The breasts get in the way. Dragon’s Crown’s 30GG bosoms have made any discussion of the game impossible without first acknowledging that, yes, those things are preposterous. While art director George Kamitani’s assertion that he exaggerates male characters’ masculine characteristics to the same extent holds water, the saucy fairy and spread-legged female monk don’t help combat the suggestion that Dragon’s Crown is wantonly objectifying women.
But this is what fantasy art does, and Kamitani’s style of fantasy is at least unique in a way that his game isn’t. Diablo by way of Final Fight, Dragon’s Crown is a fourplayer battle through 2D dungeons hiding loot chests and bosses with hit points in the tens of thousands.
There’s depth in the combo and levelling systems but the screen is so flooded with allies – four human-controlled characters and two NPCs – that there’s little more to combat than facing in the right direction and hitting with your strongest combo until something dies. Like Diablo it’s best enjoyed in the company of other players, but it’s not until hour six that the game opens up its online functions and branching levels, which adds life to its dungeons and structure to its combat.
Dragon’s Crown offers a playground just large enough to justify repeat play, enough loot to make the fight worthwhile, and a toolset broad enough to allow players to express themselves, and look good – if absurdly proportioned – while they do it.
Dragon’s Crown is out now on PS3 and Vita in Japan and the US. It is released in Europe on October 11. Vita version tested.