Developer: Aqua Plus
Publisher: Atlus USA
Platform: PS Vita
Release Date: August 18, 2015
A product code was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.
Confession time. I have an immense soft spot for dungeon crawlers that feature great 2D artwork. It is my cross to bear. I’ll also cop to being a bit late in getting this review out as, well, I didn’t want to just finish the game’s story (that’ll take about 50 hours) but I wanted to demolish this game. I wanted to grind as I have not done in years. Even with the likes of Fafnir Knight and Tokyo Abyss under my belt this year alone I had to return to the insanely deep well of character customization and the warm embrace of Japanese DRPGs yet again. I am happy to report, after investing many, many hours (over 110 to complete everything including getting the Platinum trophy — be prepared to grind monster kills) into Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & The Monster Seal that this venerable port of the PSP original is a fantastic addition to the genre. Be prepared, adventurer, and gird thy loins for the sexy ladies within.
An Adventure Much Like Any Other
Dungeon Travelers 2 features a tale as familiar as they come. Those who dive in will assume the role of Fried, a new member of the Royal Library. His interest in the world of dungeon creepers is purely academic and it is his role to command an entire party of would-be adventurers to aid in his study of these monstrous dungeon dwellers. It gives a pretty simple construct to get players into the tile-by-tile slog of the dungeon but not much else beyond that. The warriors, mages and healers under Fried’s command all just happen to be women of varying shapes and sizes. They run the gamut from the typical hard-hitting fighter (which can turn into a Paladin) to the magic user that can transform into a Priestess with enough grinding. There are even Maids, Spielers, and Scouts as well. Each variant has numerous paths they can branch into offering an absurd amount of depth from a gameplay perspective. That is damn good too as there isn’t much else to comment on from a narrative standpoint. There are certainly humorous bits of dialogue here and there but, for the most part, the story of DT2 is inconsequential.
Assemble Your Own JRPG Teen Girl Squad
Alright. They aren’t teenagers though some of that art is a bit suspect. Fried assembles a ragtag gang of adventurers to accomplish his goal of not only cataloging the evil of the land but helping to vanquish it. Party size remains static at five though the roster size grows by loads more. Grinding will be necessary to level those not currently on the front lines but, honestly, if one minded grinding then DRPGs probably aren’t for you now are they? There is little doubt that, perhaps, Aquaplus went a little out of its way to ensure the fanservice level was kept at EXTREME at all times but it doesn’t serve to diminish the experience of pure dungeon crawling delight. No bones about it? This is a legitimate dungeon crawler that does not cut corners, expects players to invest a lot of time and learn the ropes or be prepared to reload from the last save a whole lot. The near hypersexualization of all the female characters borders on crazed at times, but there are loads of genuinely cute moments in between all the panty shots and “accidental” spread-eagle poses. Atlus USA’s edits, here and there, go along way in making sure the game didn’t get hit with the death sentence of an Adults Only rating.
All those “monsters” that inhabit those dungeons Fried and company so thoroughly explore? They also happen to be comprised of 90% provocative lady monsters, fruits (oranges, bananas, and cherries mostly) while boss characters will “reward” players after they’re defeated with some very well crafted art (it is very eroge) but still high quality nonetheless. This is, after all, a niche title for either the dyed in the wool Japanese dungeon crawler fan or for those of us that are, well, otaku. Am I somewhere in the Venn diagram where those two intersect? Sure. Are you? I don’t know but for all the sexy things and exposed flesh there is a great DRPG somewhere within all this anime as anime gets title for the Vita.
Comfort Food RPGs
Those who know the score regarding this genre won’t find a whole lot here that reinvents the wheel but there is something to be said for a game that not only does core mechanics correctly but offers the level of customization necessary to really stoke the flames of min-maxing. There are surprises to be found within each tile of Dungeon Travelers 2‘s familiar environments, somewhat nonsensical (at times) writing and outright absurd levels of eroticism. It won’t set the world on fire, by any means, but it does its job damn well. Great dungeon RPGs aren’t exactly a dime a dozen and yet, somehow, this year we’ve had a whole flock of them. 2015 has been a great year for the DRPG fan and, especially, for those who love playing them on handhelds. The presentation on the Vita is crisp with noticeable upgrades to the original PSP title in regards to its art, textures and spell effects (sparse as they are). It is the perfect sort of “drop in and drop out” RPG that can be ingested in huge chunks or in small bursts over the course of many months. The game still delivers regardless.
Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & The Monster Seal will, likely, have its share of detractors due to the eroge nature of its heroines and the foes they face. It is definitely not a starter title for would-be DRPG enthusiasts, but it isn’t as punishing as some can be. The Platinum trophy is actually fairly easy to come by if one is willing to grind and if you’re an otaku cross dungeon crawler fanatic then you likely already had this on the list anyway. Its art direction is provocative yet quality, sound design with a middling story but the combat and mechanics are stellar. This might be more for those dungeon denizens accustomed to the genre already than most but if one gives it a shot? There’s a great game tucked between all those sexy ladies.
[signoff predefined=”APGN Call to Action”][/signoff]