Written Review – Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2
Do you have what it takes to enter the Monster Scout Challenge and fight for the title of Champion of the world? Well it won’t be easy! As a rookie scout, you’ve snuck on board a transport airship that is on it’s way to the prestigious tournament. Unfortunately your travel plans are cut short as the ship runs into a bad storm and crashes on a mysterious island.
It’s now up to you to explore the many uncharted locations of this land and locate the other passengers. What makes this world so interesting? It’s filled with free roaming monsters of course! You’ll be battling the many beasts that wander around the worlds, and customizing your very own party in a variety of ways. When approaching a monster, you’ll be swept into a turn-based battle. From here you’ll use your own party of three beasties to fight or even try scouting your foes to join your team. The stronger your team, the better chance you have of successfully scouting an enemy. An additional three monsters can be stored as substitutes for your current team. While battling you can also change up each Monster’s orders and tactics. Each player’s fight style will obviously be different, which is part of the appeal of Jokers 2. There are many items to collect while exploring, which can then be used during battles as well.
After a successful battle your party members will begin to level up. This means they’ll gain more health, learn new abilities and send out more powerful attacks. There’s a good amount of options and details behind each monster’s stats, perhaps even to the point of becoming staggering for inexperienced players. Status info, Monster Type, Family, Traits, Skills, Resistances, there’s certainly no shortage of information for each member of your team.
There are over 300 monsters in Joker 2, however many of them are basically pallet swaps and look very similar in design. One of the interesting features in regards to monsters is that they now have a size. This means if you scout a gigantic beast, it can actually take up all 3 slots for your current team.
Synthesizing is another interesting feature here in Joker 2. It allows players to combine two different monsters, to create a more powerful new creature. You can then customize that monster with over 240 different skill trees. Based on which direction you choose to evolve your monster in, you’ll get a totally new result from other players. The game controls decently well, however moving around in a 3D environment with a Directional Pad isn’t exactly ideal.
Overall, the Gameplay does offer some new ideas, however for the most part it’s not a totally fresh experience, and many of these concepts have been done in many other role playing games.
From a graphical standpoint, I have to be completely honest, I find polygonal based visuals on the Nintendo DS to seem very dated by today’s standards. Joker 2 by no means is a bad looking game, but it’s certainly not going to dazzle anyone with it’s visuals. Characters and environments are a bit blocky and textures can often appear overly pixelated for a game in the year 2011.
I feel the Monsters themselves are the most visually impressive aspect here. Their designs are mostly interesting, ranging from scary and intimadating to goofy and comical. While the horse power behind the game has certainly become dated, it still manages to present somewhat adequate visuals.
As far as replay value and play time are concerned, Joker 2 is certainly the type of game you would play for many hours. Customizing, leveling up and arranging your very own team of monsters is something you could theoretically really get involved with. With the ability to store up to 100 monsters in the airship pen, there’s also no shortage of beasts to scout and collect.
The main appeal to the title’s replay value, undoubtedly lies with 8 Player Local play and Online battling. You can duke it out with a friend locally, or you can exchange Friend Codes and battle over Nintendo WiFi Connection. You can even pit your team up against complete strangers. The official Joker 2 website even features Leader boards which display the world’s top scouts. Using Tag Mode you can also battle and trade with friends.
In conclusion, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 is certainly loaded with options and features. In a way I almost feel like the game has so much detail within it’s gameplay that it doesn’t quite do a good enough job explaining everything to newer players. Even so the main issue with the title is that it can feel a bit dated in several aspects. Much of what is on display here has already been done by many other Role Playing Games. From a technical perspective it can also seem slightly dated, especially when compared to software on the 3DS.
However, while it only offers a small bit of inspiration and fresh concepts, everything here for the most part is pretty solid. If you’re craving a new RPG experience on your Nintendo DS it’s a good bet you’ll find some enjoyment in Joker 2.
7.5 / 10