Dragon’s Crown Pro is a breath of fresh air. Mixing traditional Dungeons and Dragons, Streets of Rage, and JRPG stat leveling- Dragon’s Crown Pro is probably the most ambitious beat-em-ups in the modern era. First released on the PlayStation 3 and Vita in 2013, the original game titled: “Dragon’s Crown” was lost in the sea of the transition towards next-gen. Which brings us to 2018. 5 years later, Dragon’s Crown Pro is that very same game with updated visuals in 4K/60fps and it’s opened up to a whole new audience on PS4.
Booting up the game your greeted with the familiar Euro-anime-pastel aesthetic Vanillaware is famous for. Taking it’s inspiration from arcade days yore- Dragon’s Crown Pro is Vanillaware/Sega’s attempt at taking the formula and amping everything you loved about the genre to 11. A character select screen opens you up to multiple selectible fighters from Fighter, Amazon, Elf, Dwarf, Wizard and Sorceress.
The next thing you’ll notice is that beauty isn’t skin deep. There is a rich sprawling story that is fully voiced. The atmosphere was not skimped on whatsoever. The game is set in a medieval fantasy world that’s packed with Dungeons. Pushing forward, players are sent on quests – aka levels – and are encouraged to play multiplayer.
Don’t have a friend to play with? The game actively gives you NPC’s to play with. Making levels both engaging and strategic in your approach. Gameplay is kept fresh with a wealth of unlocks. Characters have all sorts of abilities, power ups, and stats in tiers that can be leveled up via the adventurers guild. This hybrid RPG / Beat-em-up system is something that has been done before, but never to this extent. It is both grand- and deep, and can offer players hours upon hours if they choose to unlock all abilities and character specialties.
You’ll have access to Morgan’s Magic Item Shop which is in the main area of the game, you can buy potions, bags and other useful items. You can also sell items to Morgan and she can also orepair any broken weapons or accessories. Gold can be obtained throughout the dungeons, you’ll also have an AI companion named Rannie, he has the ability to open locked doors and treasure chests found scattered throughout the dungeons. You can control Rannie using the trackpad feature on the dualshock 4 controller.
You can earn skill points and learn new skills at the adventurers guild, you can also accept quests or turn in quests for rewards. The adventurers guild has an art gallery so you check out some of the cool stuff you unlocked throughout the game.
The musical piece fits the mood of the Norse meets adventure aesthetics. This is classic Vanillaware where mood pieces meet bombastic crescendos. Combined with the voiced dialogue, it really shows how much effort went into the audio design. When it comes to susbtance – given the diversity of characters, strong narrative chops, and oodles of gameplay combo possibilities- Dragon’s Crown Pro is a game- that today in 2018- stands out as one of the most memorable Beat-em-ups in the gaming market.