Review: Dragon’s Crown

All style, little substance

0 Review: Dragons Crown

On the surface, Dragon’s Crown appears to have all of the features of a great RPG brawler. Players will fast realize that after spending time with Vanillaware’s multiplayer beat ‘em up that, much like beauty, Dragon Crown’s features are skin deep.

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Utilizing an art design reminiscent of their past work, such as Odin Sphere, GrimGrimoire, and Muramasa,  Vanillaware went back to the well in design and game theory. Dragon’s Crown tasks players with choosing one of six RPG archetypes in order to dungeon dive, excavate equipment, and destroy demons, dark orcs, and dragons.

Players will upgrade equipment as well as earn skill points via a leveling system that allows customization specific to each class. Sound familiar? Dragon’s Crown isn’t doing anything that players haven’t already seen, nor is it doing these things well.

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The skill system becomes redundant once players realize that upgrades do nothing to change the way each character plays in a meaningful way. This is apparent in a combat system based on button mashing that lacks the combat style or substance of other games in the genre, such as Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Castle Crashers, or even Diablo 3.

It’s fine that the warrior’s slide can be upgraded to knock opponents down or can multi-slash in the air. Why bother when you can just as easily progress through dungeons by standing in one spot and pressing the attack button ad nauseam? In some cases, this tactic is more effective than trying to be stylish.

This assumes you can stand still, as the game does a terrible job of letting players know where they are on the screen during the chaos. This problem is unbearable with four players at once. The game’s beauty and detail turn into a deterrent.

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This art style has been widely criticized and discussed for it’s outlandish character design, but many forget how great the game looks in motion. While backgrounds and beautifully rendered and the game runs at a steady frame rate, characters come to life in a vibrant style. Said style comes with exaggerated character designs that are a distraction and may annoy players who have grown tired of the anime-like proportions of Japanese-developed titles.

For a title that tries to stand out in the crowd, Dragon’s Crown comes off as a game where the developer rested on the laurels of its art design. Consumers are better off delving into Vanillaware’s past titles than wasting time and money on a game that seems to be phoning in the experience.

  • Release Date: October 11, 2013 (EU); August 6, 2013 (NA)

  • Genre: Action RPG Brawler

  • Platform: PlayStation 3, Vita

  • Developer: Vanillaware

  • Publisher: NIS America (EU), Atlus (NA)

  • MSRP: $49.99


Reviewer’s statement: This review was based on a European PlayStation 3 copy of the game provided by NIS America for the sake of this review.

About Will Harrison

Will Harrison was born in the wilds of Southeastern Ohio Appalachia. Some say you could hear the angels singing on that day. Whether or not that is true, once he received his B.S. in Communications Studies from Ohio University, Will moved to Toledo, Ohio in order to start a life and career in the news industry. When he isn't hard at work as a research assistant and midnight shift crime reporter at a newspaper, Will is usually found gaming.


  1. jak.d.ripr says:

    I understand everyone is entitled to their opinions, but some of the stuff you say is just incorrect. The upgrades do change the way the characters play, the dwarf gains access to different items depending on which upgrades are chosen as do the sorceress and wizard(spells in their case). The amazon gains the ability to automatically activate berserk as opposed to having to hit enemies, and these are just a few examples.

    Also, you can’t button mash your way through this game, maybe at the beginning but once you start going through the B routes of stages in addition to messing with the higher difficulties you have to start making specific loadouts for each dungeon because the enemies become very difficult.

    Like I said, we’re all entitled to our own opinions, and if the game doesn’t rock your boat that’s perfectly fine, but to go about saying things about a game that show you really didn’t put much time into it is just not right and quite frankly discredits your abilities as a journalist.

    Of course, this is just my opinion…..

  2. I don’t usually comment on reviews but this review seems to have been one that just screams.. this just isnt your kind of game bud…. I personally like and dislike a few games but it don’t stop them from being great games.. in short, this game is meant to be different and it has done so fine, even with its weird animation or character models.. this why we play games… out of this world stuff whether it be master chief or a completely broken looking axe wielder in my dragon’s crown
    The review feels like its trying to say .. for example that Street Fighter is no different than Blazblue because I get to punch / kick people so its not a great game, and character models are unreal.. I mean c’mon look at blanka and chun-li .. great game!

    Personally this game is not the greatest ever (this aint ocarina of time = P), but what a great new refresh too such a simple type and style of game. Personally the way in which the player is able to change its fighting mechanic depending on the enemies on-screen was a welcomed addition.

    Cheers from Seattle, WA.

    Just throwing out my comment as

  3. Comment as is.. lol phail submission = (

  4. I bought it 2 days ago and it’s just amazing, having so much fun with the dwarf.graphics are amazing, so many thing to do, incredible replay level. When you pay 60 bucks for games with a 5 hour long single player campaign, and here, you have an awesome game that will let you play hundreds of hours,
    Your review and work deserves a 2.5/5. And I’m being nice…

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