Review

Dragon's Crown Review

  • First Released Aug 6, 2013
    released
  • PS3

Dragon's Crown presents itself as a simple beat-'em-up, but it's actually a surprisingly deep and action-packed role-playing game.

$26.25 on Amazon
Buy
$0.99 on Walmart
Buy

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

Dragon's Crown may look like a typical beat-'em-up on the surface, but once you sink your teeth into its character customization, equipment system, and wealth of side quests, it reveals itself as an action role-playing game trapped in the shell of a side-scrolling brawler. The compulsive loot hunting and brisk combat that drive Dragon's Crown have also fueled beloved franchises such as Diablo and Dungeon Siege, and there are gimmicks and activities that add variety to the traditional dungeon-crawling experience. Each character class is easy to control but tough to master, and with your ability to craft unofficial subclasses, there are plenty of play styles to experiment with.

The elf is a master with a bow, and lethally quick when unarmed.
The elf is a master with a bow, and lethally quick when unarmed.

It begins with the story of the titular Dragon's Crown, the lost artifact rumored to give the possessor power over ancient dragons. When the king of Hydeland Kingdom fails to return from his search for the crown, you're employed to seek his whereabouts. This is all the setup you get, and after a few scripted story sequences, the story flattens out. The royal family of Hydeland faces typical medieval challenges, such as backstabbing and reconfiguration of power, and though it's their story that gets the ball rolling, their troubles don't rule over your free time for long.

Eventually, it's your desire to fight, develop your character, and discover rare and powerful treasure that keeps you going, with side quests providing new tasks and further information on Hydeland's troubled society. Overall, Dragon's Crown has a light story that's easy to digest, though it's not likely to capture your imagination. For that, look no further than what you see in front of you.

Vanillaware's iconic 2D artwork catches your eye from the start and lends some welcome dramatic flair to your adventure. Subtle gestures bring large, seemingly still images to life during cutscenes, with hulking warriors expanding and shrinking with every breath. Even the tiniest details are animated, fleshing out the surreal presentation. The in-game illustrations are equally rich, but feature more-fluid animations. You can see a similar style used in Vanillaware's past work, but the quality of Dragon's Crown's visuals are a step above the rest.

Make quick work of fledgling orcs from the back of beastly mounts.
Make quick work of fledgling orcs from the back of beastly mounts.

Unfortunately, though there's a lot to love about the art, there's also a lot to dislike. A large number of female characters, including the sorceress and amazon, are rendered in a way that sometimes feels akin to softcore pornography. It's potentially offensive, not to mention lewd, to the point that it feels like a betrayal of the artistic skill on display. It doesn't come close to ruining what's great in Dragon's Crown, but it leaves a stain on the game.

As impressive and potentially distracting as Dragon's Crown's illustrations are, the gameplay is the real star of the show, and the combat provides the most excitement. As your party navigates icy ruins and dank caverns, your primary goal is to defeat the dozens of enemies standing in your way. Where most beat-'em-ups settle for simple combos with different animations to define each character, Dragon's Crown's warriors come with specialized basic maneuvers, on top of their already unique skill trees. Every character can string together combos from a mix of dashing, attacking, and jumping, but only the dwarf can pick up enemies and hurl them across the screen, and only the wizard can turn treasure chests into bipedal wooden sidekicks, for example. The variety of combat experiences leaves no excuses for boredom, and lots of room for creativity.

Say what you will about his height, but the dwarf can pull off a mean frog splash.
Say what you will about his height, but the dwarf can pull off a mean frog splash.

When playing solo, you have the option of fighting alongside non-player character allies. It's an interesting way to provide a simulation of the multiplayer experience, albeit devoid of communication and plagued by imperfect AI. Recruiting these allies is an unconventional but interesting process: you discover bones of fallen warriors in dungeons and resurrect your new friends at the temple in town. The levels and abilities of these fallen warriors scale with your experience, so you're never far from building a formidable squad of fighters.

