Dragon Quest Builders 2 is one of those rare games where it does its best to consistently pull you in. Each segment of its storyline attempts to do each thing. They have different sorts of tugs to get you invested. Some of the stories are sweeter and simpler, but these grow in complexity as the stakes raise over the course of the adventure. Yet, no matter what, each one can be satisfying.
Editor’s note: while there will be some general overviews of some major islands’ experiences, there will be no story spoilers below.
Furrowfield’s story is the most basic and involves the fewest twists. It’s basically Dragon Quest Builders 2’s way of easing people in. Yes, you have the Children of Hargon against you and things seem tough. But, you also have a generally green and pleasant area that isn’t too hazardous to your health. Most of the villagers you encounter are pleasant, maybe even funny. It’s cozy and heartwarming, giving you a chance to make a real difference and bring nature back to a world that has been soiled. You care, because you see how every action you take restores a poisoned land.
Krumbul-Dun is another restoration story, but handled in a way that adds some more daring escapades to the mix. While Furrowing is more of a peaceful and soothing setting, which is fitting for a pastoral area, this desert space adds a few more thrills. When you meet the miners, they’re people who might seem rough around the edges, but have hearts of gold. You’re helping make the town prosperous again, but through providing entertainment and powering into the center of mines. That means making discoveries, like going through puzzles in an area with ruins or figuring out how to properly deal with an area filled with lava. It’s a more thrilling story that still has its occasionally humorous sides, but builds on what we’ve already done.
With Skelkatraz, we get to be the underdogs. Not that we always weren’t, given that the Children of Hargon have the numbers in Dragon Quest Builders 2. But here, the game strips away everything we have been accustomed to using. We’re surrounded by enemies, just as we were in the tutorial. But, there are still other humans here and we have hope. We get to fight against the odds, making things compelling even when they are more limited.
This is most evident once someone gets to Moonbrooke. That’s because anyone who played Dragon Quest II will have some idea of exactly what is going on by now. Here, you find yourself in an area with an eternal war. People are constantly fighting monsters. As you build up defenses, you get to know what these people are dealing with. You even get to “hear” your avatar ask the king about a specific person from Dragon Quest II. (Also, if you take the time to explore the second characters start asking you to venture beyond Moonbrooke castle, perhaps to acquire marble or magic stones, then you might inadvertently get to an area of the map early where a Hammerhead will spoil things for you. Be careful.) Considering that this is the first time where your whole goal is to prepare people to survive and constantly improve the area so they can, it is an effective point to build up intrigue. Especially since two people keep suggesting there is a spy in your midst and one prominent character keeps stubbornly forsaking the life of a builder.
There are all these elements coming together in Dragon Quest Builders 2 to tell a successful story. We have more peaceful and heartwarming moments, which can be seen in Furrowfield as we help farmers find a way to thrive again and in Krumbul Dun when the miners reunite and become productive. Skelkatraz gives us a daring prison escape and hints at what happened in Dragon Quest II, while Moonbrooke full on drops some truth on us. In each one, the situations attempt to provide comedic and dramatic elements, making the game as a whole more engaging.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 is available for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.