In “Over The Shoulder” we talk about the games we watch each other play. Today Robert talks about watching Hope play DRAGON QUEST: BUILDERS on PS4.
I knew that it would be interesting to watch Hope try out Dragon Quest: Builders, because the game is heavily inspired by Hope’s favourite videogame Minecraft.
As I write this, Hope is still playing the demo (available for download right now on PS4 and Vita) and she is loving it. Earlier this week, after just a couple of hours of play, she said “Dad, can we get this?” And I was maybe a little bit surprised.
See, I’m a Dragon Quest fan. I love the style of the Dragon Quest games, the simplicity of them, and I love how solid they are. They are structurally brilliant games that have never strayed too far from their early RPG roots. Of course, Builders is very different. It’s Dragon Quest as seen through a Minecraft lens, and it’s as much about crafting and digging and building as it is about adventuring. But you know what? Watching it played, over Hope’s shoulder, I could see that the game has very strict boundaries. It isn’t that bright, wide, you-can-do-anything game that Minecraft is. It doesn’t exactly hold your hand, but it certainly cups its hands around you as you play.
And that expression of control from the game’s designers was what I thought might throw Hope off. Instead, she’s been captivated by the little splashes of story, and the inclusion of definite goals. She’s been telling me about the NPCs and the funny demands they make. She is, in short, being won over by the Dragon Quest charm that many of us know and love, while enjoying a style of play she understands completely. So what this game looks like, so far, is the perfect marriage of that Japanese Dragon Quest design and aesthetic with the creative freedom of Minecraft.
That’s quite a winning combination, isn’t it?
The game looks so good. I think I’ll be playing it too. We’ll talk about it some more after it launches in the UK next week.
Dragon Quest: Builders is available in the UK from the 14th of October, on PS4 and Vita.