Dragon’s Crown Pro Review – Same Old Gold

Having originally been released in 2013, Dragon’s Crown is still an utterly beautiful game. While it was marred with controversy for daring to feature sexy women with huge breasts, it still managed to sell nearly a million copies between the PS3 and Vita versions worldwide. Dragon’s Crown Pro is a straight remaster of the original, scaling the game’s resolution up to 4K and re-recording the soundtrack with a live orchestra. Is it worth your hard-earned shekels, though?

Dragon’s Crown Pro
Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Vanillaware
Platform: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)
Release Date: May 15th, 2018
Players: 1-4 Player Co-op
Price: $49.99

Dragon’s Crown Pro [and the original before it] is essentially a fantasy beat-em-up with RPG elements. You pick from six different classes and cleave through goblins, orcs, wyverns, minotaurs, and even sexy female vampires on your quest of political turmoil and dragon slaying.

The entire game has been redrawn in 4K, but even in regular ol’ 1080p, the characters definitely have a sharper look to them. They look less fuzzy than they did in the PS3 version, and I even noticed a few quirks to their animations I’d never picked up on before. For example, the Sorceress licks her fingers after eating food. Brilliant.

The characters, as always, consist of amusing genre tropes exaggerated in an almost comical way. You’ve got the giant armored Fighter with a tiny head, the Sorceress with melons large enough to give her back problems, the absurdly muscled [and decidedly under-dressed] Dwarf, and an Amazon with thighs so powerful she could probably have a second job as a car crusher.

The only members of the cast that are a bit more understated are the Elf and the Wizard. The former is reasonably dressed, if still adorable, while the Wizard is a bit more bland in his design. It’s clear these two are the straight [wo]men to the rest of the cast’s ridiculousness, but the Wizard is just a scoche too boring to fit in.

If it seems like I’m discussing visuals a lot, that’s because Dragon’s Crown Pro is a veritable feast for the eyes. George Kamitani’s work is frankly awe-inspiring, and the animations, backgrounds, and character/creature designs are all top-notch. DCP wears its Dungeons & Dragons influences on its sleeve, but still manages to innovate in the process.

The music has also been re-recorded with a live orchestra, something that is immediately noticeable once you boot up the game. There’s no comparison, really. If you liked the original game’s soundtrack, you’re going to be blown away by how great DCP sounds. Even some of the less-memorable tracks stand out quite a bit in the new version, which is always great to see.

The gameplay hasn’t changed in the slightest, with Dragon’s Crown Pro being identical in just about every way other than visuals and soundtrack. You’re primarily hacking and slashing through fantastical beasts, using the myriad abilities at your disposal to lay low your enemies. Each character has a unique weapon, be it the Amazon’s axe, the Elf’s bow, or the Dwarf’s hammers.

Adding to the depth of combat, some of the cast have weapons they can throw, completely changing their attack pattern in the process. Hurling your weapon at enemies deals a large amount of burst damage, but you generally dole out less pain once you’ve tossed it. There’s also a cooldown to you picking your weapon back up, adding a bit of strategy to the mix.

The Elf has a bow with a limited amount of arrows. Luckily, you can retrieve them from hitting enemies with your close-range attacks, as well as find them in boxes and chests. The Sorceress has powerful magic, but must pause mid-combat to charge her mana back up. In this way, just about every party member feels unique, and the skills you unlock when leveling up only add to this.

You get new weapons and equipment, but there isn’t very much depth to the loot you pick up. With a cursory glance, you’ll be able to tell if the gear is better or worse than what you’ve got. It would’ve been cool to have to think a bit more about what weapons and armor you decide to take into battle, but it doesn’t take too much away from the game.

Something I really like about Dragon’s Crown Pro is the fact that you can play with folks on the PS3 and Vita versions. While I would have liked new content like levels, bosses, and maybe even something like an additional playable character, it’s really nice to not have to make your friends shell out $50 just to play with you.

Therein lies the problem of DCP, though. It costs fifty bucks, and there’s no new game content.

It just looks prettier, runs smoother, and has an orchestral soundtrack. I love Dragon’s Crown, truly, but I wouldn’t have bought this game at full price had I not received a review key. Expecting people who played your game five years ago to shell out a sum almost equivalent to a new release is bonkers, in my opinion.

If you played Dragon’s Crown in 2013, there’s really no reason to get Dragon’s Crown Pro, unless you’re a huge fan. Or if your PS3 spontaneously combusted somehow, and you’ve only got a PS4 to game on. It’s a weird place to be in, where I’m singing a game’s praises and telling you not to buy it at the same time, but there’s just not enough new stuff to warrant a purchase.

This is the definitive version of Dragon’s Crown, but do yourself a favor and wait for it to go on sale. Your wallet will thank you.

Dragon’s Crown Pro was reviewed on PS4 using a review copy provided by Atlus. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.

The Verdict: 8.5

The Good:

  • The same Dragon’s Crown I fell in love with 5 years ago
  • Redrawn sprites and artwork look fantastic
  • Orchestrated soundtrack is phenomenal
  • The Sorceress’ tiddies are like, really big

The Bad:

  • The same Dragon’s Crown I fell in love with 5 years ago
  • $50 price tag
  • No new content besides upgraded looks and soundtrack
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