Making the Familiar Exciting Again with Dragon Fantasy II [Preview]

A return to humor and genuine emotion in RPGs.

I have a lot of respect for anyone working with a story that they wrote in their teenage years, so I was thrilled to speak with Muteki Corp’s Adam Rippon about Dragon Fantasy II. The storyline behind the game is a continuation of the plot of the original Dragon Fantasy for PC and IOS, but with improved graphics and combat in the new game. These all look good and seem like they’ll make the game pretty fun, but to me it’s the unique story that its developers are infusing it with that will make this game grab my attention.

There is some quality game in there too, though. I didn’t get a chance to play the demo myself as a young child had grabbed the controller and didn’t seem interested in letting it go. I can’t say I blame him, given the combat looked like a lot of fun. It used a system similar to Chrono Trigger; one where you could see your enemies on the screen before you ran into them. Nothing earth shattering, but it’s still something I like to see in RPGs. When combat was joined, it moved at a brisk pace. I didn’t see any commands that wouldn’t instantly be familiar with RPG fans, but the combat ran at a higher speed than I’m used to seeing. I don’t know if you can adjust that in the game, but part of me hopes not. Taking a standard RPG combat scheme and forcing its players to use it faster is a good way to keep up the engagement in combat. I may only have a few commands to select from, but having to make decisions in a hurry could push me into making mistakes. It didn’t look like it was so fast that it would be out of hand, but it still looked like it would goad me into making quicker decisions.

I didn’t get to see any flashy attacks, but the combat descriptors looked odd. Each attack gets a small window that describes it to you while it’s happening, letting you know that the creature isn’t just jumping on top of you. It was funny to hear that this weird rock monster in a pirate hat was shouting in my ear to damage me, and gave me a couple of laughs. I had to shake my head and make several attempts to read it to see it, though.

With combat appearing to be relatively unchanged from most other RPGs from the SNES era, it was nice to see some mini-games were added into the game. The only one I got to see was one where you were fighting against another ship and had to hit it with cannonballs before a timer ran out. The first couple of shots just required the player to look for the cannonballs, but the ones after that needed the player to enter fights and finish them fast; firing the enemies at the ship after they’d been beaten. It was another funny addition, and one that gave its players a little more to do than the standard combat and exploration sections of most RPGs. Hopefully the game’s sense of humor will result in a few more diversions like this.

The game’s story seems to be working within the rest of the game’s quirkiness, too. Instead of being an upcoming hero, you get to play as Ogden, someone who already played the hero part a few decades ago. He’s pulled into danger through the events of the first game (which is also coming to the Vita shortly), and we’ll get to see the continuing adventures of the balding, aging hero in Dragon Fantasy II. Written as an homage to Rippon’s late father, I’m sure there’ll be more to Ogden’s character than that simple description gives him credit for, and I’ll be interested to see how this humorous story evolves over time.

The game seems to be somewhat basic and formulaic as far as its sound and combat go, but some of the RPGs I’ve loved best haven’t deviated much from the standard controls for these games. It’s in the presentation, the story, the humor, and in the passion of the developers that you get to see some truly amazing stuff come through. This game didn’t blow me away with its graphics, combat, or sound, but I can see lots of little details coming together to make this an incredible game.

Joel Couture
Joel Couture
Joel Couture

MASH Veteran

A horror-obsessed gamer, Joel is still spending his days looking for something to scare himself as much as Fatal Frame. Even so, he has ridiculous action games and obscure gems to keep him happy in the meantime. A self-proclaimed aficionado of terrible retro games, he's always looking for a rotten game he hasn't played yet, and may be willing to exchange information for candy.

The Latest from Mash