When Dragon Fantasy Book I released on the PS3 and Vita earlier this year, it was an enjoyable treat. While retro-styled RPGs are becoming more and more common, it managed to stand out with its humor and great style. Of course, the Dragon Fantasy series was bound to see a sequel, and Book II moved the series into the 16-bit realm, promising more in-depth mechanics and battles than its prequel. How well does Book II continue the saga?
The plot itself is standard, but the characters are what really make the script stand out. Book II still takes itself seriously for the most part, but Ogden and the other party members will make humorous quips about these ridiculous tropes, right up to the fairly obvious plot twist. It helps greatly to make an overdone plot feel... well, overdone, and also gives you enough motivation to see the game through to the end.
Of course, longer doesn't always mean better, and it this case the game might be just a little too long. There is a point early on where your party is split up and the middle of the game is played much like Book I's episodes. So, in two of the storylines you have to retread old grounds, and for the most part it felt as though most of this story content could have been handled with the party together, instead of being split up.
Part of what makes this middle area feel so slow is with the inclusion of monster units. To make up for the lack of four party members, you can capture and use monsters to round out your ranks. While the idea seems sound, most of the monsters have the same skillset and with meager changes to stats. There's really nothing stopping you from using a new monster you've gotten over an older one, and the overall lack of unique traits make them useless once you get human characters back. While monster units could have been an interesting addition, it ultimately wasn't implemented well enough to catch monsters beyond the monster capture trophies.
Unfortunately, other parts of the game do not run as smoothly, and are issues that could have been resolved with more testing. There are mulitple grammatical errors, cutscenes that activate out of order (and in one case, reactivated entirely), issues with sidequests, and even game-freezing glitches. Since Book II's release there have been two patches to resolve some of the more serious issues, but many of the minor, and some of the freezing, bugs still remain, and it becomes a rather big damper on the overall experience.
Disclosure: Reviewed using a PlayStation 3 download copy provided by Muteki Corporation.