The combat is entertaining enough, but Dragon's Crown doesn't rest there. There are a number of other things to do while exploring dungeons, such as searching for hidden passages, treasure, and the elusive runes. No matter the size of your party, your plucky, lock-picking sidekick Rannie is always at your service. You can direct him to open treasure chests and locked doors by using the cursor controlled by the right analog stick. That same cursor is used to activate glyphs randomly carved into dungeon walls. When you touch three that go together, they activate a powerful spell. The combinations are difficult to remember due to the number of glyphs and their primitive designs, but pursuing them is completely optional. They can be a distraction for an unfocused warrior, but understanding the various spells and using them to your team's advantage can be an invaluable skill.

Successfully casting rune spells can mean the difference between life and death on the battlefield.
Successfully casting rune spells can mean the difference between life and death on the battlefield.

There comes a point when you need to grind through Dragon's Crown's nine dungeons for experience, but it isn't as boring as it sounds. Each dungeon has multiple detours and a fork in the main road, with a unique boss at either end. Boss encounters become more than straight-up fights by incorporating gimmicks. One stage with a giant kraken forces you to use cannons to destroy its limbs. Another sends your party crashing through the floor above a lava pit if you don't win the fight quickly enough. These added bits of variety go a long way toward making Dragon's Crown feel exciting, when it might otherwise feel repetitive.

Amid all the fighting, you acquire a lot of treasure. All the equipment you find comes with a known rank, but it's not until you pay to have your equipment appraised that you see the remaining details. It's like playing the lottery; you can't win a powerful new weapon if you don't pay to play. But you need to be cautious, since gold isn't just necessary to appraise items. Gold is also used for continues, for resurrecting and recruiting fallen warriors into your fold, and even for garnering stat boosts. The reliance on currency makes every decision worth reconsidering and every bounty that comes in valuable. Unlike allies, gold is neither disposable nor easily replaced.

If you choose to tackle multiple dungeons in a row, a cooking mini-game in between allows you to temporarily boost your stats.
If you choose to tackle multiple dungeons in a row, a cooking mini-game in between allows you to temporarily boost your stats.

Real-life sidekicks are an option too. Dragon's Crown can be played as a co-op experience locally or online, but oddly, outside of local co-op on the PlayStation 3, it's a feature that needs to be unlocked. This doesn't occur until about five hours into the game. The benefits of such a system may be hard to identify at first, but this actually does a good job of ensuring that those who are involved have a certain level of experience under their belt. As always, it's the real-life allies you choose that define the multiplayer experience. Play with selfish players, and you might as well play with NPCs. Join team-oriented folks, and you can employ strategy and teamwork to great effect. Once you've unlocked the harder difficulty settings, you gain access to the player-versus-player coliseum, a simple versus mode that nets the winner a pot of gold for his or her efforts.

When you defeat Dragon's Crown on the normal difficulty setting, you then unlock the hard and inferno settings. Each comes with its own level cap, along with more challenging enemies and more valuable treasure. It's largely a numbers game, with enemies that are simply stronger than before, but you also discover variations on old enemies that introduce new powers and tactics. It's unfortunate that Dragon's Crown's story isn't large enough to support an extensive campaign, but there's no shortage of challenges on hand.

A poignant example of Dragon's Crown's mesmerizing, yet troubled art style.
A poignant example of Dragon's Crown's mesmerizing, yet troubled art style.

