Dragon Quest Builders 2 review: Building on success

The three-decade-old Dragon Quest franchise loves its traditions. While Final Fantasy has never been afraid to depart from its roots, there are big parts of Dragon Quest XI that are directly drawn from the very first Dragon Quest NES game from 1986.

So when 2016’s Dragon Quest Builders successfully combined the art, story, and general aesthetic with the open-world Lego-style building of Minecraft (itself seven years old at the time), it was paradoxically fresh. The games share exploration, crafting, and an intentional retro streak, and those elements formed the foundation of a short, sometimes limited, but ultimately entertaining game.

The game did well enough to make Dragon Quest Builders 2 a thing, and it’s a game that does what good sequels do. It gives you more of what its predecessor did well—both in that it is literally more content in the same style, but also in that the game is slightly larger and more ambitious in scope—while improving the core gameplay and jettisoning stuff that didn’t work. Builders 2 is fun enough, flexible enough, and charismatic enough to be fun even for people with zero knowledge of the source material.

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