Dragon Quest Builders review
Some of us can’t just open a box of Lego and build a masterpiece, and the things we do build are often an incoherent mess. Sometimes we need blueprints, direction and sometimes we just want to be told how to build the Millennium Falcon. The same problem can translate to Minecraft, the Lego of videogames, and this is where Dragon Quest Builders comes bounding over the horizon, with the Mojang playbook in one hand and a hefty list of instructions in the other to help us out.
It works, too. DQB brings many thoughtful quality-of-life changes to the Minecraft formula: crafting recipes are learned upon discovery of a material and are accessible from anywhere. It makes it easier, sure, but it diverts focus from inventory management and having to look crafting recipes up online to the things that matter: exploration, actually building things and, of course, doing the game’s various NPCs bidding.
Throughout your journey, you’ll build settlements, which attract villagers and you will have to fix their problems. These can range from discovering the way to make burgers, to retrieving artefacts from faraway islands and improving your settlement’s defences. While these tasks can seem like a nuisance, they’re not without purpose: they actually do a fantastic job at educating you in the game’s fundamental systems. Finishing Chapter One feels like graduating from Crafting School, which is handy because that’s when you unlock the sandbox-like Terra Incognita Island as a reward.
Here you can create, quest-free, however only in solitude – Dragon Quest Builders has no true multiplayer component. You can share creations with other like-minded architects, and there’s some fun to be had in seeing what other people with the game’s engine do, but it’s no replacement for building a replica of King’s Landing in real time with a friend.
You don’t really need a friend to help you, though. Thanks to Dragon Quest Builder’s intuitive and easy-to-use approach to its systems you can practically build Rome in a day anyway, and have a right old fun time doing it. You can modify dirt blocks into bricks with a special item, for example, so you can construct the outline of your building and turn it into a masterpiece with ease. The only real glaring flaw, outside of the stark lack of real multiplayer, is that the game is confined by its third-person camera, making navigating any small, enclosed areas tough.
Minecraft taught us that you can present a world to a player and they’ll make their own story, Dragon Quest Builders offers that and more, all without the need of an online crafting guide or book.