With so many goals to pursue, Dragon's Crown is much larger than most beat-'em-ups, and more action-packed than most role-playing games. It's both beautiful and captivating in its style and execution, and overall, it's a great hybrid of two very different genres.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Now Playing: Dragon's Crown Review

Back To Top
The Good
A variety of enjoyable character classes to explore
A deep skill system that lends itself to variety
Boss fights incorporate interesting and challenging gimmicks
Some of the best and most original 2D art around
The Bad
Some offensive and unavoidable character designs
The story feels obligatory and lacks depth
Combatants sometimes blend together on the battlefield
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Dragon's Crown

About the Author

Peter is Managing Editor at GameSpot, and when he's not covering the latest games, he's desperately trying to recapture
809 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for realityshifter
realityshifter

26

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Tired of SJW guys spewing hate just to be politically correct. Am I complaining that the barbarian dude has a 12 pack and Mr. Universe? No. Lets face it that most video games are played by men and we like pretty women because its in our nature. If you dont like that fine, vote with your wallet to not buy the game, but dont try to shove your bullshit snowflake views on me to be pc and attempt to censor the art I LIKE. This is by definition a fantasy game and ALL the characters are exaggerated so deal with it Kevin Van Ord. I think I'll go to IGN from now on since they arent hung up on the sex appeal (offensive??? please....) like this guy is. I for one applaud the Japanese artists for not caving in to the western mentality that "violence ok, but nudity is bad" crap. Keep it coming guys, you are doing it right.

2 • 
Avatar image for 50cratez
50cratez

233

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

the suggestive art in dragon's crown are not offensive. they are beautiful, the women are beautiful. kevin is just interested in the opposite you can tell by the way he speaks.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for astral171988
astral171988

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By astral171988

So basically...the reviewer is into little girls?

2 • 
Avatar image for 50cratez
50cratez

233

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

@astral171988 he's just interested in the opposite you can tell by the way he speaks

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ampiva
ampiva

1251

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 12

User Lists: 0

Remember guys, attractive characters=offensive. Why is gamespot hiring these fucking hacks?

6 • 
Avatar image for 50cratez
50cratez

233

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

@ampiva anita scamkeesian

Upvote • 
Avatar image for huerito323
huerito323

1432

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 1

People complaining about boobs from a made up character?

Have you seen TV lately?? All i see is slutty women advertising everything! They always have to put a half naked women in order to get people's attention, it's ridiculous. Complain about reality, not a damn video game!



2 • 
Avatar image for slainta
slainta

442

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 12

User Lists: 0

Offensive characters?! What the heck is becoming of this world?

3 • 
Avatar image for 50cratez
50cratez

233

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

@slainta female militants workings

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Dschadir
Dschadir

99

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 10

User Lists: 4

Edited By Dschadir

Please not the sexist thing again, please. The moment the characters passed on the screen in front of me I immediately knew I was going to play the sorceress. Partly because of the fact that in fantasy games I like to play as a magic user and partly because of the esthetics.

I am a pretty normal guy and in no way feel that women are merely on this planet for guilty pleasure. I just like the art style and the fact that it's a sorceress class. My wife never cares about the way these characters are portrayed or that I'm usually playing the female character as this is simply a game and NOT real life.

That said, this game looks like Golden Axe reinvented, let the quest for loot begin. Diablo 2 reeled me in a decade ago with the same promises of loot everywhere and this little sucker seems to be doing the same thing all over again.

Yeah, yeah I'm coming, only one more level ...

2 • 
Avatar image for 50cratez
50cratez

233

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

@Dschadir somehow anita scamkeesian disappeared

Upvote • 
Avatar image for XemansIIXII
XemansIIXII

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

it's a great game i think and i love that game play but what they thinking about and why they make a thing like that in a game ?!!

a stupid female charters with non-human things they are just making this world more worst they are really want the males think about the females like they are just a tools and saying this is a freedom ... damn that

a great game like this lost its chance with me

Upvote • 
Avatar image for santinegrete
santinegrete

4118

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 43

User Lists: 0

There's a DLC that let's you change the narrators voice in the options menu, without having to finish the game. And it's free.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ErickPS4
ErickPS4

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Edited By ErickPS4

This game is totally a masterpiece.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ZombieGuy78
ZombieGuy78

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

"story feels obligatory" yeah i hate those games, like, mass effect, when everything is about the story, or heavy rain. who cares if it's a medieval story about swords and magic, you get to kill things!! and who cares who the final boss is, just kill it!! oh... i miss simple games like pong.....

