It’s becoming a bit of a habit to discuss the visual appearance of many of the games that we cover on Vita, in fact it often feels like that despite its portable nature the Vita isn’t a system you’d want to be seen in public with. Which is a huge shame, its a disappointment that developers fill their games with fan service in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator (both in their home nation and here) just so they can share a few units. It’s led to many enjoyable titles looking rather homogenised with every game featuring the same cookie cutter characters, and unfortunately Dungeon Travellers 2: The Royal Library and the Monster Seal is no different. Its full of female characters that fit all of the stereotypes that have become apparent in Japanese RPG’s and anime over the past decade or so, and with you playing the only male character it soon becomes apparent where the games focus will go as its attempts to build relationships between the characters.
With all of that out of the way, and that is indeed this games, and many others available on this system, weakest point, lets head on to the game itself. Again, its hard to ignore that we have another first person dungeon crawler on our hands here, which whilst an enjoyable genre in its own right, has also become over-saturated on the handheld systems.
Where Dungeon Travellers 2 differs from other games of its ilk is that it doesn’t appear to want to punish you with a solid wall that comes completely out of the blue, it eases the player in with dungeons that gradually become larger with slightly more difficult enemies and whilst it still challenges you and you may feel like stepping back to grind a lower dungeon for a while, it never really makes you feel completely out of your depth. Although it does take an absolute age to explain any and all of its different options and setups. The most interesting of which kind of encourages you to grind. Whenever you battle your party will effectively absorb the creatures you have defeated, once you have absorbed enough of one type of monster you will then be able to create a Seal Book for one member of your party to equip, these Seal Books will either offer a stats boost or some buffing element. They can also have a negative effect on party members too which you can use to your advantage if you understand how.
The battle system takes place over two rows, encouraging you to place weaker characters at the back and change formation depending upon the need for ranged characters, it all feels a little more inclusiv e and on the fly than other titles in the genre. Magic attacks often have to be charged, thus balancing out just how strong they are, they can also be interupted if the charging character is attacked before they can cast their spell, encouraging you to close ranks and defend that party member. Its for this reason that Dungeon Travelers 2 feels really well balanced as enemies dont tend to be extremely difficult just on a stats level if you build and use your party effectively, something thats been sorely missing from a lot of RPG’s for some time now.
In conslusion then, Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library and the Monster Seal suffers from many of the tropes that have really heavily infected the genre over the past few years, its unfair to punish this one title because of that, but by the same token it manages to re-introduce an enjoyable battle system and further entries into the genre ought to take heed of what it does do right. Its just a huge shame that its rather heavily weighed down in over-explanation, lengthy (and unamusing) dialogue and fan service.