Dragon Quest II has a reputation, but it has nothing to do with its positive attributes. The game helped the series take a step forward, what with it having a more detailed storyline, including more playable characters, offering more enemies to fight and having additional travel options. Unfortunately, it is also known for being incredibly difficult. That difficulty has proved rather daunting. Fortunately, Dragon Quest Builders 2 feels like it redeems Dragon Quest II.
Both Dragon Quest II and Dragon Quest Builders 2 share the same setting, enemies, locations and general Dragon Quest trappings. In the turn-based RPG, players follow the Prince of Midenhall, Prince of Cannock, and Princess of Moonbrooke as they travel around the world, attempting to save it from Hargon and his monstrous minions. In the action-RPG with building elements, Hargon won. The world has been left decimated. A lone traveler known as the Builder works with an ally named Malroth to visit afflicted locations, fight the Children of Hargon that remain there and restore spaces to their former glory.
One source of renewed interest could stem from the fact that Dragon Quest Builders 2 reminds people the original Dragon Quest II exists. There are eleven entries now, with the more recent ones continually improving and refining the formula. Someone might pass over an entry renowned for being one of the more frustrating NES games in favor of a more recent endeavor. Having a spin-off that draws people back and gets people wondering what did happen there is a perk.
Another perk is the recent availability of Dragon Quest II in a more optimal form. In 2014, it came to mobile devices worldwide. This version was based on the updates released after the original version. The difficulty has been adjusted, so it is a bit more balanced. It also looks better, as it uses 16-bit maps. (Though, people may be divided as to whether the new character sprites are an improvement.) This is available on the Switch, like Dragon Quest Builders 2. There’s an opportunity to bridge the gap with little effort.
Still, even with the rebalancing, Dragon Quest II can prove daunting. It is an incredibly challenging game, one where grinding could never be considered an optional activity. If someone is going to beat it, they are going to need something incredibly motivating. Dragon Quest Builders 2 provides that motivation. Throughout the game, we see hints of what life might have been like in Torland before the Children of Hargon took over. We see references to the prince of Midenhall and visit Moonbrooke. Malroth is by our side the entire time.
Dragon Quest II may not be the best entry in the series, but it is an important part of its history. It introduced elements like additional characters with backstories and an improved battle system. Now that Dragon Quest Builders 2, an extraordinary spin-off, exists, the original complements it. It shows people how its characters and concepts could be used in an even more compelling way, and that some basic villains like Hargon could still become valid opponents years later. It reminds us of the foundation it provided, while Dragon Quest Builders 2 confirms that yes, there are positive elements to it.