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Speranza318
Speranza318

165

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 24

User Lists: 0

Good thing Carolyn Petit didn't write the review on this one.

5 • 
Avatar image for Ja-nem-ba
Ja-nem-ba

45

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Speranza318 No kidding, she doesn't seem to like P4 just because it has POSSIBLY questionable themes. She'd tear this one apart.

3 • 
Avatar image for garyhal
garyhal

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By garyhal

Super impossibly ripped muscle bound men: Totally normal.

Big breasted women: OMG that's a staaain!! So sexist!


Can you see what I did there. Pathetic. Gamespot is becoming a joke really.



P.S. I'm going to buy this just to support these guys and their freedom of choice and art design.

11 • 
Avatar image for gsbliss
gsbliss

46

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Well, it wouldn't be a Gamestop review without kowtowing to feminists and shaming men for appreciating images of beautiful women.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Rimsa_Laded
Rimsa_Laded

1728

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@gsbliss

They're actually severely body shaming women that look like that IRL too.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Tak666
Tak666

68

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Beta-male game reviewer spotted. Already bought that man-bra?

You can't help Vanillaware artstyle, but to make it a "minus" when it comes to reviewing the game is just bad taste.

5 • 
Avatar image for Savior4Life
Savior4Life

312

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By Savior4Life

LOL! Offensive...? Yet the sorceress and her huge knockers are the screen shot of the video review. LMAO.

4 • 
Avatar image for Vincent_Wolf
Vincent_Wolf

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Offensive design? Surely you don't mean Sorceress, because that would mean you have severe complexes and absolute lack of taste and if THAT design goes to a MINUS of a game, then I don't want to live on this planet anymore. She's gorgeous and stunning. One of the best female characters ever. She alone adds a solid 1.0 point to this game's score.

Amazon, on the other had, could have less muscles....

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ZombieGuy78
ZombieGuy78

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Vincent_Wolf yeah too much muscles. rest another point. oh and the elf is completely ok. BUT the dwarf is too buffed. another poing less. oh and some unlockable art is also offensive. so 9 points less. on that logic, this guy would have a good game scoring a pretty much -2 score

Upvote • 
Avatar image for kickinlikesally
kickinlikesally

64

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I'm just curious how this managed to escape being rated M

Upvote • 
Avatar image for VivaRevolucion
VivaRevolucion

175

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@kickinlikesally

what would you rate it M for?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Rimsa_Laded
Rimsa_Laded

1728

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@VivaRevolucion @kickinlikesally

Well the reviewer obviously wasn't mature to not enjoy it.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ZombieGuy78
ZombieGuy78

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Rimsa_Laded @VivaRevolucion @kickinlikesally M would be for MASSIVE TITS. im offended ´cause i like skinny girls u_u

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Rimsa_Laded
Rimsa_Laded

1728

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@kickinlikesally I know, nobody immature would appreciate this game at all.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Toplinkar
Toplinkar

375

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Sounds terrific, but I thought the asking price to be a bit too much (PS3 & VIta versions).


Might get Soul Sacrifice instead, but I'm on the fence about that one too.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for pyroman9997
pyroman9997

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Toplinkar get this, its more fun then soul sacrfice

Upvote • 
Avatar image for PeterDuck
PeterDuck

1048

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 92

User Lists: 0

They should have ported Trine 1 and Trine 2 onto Vita instead

Upvote • 
Avatar image for phatsanta
phatsanta

142

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

but you know shuwar in our society that's radical and cool!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Julio_Brutal
Julio_Brutal

