Wow, it seems like 2013 was only yesterday when Atlus was kind enough to send over a review copy of Dragon’s Crown for PlayStation 3. I immediately fell in love with the old-school gameplay, amazing soundtrack, and awesome spells/attacks you could pull off. I also came to have a love/hate relationship with the artstyle as most of it was simply amazing at the time while other parts were…a bit much.
Still, I was more than excited when I learned it would return on the PlayStation 4 in Dragon’s Crown Pro, which feels exactly like a ‘pro edition’ with all sorts of sweet additions that definitely show off its royalty.
I’m glad Atlus and Vanillaware decided to bring this game back for a new generation of players to check out. There’s not much in the way of a story outside everyone and their mom and dad trying to get their hands on the famed Dragon’s Crown, a magic artifact that’s supposed to grant its wearer the power to control a great dragon and pretty much rule the world. You play as an adventurer in the land of Hydeland who is soon caught up in royal family drama not long after arriving in town, and must set out to find this fabled crown in order to help the royal family and bring peace to Hydeland and the world. As any game player knows, this won’t be easy as Orcs, goblins, giant monsters, wizards, vampires, and any other mythical, magical creatures you can think of will be standing in your way.
This action RPG plays a lot like the 2D, side-scrolling beat-em-ups of old, reminding me heavily of Capcom’s Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom and Shadow over Mystara from the mid-90s. This game ups the RPG level up a few notches though with equipment upgrades, repairing gear, naming your character, and more. One of the coolest things I love about this title is that you don’t have to play alone as you’ll come across piles of bones during your adventures that you can take back to the church where a monk can resurrect the bones into a companion. Even better is that up to four people can play at a time (your character and three others), so you can have three AI-controlled companions helping you out when needed. This is made even better with local and online co-op which makes for some of the best gaming you can have on your couch.
There’s also been some other improved goodies added to the mix, starting with the updated, 4K visuals that already looked amazing on the PS3. Now all of the artwork, background, and fluid animations look and move even better than ever. Speaking of the artwork, as I mentioned earlier, most of it is perfect. But some will have issues with the way the sorceress and amazon are drawn and animated. George Kamitani, creator of the game and characters even admitted that he loves busty, big butt ladies and it shows in droves. While I just roll my eyes and chuckle whenever I see the two ladies running with everything flopping everywhere, others will either love them or not care for them.
As if the audio needed any improving, the soundtrack has also been redone with a full orchestra which somehow makes everything sound even better. I absolutely loved the soundtrack when I played it back in 2013, and now I’m falling in love with it all over again with this new revision.
Another added bonus for those who still play the game on the PS3 and Vita will be more than happy to know that your old saves will work on this release, and you can cross-play online between all three platforms. That’s right – when you’re playing online with others, they can be playing on their Vita or PS3 with you on the PS4, and so on. This is something special and revolutionary that I can only hope will happen to more games in the future.
Being a hardcore fantasy and beat-em-up fan, I can’t recommend Dragon’s Crown Pro enough as it’s one of my new favorites. It may not have an epic story, or structurally sound female characters (outside the awesome elf who is one of my favs), but it does have great visuals, an awesome soundtrack, and some sweet offline and online co-op that deserves to be crowned and reign somewhere in your collection.