending grind for money and experience. Play Dragon Quest II if you’re down for that and not much else.