Medieval beat ’em ups never looked so GOOD!
[Minee Note]: There have been quite a few developments surrounding Dragon’s Crown. Updates are at the end of the preview!
How many of you remember those side-scrolling 2D brawlers that Capcom put out in arcades and home consoles? Some of you are probably familiar with the Final Fight series (especially since many of those characters have made their way into the Street Fighter universe). But how about some of their other brawlers like Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara or (my absolute favourite on Super NES) Knights of the Round? These were some of the coolest brawlers, as they combined my need to smash things and loot hunting. All with lovely 2D animations and kick ass music.
So imagine how excited I got when I first heard about Dragon’s Crown. It was like a blast from the past. I can once again experience my hack n’ slash brawlers, medieval style. All in glorious current gen goodness on PlayStation 3… or Vita, if I was so inclined! 😮
Dragon’s Crown is being developed by Vanillaware, the same folks who brought us Odin Sphere and GrimGrimoire (two criminally-overlooked games from the PlayStation 2 era) and published by UTV Ignition Games *insert obligatory singing praises of El Shaddai here*.
So there’s this powerful relic called the Dragon’s Crown, and all the powerful mages of the land want to get their hands on it. In a fit of “brilliance” they merged all the monster lairs into one huge labyrinth, thinking they’ll have an easy time finding it that way. Of course, you can’t let them get their mitts on it, so you and your ragtag team go in to get the Dragon’s Crown before it falls into the wrong hands.
You can choose one of six classes: fighter, amazon, wizard, sorceress, dwarf and elf. Also tagging along are a fairy and thief, your guides for this crazy trip. Naturally, each class has their strengths and weaknesses, and from the sounds of things, there’s a character to suit everyone’s particular play style. There are RPG elements in the game, as you’ll have the chance to gain levels and increase the power of your equipment, and all that good stuff. And like all good RPGs, if you’re going adventuring with buds, have some variety in your party.
… that’s right kids! There’s multiplayer. You and three buddies can explore the dungeons together via online multiplayer on PlayStation 3 or Vita. And even though I said you should have variety, you can all play as the same character (though really, you should mix things up a wee bit, yea?).
But don’t go thinking that just because there’s multiplayer, it means that there’s not a thing for you to do in single player. You can experience the same awesome game, be it alone or with companions. Paths splinter off, leading you into different areas or hidden rooms full of treasure (or one giant, pissed-off monster). And if descending into dank, dreary caverns isn’t enough for ya, you can take on Quests that will net you even more goodies. Either way, this really does sound like the type of game I’d play with buds… except I know none of them will pick it up without me beating the crap out of… er, I mean, gentle persuasion.
One gameplay element that I find interesting is “Bone Collecting”. Like brawlers of old, you have a finite number of lives. If you lose all of your lives while you’re playing online, your character will turn into a pile of bones. During offline play, your remains will be there for other players to find. They can collect your bones, give them to a special merchant, and BAM! Your character will be an NPC party member for that player. You can even leave message with your remains; providing others with helpful hints to what’s ahead (or you can be a douche and totally screw ’em over). It sounds similar to what you can do in Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls.
Visually speaking, this is a very Vanillaware game. The artists are one with their 2D sprites; details seem to ooze out of every last pixel. Seriously, I doubt these screen shots do the game any justice. And the music from the trailer and the Dragon’s Crown Official Website rock so much.
Dragon’s Crown doesn’t have a concrete release date, unfortunately. Last anyone’s heard, it was a “Spring 2012” release date. Well, it’s pretty much Spring, and there hasn’t been any news about this game since last summer. UTV Ignition was going through some restructuring, with studios closing, personnel shuffling and Disney buying a stake in the company. I certainly hope this hasn’t put a halt to their publishing plans and that this amazing-looking game will see the light of day.
[UPDATE]: The internets are a-buzzing, and it seems Vanillaware has changed the release date of Dragon’s Crown to simply “2012”. So we’ll have to wait a bit longer. But it’ll be worth it, I’m sure.
[UPDATE 2]: The powers of the Atlus Faithful newsletter and VSOG buddy Austin’s tip have revealed the awesome news that Dragon’s Crown has a brand new publisher. Methinks the game’s in good hands now!
Read Up On Some Games
- Review: El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron (PS3; Xbox 360)
- Games I Wanna Play — Hakuoki: Demon Of The Fleeting Blossom (PSP)
- Review: Catherine (PS3; Xbox 360)
Have you heard anything about Dragon’s Crown? If so, are you looking forward to it? What interests you the most about it? Share your thoughts in the Comments Section!