Dragon Quest Builders review: Building a break with RPG tradition


Enlarge / This is the second boss of Builders, and he's a colossal dick.

In a year when much slower and much more traditional Dragon Quest games are hitting the market, Dragon Quest Builders comes along to inject some zip into the series. While it won't break any records for speedy pacing, Builders is still a major departure for the definitive JRPG series, replacing the series-standard turn-based grinding with real-time, open-world exploration and Minecraft-style block-based base building.

Somehow, this isn't that surprising. The survival/crafting genre has exploded into public consciousness since Minecraft quickly became the most popular game on Earth. Knock-offs, clones, and would-be successors to that throne have been mostly quarantined to low-priced Steam releases thus far. It was only a matter of time before major, established brands began swerving into that territory, too.

Even so, it seems like a particularly odd fit for Dragon Quest, a series that has rarely strayed from tradition. Even last year's Dragon Quest Heroes–itself a major diversion from the classic turn-based grind, simplistic story, and self-contained world–was simply another followed the custom of another Musou game based on a popular Japanese franchise.

Dragon Quest Builders is different, in that it's actually a very traditional Dragon Quest game in most of the ways that count: an evil overlord has taken out most of the world, and the world needs a hero to take him out.

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