Farming isn’t a new concept for Dragon Quest Builders. The original offered people the opportunity to grow crops like butterbeans, heartfruits, potatoes, sugar cane, and wheat to make some basic recipes and restore their health and hunger. The element returns in Dragon Quest Builders 2, but it is implemented in a much more insightful way. Your life doesn’t have to revolve around your crops, growing things is a community effort, and getting seeds to grow new things doesn’t feel like any kind of ordeal. Rather, Furrowfield Island, the first place you’ll visit, feels like a kind of combination of Story of Seasons and Dragon Quest.
The Builder and Malroth come to Furrowfield in search of greenery. The Isle of Awakening, where they live with Lulu, is pretty much devoid of life, and they want to learn the secrets of sustainable living. Fortunately for them, this island was home to the world’s best farmers before the Children of Hargon declared building and creation evil and forced them to live unfulfilling lives. Basically, like a Story of Seasons game, you wind up on an abandoned farm and dilapidated town and have to revive them.
Things start out slow and help immediately show how much farming has changed in Dragon Quest Builders 2. Instead of farming at a base, making seeds with a transmutation table, tilling the soil yourself, and planting them, the villagers around you help you maintain everything. Plopping down a scarecrow automatically designates land within his area as a field for your worm friend Wrigley to turn into land that can support growth. Once the land can be tilled, the villagers rush into action to prepare the soil. You can then designate which crop should be in that field by checking in at the scarecrow and leaving seeds in a chest, or you can go ahead and plant things on your own. Villagers will care for them. You can harvest them at your leisure. It’s effortless.
Especially since there are easy avenues to make the process even friendlier so you can focus on things like building, exploring, battling enemies, or completing quests. The first five crops are cabbages, pumpkins, tomatoes, sugar cane, and wheat. You start out getting cabbage seeds from Rosie, and the others are accumulated by defeating monsters, exploring, and taking on quests. For example, ants pretty much always drop additional wheat seeds. Each seed is good for multiple harvests. Sugar cane doesn’t need watering, since it is grown in water. However, you can set up an irrigation system with the new building materials and arrange the fields in such a way that you don’t even have to rely on villagers to water. Your carefully laid fields can tap into their own. Things keep working with you, and the characters around you are competent enough to keep managing things in your absence. (Though, you can speed things up with irrigation and fertilizer.)
The fact that farming is so easy to do, involves actually plotting out fenced-in fields, and encourages you to explore for seeds, it gets to be a really compelling task in the same way it is in a Story of Seasons sort of game. You get to see things directly grow and improve because of your efforts. A community builds up around you as a result of it. But, even more than that, you get to see other side effects of having a prosperous farm. Because they are bustling, they become fantastic heart factories. These are an essential commodity for things like leveling up bases on island, among other things, and getting a productive farm running means you have essentially crafted a fine-tuned machine.
You also are getting a source of effortless food for yourself, something beneficial seeing as how hunger works on a percentage gauge this time around. Cooked food will always provide better benefits. Not only will it full up your Builder’s stomach and restore their health, but some recipes can provide boosts to their attack or destructive capabilities. So long as you have a kitchen or restaurant set up nearby, the same villagers who are manning the fields will make sure chests are fully stocked with food and fires are always cooking something. Again, you’re seeing a beneficial side effect that keeps turning out things that can run on their own, letting you either directly work to obtain the benefits or enjoy as things you set in motion run in the background.
Basically, the farming skills learned in Dragon Quest Builders 2’s Furrowfield are designed to get you to think about the practical effects of your builds. Having a farm is a goal. However, it also enables you to do more in-game by providing you with a constant series of activities and the means you need to go off and enjoy your own thing while relying on the NPCs around you.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 will come to the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 in North America and Europe on July 12, 2019. It is immediately available in Japan.