Dragon Quest Heroes II

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Dragon Quest Heroes II Game Poster Image
Accessible action adventure has enjoyable fantasy battles.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Standard good vs. evil tale, limited by constant focus on combat.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You play two cousins, Lazarel and Teresa (male and female), tackling battles, solving puzzles. You can also play cooperatively with up to three online friends. You don't get to know your characters too much, but they seem honorable, noble, brave.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to play.

Violence

Players use swords, magic attacks to destroy thousands of enemies. One enemy is called "Bloody Hand," a disembodied hand dripping with what looks like blood.
 

Sex

Some female characters wear revealing clothing, including low-cut tops that expose large amounts of cleavage, and short shorts. In one nonplayable cut-scene sequence, camera lingers on a character's bikini top as she complains of being cold.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dragon Quest Heroes II is an action-heavy role-playing game (RPG). Players use a sword,  as well as other weapons, including magic attacks, such as tossing fireballs or shooting energy blasts at enemies big and small. There are cries of pain and a little blood in one or two scenes. The women are often dressed suggestively, with low-cut tops that reveal cleavage, or they wear very short shorts or skirts. In one scene, a camera lingers on a women's bikini top as she complains about the cold.

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What's it about?

In DRAGON QUEST HEROES II, players are introduced to young male and female cousins who band together to stop a demon from starting a war between seven kingdoms, which is already beginning to tear apart these once-peaceful lands. This third-person title fuses the hack-and-slash combat of Koei Tecmo's Dynasty Warriors series of video games with Square Enix's Dragon Quest universe. While there are some role-playing game (RPG) elements -- such as traveling with a party of specialized characters, leveling up, and collecting items (like treasure) -- the game features hack-and-slash melee action and some magic attacks to destroy enemies. Each fighter has a unique skill and fighting style, plus you can transform into a monster and battle as one of them. Eventually, you can change your class and play any fighting style you choose, with a variety of weapons and magic. Players will need to explore towns, take on missions, initiate battles, and solve puzzles. Along with the single-player story, the game also features online cooperative ("co-op") support, where up to four players can fight together against enemies and bigger bosses.

Is it any good?

Even better than its predecessor, this action RPG is good fun for those looking for a mix of combat and light adventure mechanics -- especially for fans of either Dynasty Warriors or Dragon Quest games. Along with the two main protagonists, Lazarel and Teresa, you can play as familiar series characters like Aurora, King Doric, Isla, Healix, Alena, Kiryl, and Maya, to name a few. Lazarel has a multislash sword attack and Cold Fission tornado move, while Teresa has a "Spinferno" specialty (where she spins around to knock out enemies with her weapons) and upward slash attack.  While it's easy to pick up and play, this game doesn't have the best story, dialogue, or character development. But where it excels is in the exploration, the variety of enemies you'll face, and the choices you can make with your party and its fighting options. Whether it's wielding an axe, upgrading to a Crushed Ice attack, using a leg-sweep move, or unleashing a Maelstrom vortex, the fun is in exploring everyone's skills, and upgrades. After you've built up enough experience, your two main characters earn the ability to join vocations, such as Priests or Magical Artists -- something you couldn't do in the original 2015 game.

Finding players online from within the game was easy enough, but there wasn't always enough for a four-player game -- perhaps not until the game becomes more popular in the United States. But the game played smoothly and mostly lag-free, even when there were multiple enemies on-screen at once. While not entirely perfect -- mostly due to some repetition and weak puzzles -- this battle-heavy game is ideal for those who enjoy slashing their way through an "RPG-lite" game by themselves or with friends.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the depiction of female sexuality in the game. How does the game balance a brave, strong heroine -- one of the cousins you assume the role of -- with a focus on cleavage and tight outfits? Does this send a mixed message or is it perfectly fine -- especially as it's not uncommon to see women dress like this in other Japanese games and entertainment media?

  • Discuss whether you see a difference between video games that pit heroes against monsters and those where the enemies are human. Do you think beating up or killing a fantastical creature in a game is less affecting then doing the same to a person?

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