At E3 2016, people visiting Square Enix’s booth had an opportunity. If they felt strong, capable, and brave enough, they could take on the monumental task of restoring Alefgard in Dragon Quest Builders. Think of this PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita game game as being similar to Minecraft, only with Dragon Quest-inspired towns, quests, monsters, and items.
The Dragon Quest Builders demo was taken directly from the actual game and sent players through the first few quests and tasks in the adventure. After your male or female avatar wakes up in what appears to be a grave, he or she learns to run, jump, collect items, craft healing cream and a cypress stick, and dig out of the initial cave. There are very important things, as a dire event in the world’s past has robbed all of its denizens of the ability to build, craft, and create. It falls to you to rebuild and restore the world.
Once outside of the tomb, freedom reigns. Players find themselves in the Cantlin Plains, just outside of the remains of a small town. Monsters roam free. But, Rubiss, a goddess, gives you a Banner of Hope to plant in the remains of Cantlin. Once set in what was formerly the city square, villagers will arrive to settle in the fledgling town and give your character quests to fulfill. Or, if someone wanted, they could explore the area, fighting monsters and collecting materials. Really, the choice is yours.
Should someone immediately set upon the task at hand, they’ll find Pippa, Cantlin’s first new resident, ready to provide town-restoring quests. These act as a tutorial to help people with gathering and crafting basics. It’s possible to repair a house for Pippa by plugging holes with earthen blocks and using the mason’s workstation to create a torch light source. All homes in Dragon Quest Builders need a door, walls two blocks high, and a source of light to qualify as a residence. The demo also went through the creation of straw mattresses, which would allow a player to rest on them at any time to restore health.
While Dragon Quest Builders does allow people to enter into combat with familiar enemies like slimes, golems, drackies and dragons, the bulk of this demo focused on repairing the world. It’s effective, in that it’s showing you what matters in the game. Yes, there’s combat. You’re going to be saving people. Yet, as Rubiss points out shortly after your awakening, you aren’t a hero. You’re a builder. The E3 demo helped properly convey that message.
It also helped people clearly understand what Dragon Quest Builders is and isn’t, and how it’s set apart from Minecraft. While this is a title inspired by Mojang’s series, it very much does its own thing in its own way. Familiar elements are there, but the purpose sends you down a different path. It’s one that I think people who enjoy Dragon Quest or Minecraft will enjoy.
Dragon Quest Builders will come to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in October 2016.