E3 2019 Hands-on – Dragon Quest Builders 2

Final Fantasy VII? Avengers? Nah, what I really wanted to see from Square Enix this E3, and I’m not even joking, was Dragon Quest Builders 2. I absolutely loved the first game and played it twice, on the PS4 and Switch. It had its fair share of issues, such as a short campaign, an unreliable camera, and the lack of a first-person view mode, but I still had an amazing time with it. It was the perfect blend of Minecraft‘s building mechanics with a slight touch of action RPG controls and a humorous story worth caring about. I wanted more the second the game ended. That’s why I was salivating before my Dragon Quest Builders 2 session at E3 2019. I was definitely not disappointed.


Dragon Harvest Moon Builders.

During the half-hour demo, I was able to play two scenarios, one made for newcomers and one made for veterans. The newcomer scenario was set in a ship and did a great job explaining the game’s mechanics in a well-written way, while the veteran scenario just allowed me to let my horrendous architectural skills go wild. It was quite meaty for an E3 demo, but then again, the game is set to be released in a month in the West, while already being available in Japan.

The demo showcased every new mechanic introduced in this sequel. There is a brand new retro-styled map that allows you to fast travel without the need of a specific item. You can now fly and swim underwater. All of those features massively improve another main issue from the previous game: being forced to backtrack through huge sections of the world if you didn’t have a stock of Chimaera Feathers.

You can also play as either a boy or a girl. Your main characters have received a slight graphical upgrade, as they now feature facial expressions. The overall graphics have received a slight improvement as well, especially when it comes to lighting effects. The biggest improvement this time around, however, is the ability to play the game in first-person. It might sound weird, but trust me, it’s a game changer for a game like this. The lack of said feature was, without a doubt, my biggest issue in the original Dragon Quest Builders. We were constantly forced to build small and cramped houses and rooms for everyone, making the camera go absolutely haywire. Being able to build (and aim) in first-person, just like in Minecraft, is a godsend.


You can always trust a game designed by Akira Toriyama to have spiky-haired characters, even if they’re in chibi form.

What I liked the most about Dragon Quest Builders 2‘s E3 demo was that, while there weren’t that many additions to what was featured in the first game, every new mechanic introduced in the sequel felt like a gigantic improvement over the original. It looks better than the original and it plays a lot better. I just can’t wait for the final release of Dragon Quest Builders 2, this is how you do a proper sequel to a great game that just needed a bit of tinkering here and there.