Dragon's Crown Pro Review
Dragon’s Crown Pro was announced late last year, promising to bring this colorful and intricately detailed homage to early era side-scrolling RPGs to home consoles once again. The original title was released in 2013 to PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation Vita, boasting an assortment of stages to play through by themselves or with friends either through local cooperative play or online multiplayer. Little has changed in the way of Dragon’s Crown Pro from the original release. All previous features remain perfectly intact and players can even upload and download their data across these numerous platforms - the PlayStation 4 port being the most recent inclusion.
I was incredibly eager to pick this title up for the second time, my first being on the PlayStation 3. Instead of opting to import my data from my previous file on my other console, I started fresh. The scenario is short and sweet, and incredibly familiar to those who touched titles like Capcom’s Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow of Mystara or even the cabinet RPG Gauntlet. You, the player, are tasked to find the Dragon’s Crown, an immensely powerful relic in the Kingdom of Hydeland. Several stages are unlocked through natural progression of the story, all of which is narrated as you traverse desolate forests and winding labyrinths lost beneath civilization.
Players can pick from up to six different classes with minimal customization to choose from as they seek the Dragon’s Crown. I started with the Wizard, an incredibly efficient spellcaster, and stuck to that class for most of the game. Dabbling in the other classes provided some variety and made bosses I had already encountered as the Wizard a new challenge. For example, the Fighter and Amazon are incredibly effective melee ranged fighters which forced me to handle enemies up close and personally, unlike before where I was slinging spells or summoning tremendous bolts of lightning from somewhere offscreen. The level of depth regarding skill selection and customization allows for a variety of builds with each unique class. I chose to spend skill points (a currency given to the player upon completing optional quests or leveling up) on maximizing my damage, effectively making myself a glass cannon as I progressed through stage after stage.
The main scenario is absolutely possible to complete without local co-op or online multiplayer which was something I personally enjoyed. NPC characters are capable of being recruited by making use of a revival mechanic at the church in your hub. However, these characters can only be obtained through finding their bones and what kind of character you receive is entirely at random. After unlocking online multiplayer around five hours into the game, I picked up the remains of a Japanese player (as indicated by the text above their remains), and upon recruiting them through the church I had found myself with an incredibly powerful NPC ally. This came in handy when I was confronted with one of the more punishing enemies of the game as this NPC ally effortlessly carried me through the battle somewhat unscathed.
As I said before, the scenario is fairly short as I was able to complete the game in its entirety in a span of eight hours. However, Dragon’s Crown Pro offers a fair amount of replayability for those new to the title. If you’re coming in from the PlayStation Vita or PlayStation 3 release you won’t find much of anything new outside of enhanced visuals and effects - all of which upscale beautifully. Like most Vanillaware games, Dragon’s Crown Pro is absolutely stunning, and this version is no exception. Characters are gorgeously rendered; the illustrations and backgrounds are bursting with personality and detail. All of the art found in the original release still looks gorgeous and the sprites for the characters have no trace of pixelization.
There were also no technical errors to speak of. I never ran into an endless loading screen or had my PlayStation 4 crash for whatever reason. The only minor issue I ran into was connectivity to a few players outside of my region. With this being the only hiccup I was incredibly impressed with how smoothly this port played.
All in all, I found my time with Dragon’s Crown Pro immensely enjoyable and worth the re-visit. While the main scenario can be completed fairly quickly, I felt as though that didn’t detract from my experience at all, as I could still play the game with friends or even start a new campaign with a class I had yet to experience in full. Coupled with beautiful backgrounds and a lovely soundtrack, this homage to early RPGs is practically perfect.
If you're looking for a second opinion, feel free to check out Zack's review of the original Dragon's Crown for PlayStation 3.