Dragon’s Crown Pro (Playstation 4 Review)
There’s no denying that some genres have pretty much fallen off the face of the Earth as games evolved, especially when it has come to side scrolling beat’em ups. Many look back on the era of Streets of Rage, Final Fight, and Golden Axe with a great fondness, but as technology progressed these titles gave way to hack’n’slash and action games. Thankfully Dragon’s Crown Pro reminds you why you loved these games so much.
Just like the older games, story is light in Dragon’s Crown Pro. You’re told that the King has disappeared and that he was chasing an item known as the Dragon’s Crown. From there it’s up to you to navigate some sparse political encounters and bludgeon as many enemies that stand in your way while trying to find the crown. While it’s exceptionally brief at times, the story does give you a feel for the world and conveys the relationships of the characters you meet along the way fairly well.
While the story gives you a feel for the world, it’s the art that brings it to life. The upgrade received in the Pro version is exceptional. The colours are deeper and the silhouettes are more refined. Picturesque backdrops seem almost serene as you wage war in the foreground. It’s just a shame that it’s all let down by the hyper masculine design of the male cast contrasted against the hyper sexualised nature of the female cast. At every opportunity it feels like Dragon’s Crown Pro wants to remind you of how big boobs can be as they spill out of whatever armour the women are wearing. They are so desperate to cascade anything that might be remotely sexual that they’ve given a mermaid a big fat ass – an image so surprising that I had to stop and take a screenshot. It’s almost comical at times, but I never quite appreciated just how far it went.
In spite of some of the questionable aesthetic choices, Dragon’s Crown Pro’s moment to moment gameplay is simple and riveting. Utilising a small number of inputs players are able to progress through the campaign with ease if they choose one of the fighters with an ease of use while some more complex characters retain some more complex strategies to reach maximum efficiency. With every successful level up your character gains skill points to spend on more attacks and extensions to their standard strings. These new abilities will up the pace and ability of your fighters, allowing for more flashy combos and bigger damage that makes the end game as every bit as enjoyable as the beginning that will see you all the way through the increasingly difficult modes.
And it’s a wonderful experience to share with friends through couch coop, a feature that’s becoming increasingly rare this generation. Even if the screen can become quite busy, it’s no more invasive than your standard party of 4 (you and 3 AI) and it feels like Dragon’s Crown Pro has been designed with a shared experience in mind. The only slight blemish on its otherwise perfect coop record is that the primary player is the only one to receive trophies and created characters stay within the primary player’s game and cannot be accessed at home if they are made in their save.
Just like Dragon’s Crown Pro, I’ll keep this review short and sweet. It’s a great game that doesn’t overstep its playtime while offering a wonderful experience throughout. Players returning to Dragon’s Crown Pro after playing on the PS3 are able to bring forward their saves and relive the whole experience over again, while new players are in for a treat if they are able to see past the shallow aesthetic design of some of its characters. Dragon’s Crown Pro isn’t just another side scrolling beat’em up that looks to capitalise on nostalgia, it’s a love letter to that period that doesn’t feel out of place in the modern realm.