Dragon’s Crown Pro is taking a new step on the PlayStation 4. Vanillaware games are known for the attention to detail woven throughout each one. The accented and striking character, enemy and environmental designs are immediately recognizable, with George Kamitani’s art in Dragon’s Crown being instantly identifiable. In the same way, Hitoshi Sakimoto’s soundtrack is notable. With this upgrade, both get extra attention.
The first thing to note is that Dragon’s Crown Pro makes picking up and going from one version of the game to the other easy. The original Dragon’s Crown games had both cross-play and cross-saves. People who uploaded their save files to the cloud from either the PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Vita version will find it waiting for them. In my case, I was in a position where I had to completely reinstall my Vita version of the game, grab a save I had backed up to the PlayStation Plus cloud and work off of that before heading into Dragon’s Crown Pro. This meant I spent a bit of time relearning the ropes on the handheld and getting the dated save into a good place before uploading it to Atlus’ servers via the Dragon’s Crown main menu.
Dragon’s Crown is a game that can get busy. In an ideal situation, there are four ally characters facing at least two enemies, usually more, in an area. Even if you try to keep things organized, there will be visual effects from magic users like the Sorceress and Wizard. The PlayStation Vita’s OLED screen and PlayStation 3’s presentation did their best to make things look good with what they had. The Dragon’s Crown Pro presentation allows for more definition. It is easier to see the intricacies in the archer’s braids, for example. The design on the Wizard’s book is evident. When food drops on the ground, it is easy to see the degree to which that pot pie has been cooked. In the case of the goblins in the screenshot above, we can see how their shields are weathered and the condition of their teeth.
This meant I noticed more as I played. When there is a flurry of action in my first impressions, I sometimes felt like I had an easier time determining positioning of physical fighters. As I walked through stages, it seemed like I had an easier time of noticing when runes appeared in the background, so I could take advantage of them and their effects. There is a clarity that comes from the transition from the standard Dragon’s Crown to Dragon’s Crown Pro.
Dragon’s Crown Pro has that detail carry over to the sounds. There are two soundtrack options now. The original is beautiful and evocative. It has this range befitting a fantasy world inspired by Dungeons & Dragon adventures. The Orchestral option with a live orchestra reinvents that sound. There will probably be people who prefer the original, but some will certainly be new converts. It takes these same songs and adds a complexity and richness that comes from a live recording. There were times when it felt like I was hearing a song for the first time, even though it was familiar.
The result offers a new sense of intensity and vibrancy. Things may feel a bit crisper or sound sharper, with performance varying depending on the PlayStation 4 hardware someone has and the options they choose to enable. I went from a PlayStation Vita save to a standard PlayStation 4, so the audio and visual difference was notable. But for each person the degree to which things are different could change.
As a note, Siliconera will be playing Dragon’s Crown Pro during our Wednesday live stream on May 9, 2018 at 12pm PT/2pm CT/3pm ET. If people have the PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Vita copy of Dragon’s Crown and would like to join for a session (we will look at B routes), leave your PSN name and I will send you a friend request.
Dragon’s Crown Pro will come to the PlayStation 4 in North America and Europe on May 15, 2018. It is available in Japan. Dragon’s Crown is available for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita worldwide.