Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal Review
Platform: PS Vita
Publisher: Atlus USA
Release Date: August 18th, 2015
A review copy has been provided by Atlus.
Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal is a hard, but well-designed Dungeon Role Playing Game developed by STING. You may know STING for their other games such as Yggdra and Rivera on PSP, and most recently HyperDevotion Noire on Vita. They are actually working on the sequel to this game Dungeon Travelers 2-2 in Japan right now which will come out in 2016.
The story of Dungeon Travelers 2 takes place about 400 hundred years since the Demon God’s defeat. Tremors have been occurring where monsters have been reported to be appearing. So, Fried a hard working Libra (a job class designed to seal monsters) working at the Royal Library (an organization designed to keep the monster outbreaks in check) is tasked with finding out what’s going on. This is because the aforementioned tremors have been becoming more and more frequent meaning more and more monsters are appearing. However, he has no combat experience so he has joined with the Order (another organization designed to keep monsters in check) because both the Royal Library and the Order are currently understaffed due to the amount of tremors.
Story aside (although it’s decent in its own right), the characters are pretty charming and lovable. Fried, our main character, for instance, would rather work the field despite having no combat experience so he can study monsters rather than look through books. Lilian is led to believe she’s essentially the physical manifestation of bad luck and all who come near her are in for a horrible time. The best character in the game though is Beard. A talking bear that does nothing but talk in parodies and break the 4th wall to teach you how to play the game. He’s absolutely wonderful.
The game is in a visual novel format so there really isn’t anything to explore outside of its dungeons. The Royal Library is your main hub, this is the place where your store, tutorials, party management, and other things take place. It is from here that you have the ability to select the dungeon you are going to explore.
Now, let’s get into the nitty gritty. DT2 is a DRPG meaning the game is designed for first person view. Dungeon crawling is tiled based meaning one step north equals one step to the north filled in your map as it’s completely blank when you enter a dungeon. If you step on a trap, step on a ladder, find treasure, etc. the map will respectively fill in that blank tile with the corresponding event.
In terms of battles, Fried doesn’t actually fight, he orders his teammates to make moves. Fights are handled in the typical turn-based JRPG fashion in which there is a turn order and you have normal attack and magic commands. However, most magic spells have a casting time to them, including healing, so strategize carefully otherwise you’ll find yourself in a deep hole. One shot hits are very common (and I mean VERY common) if you aren’t prepared.
This game can get rough. Very rough. Some of my friends died in the tutorial dungeon when I had them try it out. Even as you progress through the game, if you let an enemy cast one of its magic spells (unless you take out the foe or land a critical hit before the spell is complete), expect someone to die. You have no idea how much that cost me while playing this. Heck, when facing the second boss I judged the order wrong and had one character standing, when three turns earlier I had a full party of three. Even with normal enemies, if multiple foes are chanting at once, you have to hope that they don’t target your own spell users otherwise they’re as good as dead. Everything two shots or flat out kills them. What’s funny though, is that early on in the game, I found a weapon that actually had a small chance of automatically defeating an opponent. So while the game might seem unfair due to high damage output caused by an opponent, it does give you room to breathe from time to time. However, finding that was completely random but at the time it truly felt like a saving grace.
When you level up, you don’t automatically get new skills. You get points that you can build up to unlock new skills in your skill tree and upgrade them. Keep in mind, however, that just because you’re upgrading a skill doesn’t mean your casting time will go down because the character is technically getting good at it. There are times when it actually goes up, so choose wisely in what you want to upgrade. Eventually you can also upgrade their class as well as regress their levels if you don’t have the build you wanted.
As mentioned earlier, Libras are a job class that seal enemies. That said, every enemy has a purpose. After a certain amount of times you’ve sealed an enemy you get a sealbook. What kind you get depends on what enemy you’ve defeated. Remember when I said that this game can kill your spell users quickly? Well there is a sealbook that can lessen their chance of being attacked by an enemy and another that increases that chance of being attacked that can be got super early on. These abilities and stat increases/decreases goes the same way for Grand Seal Books too. Although, only Fried can hold the Grand variant which can be gotten from bosses. So bosses aside, it would truly be best to farm enemies to see just what kind of sealbook you get. It might be useful later on.
Moving on to graphics and sound, this game looks great. The monsters are all unique looking and feel like they belong in their respective areas so nothing looks or feels out of place. Same with the music, it compliments the dungeon and current tone of the game. Everything just fits in a nice package. This game honestly has few blemishes. Its biggest one, which I find a nonissue, is that the game is sexual. Not really in tone or really on purpose. But it’s just lewd at times. When you beat a boss you’re greeted by a somewhat sexual image. Granted, yes, the previous game was also done this way so it’s to be expected which is fine. But fact is, the game actually had four images edited to be allowed here in the west. While the ones I’m showing you aren’t too bad, it does get much worse than this.
Overall, I really enjoyed playing this game. It’s definitely not the DRPG gateway by any means or someone looking for a casual to go through. But, if you can brave the storm that is the difficulty and don’t mind lewd things, you’re in for a very good time filled with a really funny script and characters. It’s truly a game worth playing through and through.
+ EVERY party member is useful
+ Funny dialogue and character interactions
+ Experimentation is valued
– Game might be too sexual for some
-If you’re not up for a hard game, you’re going to die. A lot.