Minecraft is one of the most recognizable games in the world, popularizing crafting and survival games. Dragon Quest is one of the most iconic game series in the world, birthing the entire JPRG genre. What do you get when you combine two unique masterworks? Dragon Quest Builders is what. Well, it isn’t really a crossover game, but it does take the best of both worlds to create a magical and entrancing experience. Read our Dragon Quest Builders PC Review to learn all about this fantastic game and get integral information about this particular version of the game!
You can purchase Dragon Quest Builders right off of the Steam Store! You can also enjoy the fact that it’s at a MUCH lower price than its console counterparts!
Let’s Quest! In Minecraft?
Alright, it’s pretty undeniable that this game apes Minecraft. The blocky aesthetic and crafting, nay the mining and crafting, are all here. However, the actual story and progression are unabashedly Dragon Questian. Dragon Quest Builders is certainly a strange combination, but is that really a bad thing? Is this some uninspired schlock?
I believe a lot of people, jokingly hopefully, view this game as a knockoff or cash grab. If one of these theoretical people is serious, then I must inform them how they are WRONG. This game shows too much love and respect towards its source material. Dragon Quest Builders shows pure adoration towards its own series pedigree and Minecraft. The fusion of mechanics is already extremely well done, as it feels natural. This natural feeling is very obviously derived from a place of love. The gorgeous opening cinematic even makes joyful references to Minecraft with several shots. One of the first people you recruit is even sealed within a classic dirt hut. You can not convince me that this game was made cynically.
A Tried and True Dragon Quest
The game takes place over the course of a few chapters, each one containing new locales, monsters, materials, and stories. Everything builds on top of each other to create a fulfilling JPRG adventure, one that is at least 40 hours long at that. The game also has a killer idea for its plot, as it takes place in an alternate Alfegard (from DQ1) where the Dragon Lord succeeded in his conquest.
The structure itself is most certainly Dragon Quest at its core. You slowly build yourself up, getting new items, improving your gear, sprucing up your town, and helping people every step of the way. Every location is designed, abandoning the random generation of Minecraft in favor of a handcrafted map that lines up with the original world of the very first Dragon Quest. Can’t forget the leveling up! You level up your base by maximizing your points with skillful building. Your character doesn’t gain levels, as “you’re a builder, not a hero”. Don’t forget about the mysterious dreams plaguing your builder. Not to mention the last piece of DQ DNA, which is very important.
Every new chapter forces you to start from scratch, making you consider the themes of hope and making the player experience new trials. Those who understand what I mean are probably DQ fanatics like me. Dragon Quest excels at having a metanarrative that involves a Hero’s values. Something so simple and pure can hide surprising depth. This creates a wonderful feeling of fanservice that even main series masterworks like Dragon Quest XI handled well.
Is PC the Way to Play?
Dragon Quest Builders is already available on many different platforms, including PlayStation 3 (JP only), PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch, and Mobile. Can’t forget PC now! So, this is a game that originally came out in 2016 and on several consoles. Is the admittedly late PC version worth playing?
Short answer: yes. Yes, the PC version of Dragon Quest Builders is very much worth playing in 2024. I’d even say this is the definitive way to play. Of course, the obvious future proofing and possibility of superior hardware compared to consoles that PC has is an obvious boon. However, this version of the game also has the DLC included and features from Dragon Quest Builders 2, all for a reduced price! This makes the PC version, at the bare minimum, the best version purely due to its perfect price-to-feature ratio. I especially love the Big Bash for your hammer; it’s so useful.
Let’s crack open the specifics of the PC version. You get your standard graphics options on top of an already amazing game. These options include uncapped framerates, high resolutions, and various customizable quality options. I personally enjoyed the game at a crisp 2k resolution with a smooth 70-80 fps. Not to mention, with the game loaded onto my Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus, I suffered seconds of loading across my several hours of playtime. Talk about a premium experience. The best part about all of this is that my current setup runs a GTX 1050ti (albeit my CPU outclasses any of the devices the game has been previously released on). I ran the game on the highest settings, at 2k, and never dipped below 60 fps. The same can’t be said for the console versions, even if several of them are satisfactory. I even tried the demo on a PS Vita, and yep. Did not run well at all.
As much as I think that Dragon Quest Builders is a fantastic game and that this PC port is good, there are a few sour spots about it for me. First off, no PlayStation buttons? This one sounds petty, but I mean, most major PC releases these days include at least Xbox and PlayStation buttons. Square Enix’s major PC ports all include this, too, so I don’t understand. I tried out some other versions of the game, and I noticed that the PC version seems to use the Mobile version UI. I find this to be kind of ugly, especially compared to how the consoles all have a nice, tailor-made UI. The last issue I had was that the confirm button was ‘B’ instead of ‘A’. Easy enough to change in the keybinds, right? Well, I made the change and enjoyed many hours of this game, except for when I couldn’t back out of the blueprints screen without using the mouse. Small beans, sure, but I wish there was a little bit more polish. Although, updates could easily iron it out. Fingers crossed!
Dragon Quest Builders is an excellent game. It smartly fuses the crafting elements of Minecraft with the engaging JRPG design of Dragon Quest. Even the aesthetics are beautifully combined to create an appealing world to interact with. The PC version is also the best way to experience Dragon Quest Builders, with customizable graphics options that allow the game to achieve higher spec graphics than its preceding versions and can run the game well even on low-powered systems. Not to mention the DLC and useful features from the sequel have been included to create the ultimate package at a low price to boot! The few quibbles I have can be ironed out through patches, and all of the pros make me forget about my minuscule nitpicks.