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Matters of Import: Dragon Quest Monsters 2 Shows Us How Remakes Should Be Done

Posted by Kerry Brunskill

A monster masterpiece

Iru and Luca’s (or Tara and Cobi’s, if you prefer) adventure first graced the world with its presence thirteen years ago on the Game Boy Color, had a very brief fling with the PlayStation (Japan only, of course) in 2002, and then lay dormant for over a decade before Square Enix dusted it off and gave it an excellent modern 3DS remake, recently launched in Japan.

The first thing that you’ll notice is that the game doesn't support the 3DS console's 3D effect at all. It also leaves the lower screen completely blank during cutscenes and at any other time it’s used for nothing more than displaying menus or maps, both of which have very limited touchscreen functionality.

The second thing you'll notice is that you won't care in the slightest, as the reason for these missing features is down to the development team focusing on making what they do show as impressive as possible, and the game does not disappoint in the slightest. Sweeping vistas, enormous monsters roaming across fields that are already littered with smaller creatures and scenery, expressive and well animated... everythings make Dragon Quest Monsters 2 a visual treat for even the most JRPG-weary gamer. This attention to detail even goes down to monster placement on the field – in just a few hours you'll have noticed that caterpillars only like hanging out in the long grass, slimes enjoy cooling off in a little pool and you'll even seen an octopus chase a starfish, kill it, and then wander back into the water feeling quite pleased with itself. The game doesn't just feel special when it’s showing you fancy set pieces or wide shots of the local landscape, but these small flourishes all come together to create a world that doesn’t just do interesting things when you're getting on with the story the writers wanted to show you.

Iru and Luca’s adventure is thankfully combined onto a single cart this time, both a boon for completionist gamers as well as a simple way of avoiding the lazy “Oh, so this is Enix doing Pokémon?” accusations that certain people threw into conversation the first time around. Getting started is straightforward, with the tutorial section at the beginning being helpful without being tediously restrictive for those of us who long ago worked out that you select "attack" if you want to hit things. The game soon cuts you loose, free to roam as far as you can go while hunting for hidden items or persuading as many monsters as possible to join your team – but it doesn't leave you without help if you want it, as there’s a very handy encyclopaedia accessible at any time that allows you to look up everything about everything, leaving it up to players to decide whether they want to ignore all elements other than the plot or dive deep into the game’s skill point system.

Skill points are occasionally awarded when a monster levels up, and can be invested in any skill set available to that particular creature. These skill sets all lean towards a particular areas – some favour stat boosts above all else, some focus more on techniques, while another might offer big MP increases – always a welcome bit of help on a support-type monster!

While we're on the subject of monster battling, it’s worth mentioning that Dragon Quest Monsters 2 does a fantastic job of cutting through the menu-clicking without actually removing any control from the player. The standard “Attack” option by default sends everyone off to hit whatever’s in front of them; but what if you'd like one character to hold back and heal, or save your MP for later? You can do that too, via a set of general AI commands that affect each individual monsters behaviour in battle — and if that’s not enough, there is of course the option to select every attack and every target by hand if you prefer total control of the fight. The ability to mix and match these different levels of control during a battle means you're never stuck with the tedium of mashing attack over and over and over if you want/need to gain a few extra levels, but it also means that if you're unfortunate enough to wander into a pack of extremely tough adversaries you aren't left with the desire to hurl your 3DS into a meat grinder as the AI continues mindlessly with the “hit things but conserve MP” routine you set up for the regular trash, either.

If you find yourself in need of a break from the main adventure, Square Enix has thoughtfully included online player battles, too. This can be done at any point in the adventure with whatever team you have to hand, although judging by the competition we faced we strongly recommend waiting until you've finished the game before really diving in. We can at least say that matchmaking was quick and stable, and the only issues we came away with after a few online bouts was with the make-up of our own team rather than the infrastructure itself.

Whether you’re a long-time fan of Dragon Quest or someone simply after a new RPG to play, Dragon Quest Monsters 2 manages to be both a fan-pleasing remake and a most excellent adventure in its own right. Let's hope that it gets a western release.

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User Comments (26)

Kaze_Memaryu

#1

Kaze_Memaryu said:

That's SquareEnix for you: if it wasn't famous the first time around, it's not worth milking it...

PrincessEevee9

#2

PrincessEevee9 said:

Misleading title why you do this? ; n; I thought finally instead of screwing fans SquareEnix would finally listen to fans and port the games.

unrandomsam

#5

unrandomsam said:

I think Castlevania : The Adventure Rebirth is how remakes should be done.

Not sure about this. (Not bothered about Pokemon type games).

The Super Famicom version of Dragon Quest III looks like a really good remake.

A text heavy import is not something I could do but I am glad to know about these "Matters of Import". (Even simply because the chance of it being released in English is basically zero if nobody knows about it).

PrincessEevee9

#6

PrincessEevee9 said:

@unrandomsam It stands a chance because the series as a whole is still remotely popular just not to Square's absurd projections. At least that's what I believe and hope.

Weedy

#7

Weedy said:

Did I miss something? Why are they not exporting the DQ games at the moment, DQIX was a success, right?!

Dpishere

#8

Dpishere said:

Seeing this makes me want the game even more! Though it would be a miracle I really hope they bring it to NA.

Volmun

#9

Volmun said:

Lol the perple dragon behind the charicter looks like Ridle from Metroid

ueI

#10

ueI said:

I've never played a Dragon Quest Monsters game, but I'll consider the 3DS ones if they're ever localized. I wouldn't want to start with any but the best.

unrandomsam

#11

unrandomsam said:

@PrincessEevee9 It would be the first time one had been released in English twice as far as I know. I am more bothered about VII or VIII (Don't think me wanting it will make the slightest bit of difference though).

