Explore a mysterious island and collect over 300 monsters in this decent Dragon Quest spin-off.
Over the past seven years, the Nintendo DS family of systems has been the go-to place for gamers when it comes to the Dragon Quest series. Time and time again, Square Enix has released quality installments in the series on the handheld, ranging from the well-received Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies to the quirky Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime. Now, at the tail-end of the handheld’s life, the publisher has decided to send players on one more adventure with Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2.
The premise of Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 is simple. As a Monster Scout, your goal is to go out into the wild and build a team of up to six wild monsters that can be used to battle against other players.These matches are entirely turn-based and play much like other role-playing games in the sense that by battling, your monsters can level up to learn new skills and become more powerful.
When a player’s party encounters other monsters in battle, though, they can try and recruit them with their scouting skills. There is a meter located on the upper part of the screen, which indicates the chances that the player can scout a monster. The higher the number, the higher the probability that the monster will join a player’s party.
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 features over 300 outrageous monsters from the Dragon Quest universe to scout and synthesize, and each one has its own unique characteristics. By synthesizing two different monsters, players can create a new and more powerful monster. Several monsters have returned from previous Dragon Quest games, while others are new to the game.
One of the neat features of Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 is the ability to connect via Tag Mode to owners of Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation and Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies and collect exclusive monsters from those games. The game also presents players with the option to use Tag Mode to connect with other owners of the game and battle against them, as well as give them the opportunity to hunt for monsters.
In addition to meeting up with friends locally, the game also allows players to hop online using Nintendo WiFi Connection and battle friends and other Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 owners. The WiFi World Tournament allows players to battle against other monster teams from around the world, as well.
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 is very similar to the Pokémon series in the sense that both are addicting creature-capturing and turn-based role-playing games. The game does a great job of hooking players in right from the start due to the enormous amount of monsters to befriend and train. Trying to assemble the perfect team will take many players all the way up to the finale of the game, but even at that point there is still plenty to do. The game has a wide array of extra content available—such as side quests and tournaments—that is sure to appeal to anyone who enjoyed the main quest.
Even with its vast amount of content, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 is not without its flaws. The main quest may be a little short for many, clocking in at just over 20 hours, and the plot is a step down from what many would expect from a Dragon Quest title. The bulk of the player’s attention is put on their monsters and very little attention is put on character development or dialogue.
The visuals are also nothing to be excited over. The cel-shaded characters are attractive and vibrant, though there have been better on the Nintendo DS. The music, on the other hand, is composed of mostly bland melodies that are repeated throughout the game.
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 is a decent game that is tarnished only by its lack of emphasis on both its plot and music. The story, in its present state, leaves much to be desired, and the audio is recycled time and time again. Still, despite these shortcomings, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 is well worth an investment for those looking for an addicting creature-capturing and training role-playing game.