Earlier this year, Dragon Quest Builders 2 brought a whole new world of Akira Toriyama-fueled, Minecraft-adjacent adventure to the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. It expanded on nearly everything presented in the original game, providing even more things to craft, enemies to fight, and worlds to explore alone or with your friends. It’s a real treat to see all the ways the sequel manages to build on the ideas from the original game, but if you’re a PC gamer, you never even got to experience the first Dragon Quest Builders game to begin with.
The first entry in the series never came to the personal computer, but while Dragon Quest Builders 2 initially only launched on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, a PC port of the buildathon survival game was promised to come soon after. Now, with the PC port out, keyboard warriors can enjoy a crafting and customising smorgasbord of fun that’s just as polished as its console counterparts.
From our original Dragon Quest Builders 2 review:
The gameplay is expanded and updated in big ways. The basic order of operations remain the same: explore an island, destroy items, get building materials, make new items, and so on and so forth until you’ve got a five-story castle with a secret slime pit and a twenty-foot deep moat. Various quality of life changes make this sandbox more enjoyable to play in, though. New sprinting and cape-gliding actions give you fun ways to explore the island, while an increased building height limit and the ability to swim and explore in oceans give you unparalleled verticality.
Perhaps the biggest change in Builders 2 is the increased focus on community and group-effort. The multiplayer aspect of this is made apparent immediately and you can visit other friends’ worlds to goof around and build structures, though story missions are kept off-limits. In single player, things also expand in a more communal direction as you progress through the game. Villagers can help you build and fight, and the more villagers you recruit, the larger the obstacles you face can become. Battles become massive tower defence struggles between hordes of monsters and your own companions.
Huge and daunting building tasks, meanwhile, can be contributed to by your villagers while you head off to handle other things like tackling tough enemies or farming crops. I enjoyed having a couple of companions assist me in battling baddies or gathering materials, but having huge amounts of characters to keep track of and cooperate with sometimes left me a little overwhelmed and longing for the solitary simplicity of the first game.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 isn’t exactly a demanding game graphically for a half-decent PC – there’s a demo on Steam to try, if you’re not sure. The cutesy, simplified aesthetic of the world means that the game can run easily on any level of hardware, but it’s a tougher cookie for your computer to chew on than vanilla Minecraft would be. If you’ve got a titan of a rig, pushing the game to its limits will produce gorgeous lighting, immersive depth-of-field and sharp shadows that complement the gorgeous art of the world nicely.
Much like Dragon Quest XI, the way that the simple aesthetic of the characters and environments mesh with the much more realistic lighting and shadows creates a truly enrapturing experience that looks just as gorgeous on PC as it does on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.
The game runs just as well as it looks, too. While the initial load-in for the game can be a little bit of a wait, you’re rarely faced with any kind of significant waits or loading screens once you’re in-game. The framerate stays just as consistent, providing a silky-smooth experience whether you’re alone in some grassy plains or swinging a cypress stick at a dozen slimes in a cave. Again, Dragon Quest Builders 2 is hardly the most demanding game out there, but it could struggle at times on the Nintendo Switch, and have exceedingly long load times on that hybrid. It’s reassuring to know that Square Enix managed to put together a solid, stable PC port that made the wait worth it.
In terms of PC exclusives or unique features, there isn’t much to speak of. You’ve got a suite of graphical options that let you tweak the experience in case you need to tone down shadow quality or draw distance. There’s also solid keyboard & mouse support as well as full controller input support, with both control options feeling fluid and well-designed.
The PC version of Dragon Quest Builders 2 does include all of the DLC content that was released for the game, though. That throws in a few random pre-order bonus items from the original release of the game, as well as three major content packs (the Hotto Stuff Pack, Modernist Pack, and Aquarium Pack) that add a bevy of new items to your arsenal to craft and customise as you see fit.
All in all, Dragon Quest Builders 2 feels right at home on PC. Being so heavily inspired by the building genre that was pioneered by Minecraft, it makes me happy to know that the game sticks the landing to provide a solid, unhindered PC experience. I can’t help but enjoy the portability that playing this game on Nintendo Switch provides, but if you’re someone who prefers to doing your castle-building and slime-smacking on a computer, then you’ll feel right at home with this port of Dragon Quest Builders 2.