Dpullam

#12

Dpullam said:

This game is looking pretty darn good if you ask me. I just hope that it someday reaches the shores of North America since I would be very interested in picking this up. Fingers crossed!

Kirk

#13

Kirk said:

I must admit; this does looks pretty polished.

Somewhat ironically; this game even manages real-time shadows on the characters which SE didn't manage with Dragon Quest X on Wii. To me that just shows how little effort went into genuinely polishing that Wii game.

It's the little things.

Player4

#14

Player4 said:

I still have little faith left of seeing a Dragon Quest game in the west. Bravely Default got localised, so why not a Dragon Quest? 😁

Also, this game looks so goooooood, I reallyreallyreally want it

Nintendo_Ninja

#15

Nintendo_Ninja said:

I've said it once and I'll say it again. If this isn't localized in North America, then I'll kill the president of Square Enix. I NEED THIS GAME SO BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Geonjaha

#16

Geonjaha said:

The lack of 3D is very disappointing to me, but then again, this is still a great remake of my favourite GBC game - so I'm wishing it comes out over here. C'mon Sqeenix - be cool for once. :(

Gold

#17

Gold said:

I would import a JPN 3DS if I had the money. I would import all the 3DS Dragon Quest's and that's it. Nothing else interests me. (Kirby 3D is coming May 2, so not that long of a wait). Also, Japan needs to share.

Sgt_Unreal

#18

Sgt_Unreal said:

I would buy a 3DS DW Monsters 2 bundle on launch day if it was released here in the states..

River3636

#19

River3636 said:

I want all DQs. They are my favorite. What happened to 7 I thought they were going to release that one. I am praying to the enix gods for some DQ 10 wii u as well.

Dragonquester

#20

Dragonquester said:

I really hope these 3DS and Wii U DragonQuest games get western releases soon. Japan have got what? This, Terry's Wonderland and DQ7 on 3DS, and DQX Wii U. Hopefully we'll get some if not all of these games soon. If they can release Bravely Default, a relatively unknown brand compared to DragonQuest, in the west, I can't see why we won't see more DragonQuest eventually.
Anyway, this game looks great even if it is a remake.

LordGeovanni

#22

LordGeovanni said:

@Weedy
SE didn't actually bring DQIX over. Nintendo stepped in to bring it over. That is why you saw such a large amount of advertisements everywhere - Nintendo wanted to show that DQ was not dead in the NA and PAL regions.

With that said, it means that Squareenix has skipped on the localization of DQ IX, DQ VII (3DS), DQM (Terry), DQM2 (3DS), DQX, DQ Battle, and DQHeroes 3 (the Rocket Slime series). I may be missing another, but even if I am not, it is getting disappointing...

And for anyone mentioning Bravely Default, just consider that it is more of a neo-Final Fantasy. It has Final Fantasy elements without the Final Fantasy name that has recently been dragged through the mud. Since X, Final Fantasy has had two MMORPG, FFXII (known as a waste for several reasons, especially a focus character that apparently had no purpose in the game), and FFXIII (and sequels) that was described as a "$50 movie ticket" due to a lack of exploration through most the game. While I am quite happy with the games like Bravely Default, I still consider them to be a Final Fantasy game.

The difference is that the Dragon Quest games are being ignored even if these "neo-Final Fantasys" are not...

KittenKoder

#23

KittenKoder said:

@LordGeovanni FFXII was not an MMORPG, it was an active time RPG with full character immersion, basically FFVI with more focus on the world exploration. Bravely Default is what Final Fantasy was suppose to be, a new game with each new version, not the same old. FFXII was the only FF that could be called "new" after FFVI.

DQ has had a ton of turmoil in the past, it started off with the name "Dragon Warrior" but some issues with that title forced them to change it, which lost a lot of fans of the original for a while before they even realized the series was just under a new name. However, after fixing that issue, Sqeenix just didn't seem to care about the series, which is sad. I like the series.

LordGeovanni

#24

LordGeovanni said:

@KittenKoder
First, I was making a list. There was not a colon after that thought. The two MMORPGs referenced were FFXI and FFXIV. I am well aware of the make-up of FFXII. It also had a character (Vaan) that was not really needed in the story and the fandom had some backlash over that. Bravely Default being "what a Final Fantasy was suppose to be" is the reason why I called it a neo-Final Fantasy.

As for DQ being Dragon Warrior, I am also familiar with that. Dragon Warrior is what I grew up with. The fact that DWVII came out in 2000 and the next game was DQVIII where multiple things were heavily shaken did sway me away from the series. I still hate DQVIII to this day because of the rigid stance on what the characters could learn and the "new" names for the spells. Your belief that "Dragon Warrior" was the original name is actually false, however. The game was always Dragon Quest. It was only in the NA region (and possibly PAL?) that it had to take the name "Dragon Warrior" due to a patent preventing "Dragon Quest". The bigger issues with the fandom were not the fact that the name changed but that so many crucial icons of the games were changed and/or removed. Spells changed their names. Monsters changed their names. Between that and the fact that there was a SIX year wait before another DQ game was made (2006 for DQVIII), lead many to stop interest in the series.

There is also a claim that DQ games don't sell well in the NA and PAL regions, however it is the same issue with Ubisoft and EA not supporting the WII U and then claiming that the games don't sell - SE has NEVER supported their (DQ) games enough for them to sell well.

LordGeovanni

#26

LordGeovanni said:

@KittenKoder

Alright, I usually leave anything for "everyone" or just in general before the names for people to avoid seeming like I am only replying. Sorry about that.

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