116

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 14

User Lists: 0

Edited By Julio_Brutal

I don't get it. Why didn't the reviewer like them boobs? It's great how brute the male characters are and the female characters looks awesome with great boobs and stuff. Great game... just would be perfect if it was turn-based rpg/tactical or something, cause beat em ups games seems cheap lately. I love the fact that you can have have 4-player local tho. There aint never anything to play with your friends on ps3... except for rock band and football.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for HyouVizer
HyouVizer

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Julio_Brutal well not all straight men are obsessed with tits, its rare but it is possible lol

if this game was a turn based battle system it would be a day one buy for me personally since i'd need for RPGs for my vita

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Vincent_Wolf
Vincent_Wolf

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By Vincent_Wolf

@HyouVizer @Julio_Brutal Not all men are obsessed with huge boobs, indeed. I don't understand it, but hey, less competition to me. HOWEVER putting this to a MINUS to a game and calling it "offensive" loses this review all credibility. In EVERY normal game, review, everywhere, this would be considered a plus. I had more respect to Gamespot until now.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ANUBISZER0
ANUBISZER0

841

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 0

I have a buddy who hates side scrolling beat'em ups but got this game anyway solely for the breasts. Lmao the things people do.

4 • 
Avatar image for santinegrete
santinegrete

4118

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 43

User Lists: 0

@ANUBISZER0 did he like it?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Atermi
Atermi

65

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Offended by the woman's forms? Oh yeah I'm also very very offended when I see my wife's breasts every time we go to bed.


This hypocritical 'tolerancy' and 'anti-sexism' is really getting over the top nowadays.
5 • 
Avatar image for Bubbline
Bubbline

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Atermi I don't think the reviewer said that he is offended by the curves a woman can have. I think he meant that their exaggeration (to put it lightly) really wasn't necessary in the game. I can understand the idea behind wanting a character to be well-endowed, but in this case they are more than mutant large. I personally don't see this as sexism because all the characters have huge assets, whether they are female or male. It's just... it doesn't add anything to the characters, you know? It's as if they had to add huge boobs because they thought the character wouldn't be interesting enough/played without them.

2 • 
Avatar image for jtmellon
jtmellon

92

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

@Atermi So um do you have any pictures of your wife's fun bags that you can share?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ZombieGuy78
ZombieGuy78

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@jtmellon @Atermi funbags hahahaha that made my day.
gotta go and play with some... ehm... bags.... yeah....

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Rimsa_Laded
Rimsa_Laded

1728

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Offensive and unavoidable character designs?
Your face is offensive and unavoidable.

7 • 
Avatar image for Forgetfulhearer
Forgetfulhearer

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Offensive? Now I HAVE to buy it.

12 • 
Avatar image for IceDefenseGod
IceDefenseGod

3842

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 33

User Lists: 0

"Offensive character designs" *use even more sexual thumbnail than the thing you're complaining about* Really? REALLY? Might wanna research "irony."

3 • 
Avatar image for Marmotas
Marmotas

2943

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

@IceDefenseGod i think "Hypocrite" fits them well.

2 • 
Avatar image for Rimsa_Laded
Rimsa_Laded

1728

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Pilgrim117 I don't see how big boobs can hurt anyone, if anything they'd prevent you getting hurt.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ZombieGuy78
ZombieGuy78

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Rimsa_Laded @Pilgrim117 well actually if they are large enough they hurt on the back of the owner. and if you choke ond them, well it could be harmfull too. so, i dunno

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Toplinkar
Toplinkar

375

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Pilgrim117 Same can be said about any fighting game.

Upvote • 

Dragon's Crown More Info

Follow
  • First Released Aug 6, 2013
    released
    • PlayStation 3
    • PlayStation 4
    • PlayStation Vita
    Dragon's Crown is an online adventure where players are thrust into a fantastical medieval world.
    8
    Average Rating200 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Dragon's Crown
    Developed by:
    Vanillaware
    Published by:
    NIS America, ATLUS
    Genre(s):
    Role-Playing, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence