Review by MCantrell
"A return to the Glory Days of DQM2 on the GBC"
While DQMJ was a wonderful game, it had some flaws that pushed it back. Information was hard to come by about just what skills did, for example, and it retained the classic Dragon Quest rule of "You must be at a specific place to save."
All of that is fixed in DQMJ2. The game has an innovative new icon based menu system that allows for saving and going into Tag mode at any time. When you get a skilltree, you get a detailed and complete list of the entire tree. And the game is much faster to play, with the game rapidly ramping up to higher ranks while not becoming inaccessible.
The monsters are key to the game, and DQMJ2 fixes the biggest complaint about Joker 1 -- the monster roster has been expanded to over 300, many more than even the classic Gameboy titles. While a large number of these are pallet swaps, they are all based on other monsters from Dragon Quest history. Running into not only a Mimic, but also a Cannibox and a Pandora's Box. Each of these has different abilities, skills, and resistances -- they may look very similar, but they are unique monsters in and of themselves.
While the game lacks the "grotto" system of the GB/GBA DQM games and DQ9, it does have an extensive amount of randomization. Each screen in DQMJ2 has a ton of different monster layouts, often with rare spawns on each screen. While the map stays static, it doesn't feel as static as DQMJ1 did.
One other major addition, and frankly amazing change, is that monsters have a size. This is similar to Dragon Quest Monsters: Caravan Heart, although without the human party members. You have a total of 3 party slots, and a big monster can take up to 3 slots -- for the truly giant monsters, they are a party in and of themselves.
For example, my current party is a Liquid Metal Slime (Size 1) and a King Leo from Dragon Quest 3 (Size 2). The King Leo hits like a truck, hitting 3 times each attack for 150+ damage a swing. His stats are capped above 999, meaning that while he takes up two party slots, he holds his own. This is useful in battles where, say, AOE damage would normally do 150 damage to 2 monsters, instead he takes 150 damage and only 150 damage, making for easier healing.
The Wifi has been expanded. It's now possible to battle via Friend code, as well as do real time battles with strangers. The tournament also has made a return.
All in all, this is an excellent DQM game and has finally returned the game to the glory of DQM2. A must purchase for any fan of the monster hunter genre.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 08/11/10
Game Release: Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 (JP, 04/28/10)
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