There will be three types of people who’ll be interested in Atlus and Vanillaware’s Dragon’s Crown Pro ($49.99) on the PS4. Those completely new to the game looking for a very solid side-scrolling arcade action/RPG will find an excellent single player, 4-player co-op offline/online game that’s a gorgeous homage to a number of great arcade games from Golden Axe to Capcom’s two Dungeons and Dragons titles.
Those who’ve played the original Dragon’s Crown back in 2013 on the PS3 or Vita (or both platforms) and want to know what’s new will find much sharper visuals (if they own 4K TV’s) , a new orchestral soundtrack (the original is also selectable) and thanks to a recent patch, cross-platform multiplayer and save data with Dragon’s Crown Pro. Or you can just be like me and dive into a new game just to experience everything fresh.
The third category are those who went completely bonkers complaining about the stylized artwork and may want to poke at the game anew for its sexy Sorceress and Amazon characters, but I’m gathering that loud crowd will get drowned out by players who want a fun and solidly built couch co-op experience who won’t mind the art style one bit. Truth be told, I’m a big fan of George Kamitani’s art style since I picked up a copy of the lovely but flawed Princess Crown through a Japanese friend about 20 years ago. Kamitani also worked on those two D & D games (which just so happen to be available on the PS3)
Some hands-on time with the game reveals it’s just as fun to play as the first time whether you go in solo or with up to three friends. You’ll need to grind a bit as well as learn each of the characters moves in order to not get mauled so much by the tougher enemies. Controls are simple to pick up, but require mastery as the game gets more difficult. Rescuing the bones of slain heroes and taking them back to the town chapel for resurrection nets you AI controlled players, or you can bury those bones for the chance of a random reward.
Taking care to scour maps for hidden treasure and not so hidden doors can be both deadly and rewarding. Random treasure drops add new weapons and accessories to your armory, and that touch pad on your Dual Shock 4 will get a workout as soon as you realize how important it is during your adventures. As this is only a preview, I’m merely a few hours in and hooked like a big trout. As far as new content, as far as I’ve played, I haven’t seen anything jumping out me. But this one’s a case where the fantastic fantasy art and tough but fair gameplay are the big draw and new players as well as the most dedicated Vanillaware fans will want to support them (and Atlus) by snapping this one up when it releases on May 15th. Back in a bit with a review.