I love Dragon’s Crown. No, perhaps it would be better stated that I love, love, LOVE Dragon’s Crown (have to get all three love’s in there). Vanillaware’s incredible beat’em-up-based RPG absolutely captured my heart as I stated in my review of the PlayStation 3 version
The same time that I was playing through the console iteration of the game, I was also taking my saved progress on the road with the Vita version as well. There should be no doubt about it:the two games are positively identical on the portable and home consoles. It is the exact same game regardless of which version you happen to pick up. To be perfectly honest, when comparing the two, I might actually give a slight edge to the Vita version of the game.
I am not going to spend a whole lot of time talking about the details of the Dragon’s Crown experience, as I talked about them at length in my original review. What we are going to do here is talk about the slight variations that exist between the two versions; slight isn’t even the right term, their are miniscule. The Vita version has everything that the PS3 version does: all the same character classes, missions, levels, and multiplayer options. While it would seem like the perfect opportunity for cross-platform play to be implemented, Vanillaware has chosen not to implement it into the experience. Sadly, Vita players must play with Vita players, and PS3 players with PS3 players. Your save progress, however, can be easily transferred between the two if you pick up both versions of the game.
There are two main differences between the two releases and they are really tiny but should be mentioned. the first is the visuals. One happens to be for the better, while the other is for the worse. On the “worse" side, the Vita version, while downright gorgeous in its own right, isn’t quite as impressive as its big-screen brother. This isn’t a fault of the system or its power, but of the size of the system’s screen. All of the characters and backgrounds are every bit as detailed as the console, but you just don’t get a chance to appreciate them in motion as much on a small, 5-inch screen. I am still in awe of this game in motion, but to appreciate its full beauty, you need to experience it in a very large screen.
The other difference, which leans in favor of the portable release, lies in the control scheme behind the “pointer”. In my review
of the PS3 version, I talked at length about a pointing system that was driven by the right analog stick that allowed you to give instructions to Rannie the Rogue, AI-controlled party members, or to interact with objects in the background such as runes and hidden treasures. You can do the same thing on the Vita, utilizing the right analog stick. However, you can also use your finger on the system’s front touch panel. The difference between the two is like night and day.
Words cannot describe just how convenient it is to simply place your finger on your desired command as needed during the heat of battle. It is much easier to wrangle up the enemies into a controlled-area of the screen, clearing a path for Rannie to unlock a treasure chest or door. It feels very “second nature” and has helped me to appreciate the entire pointer-system even more. Of course, this is only possible on the Vita compared to your television, but trust me, it makes a world of difference, especially in the midst of a brawl. The pointer-system isn’t the only place that the touch screen is implemented. All of the game’s menus and various interfaces can also be controlled using the front touch panel. This is smart integration of the Vita’s capabilities; the inclusion isn’t forced but simply offered as a second, and ultimately, superior option.
As I said before, there is just a ton to offer in this game that I could rave about it forever. As it turns out, thanks to being able to play it both on the road and at home, I can play it forever too.There are still some minor issues to be found in the game, such as the occasional slowdown that plagues pretty much every game when things go crazy on the screen, but those hardly ruin the experience. Simply put: if you are someone who likes to get good value out of the money that you spend, enjoy a good beat’em style adventure, or love deep RPG-oriented loot gathering and customization, don’t hesitate to pick up this game. And, don’t hesitate to pick up the portable version over the console release.
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* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
Dragon’s Crown is a masterpiece regardless of the system that you choose to play it on. The visuals don’t quite have the same “awe” on the smaller screen, but it still looks amazing anf the touch-screen integration for the pointer is implemented perfectly.
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