Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & The Monster Seal
Publisher: Atlus USA
Platform: PS Vita
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Price: $39.99 US – Available Here $59.95 AUS – Available Here
First person dungeon crawlers have been on the rise with countless titles being released in the West. Some of these titles come from well-known developers who have had quite a few successful titles but other titles need something to help set them apart from the rest of the growing crowd. That is where Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & The Monster Seal comes in as it features a title dripping with fan service. With almost every enemy being a monster girl in some form and plenty of risqué CGs is there more to Dungeon Travelers 2 than eye candy?
Five hundred years prior to the start of Dungeon Travelers 2’s storyline the demon king that commanded swathes of monsters was defeated. While the demon was gone and humanity settled into hundreds of years of peace, monsters still roamed the land in diminished numbers. That is where people known as Libras come in, as they possess the ability to seal monsters away in magic books to remove them from an area for good. Since Libras have almost no combat ability whatsoever, they play the role of a commander leading a party through danger.
In the present time, Fried is a Libra fresh out of the academy who is quickly assigned to the extremely understaffed Royal Library. Alongside a well-meaning but easily flustered boss he spends his time here researching his favorite thing in the world, the monsters that continue to threaten humanity. Shortly after arriving he is given his first mission to investigate a cave where he finds that his first companions happen to be friends from the Royal Military Academy named Melvy and Alisia.
After a bit of exploring the group finds that a strange shrine has been destroyed by an exceptionally strong creature, leading into a quest that will find the group attempting to prevent the world from falling into ruin. Along the way Fried’s group will grow to quite a large number as there are over a dozen different party members that eventually join the fight and all of them have unique little personalities and pieces of story to go along with them.
There are many times while exploring a dungeon that a character in the party may put the group to a quick stop to discuss something related to the most recent battle or about the environment they are exploring and there are plenty of times that, even if you didn’t finish a dungeon, returning to the main base will trigger a scene with one of the girls where they usually end up growing closer with Fried in some way.
While the characters in Dungeon Travelers 2 are plentiful and well-written, the core storyline is unfortunately a bit of a slog. Due to the nature of the title being a dungeon crawler there are many times that the player will need to spend quite a large amount of time adventuring before finishing off an area and even then the story moves along at a slow pace that is also rather predictable, especially given the first few twists that the title throws your way, making the character interactions a great way to break up the predictable story and breath some fresh life into the game from time to time.
In Dungeon Travelers 2 players will spend most of their time crawling through dungeons in first person where the map will automatically be filled out as you progress through the various rooms and hallways. There are a number of different traps, pitfalls, invisible walls, one-way doors, and even teleportation tiles scattered throughout certain dungeons and it is worth noting that traps will not always hit all members of the party as it is possible for characters to avoid receiving damage or negative status effects. In another little change to the standard formula, if a character is afflicted with a status effect, such as silence or freeze, they can recover over time by walking through the area.
As you head around the various dungeons players will randomly encounter monsters, though most monster fights do seem to occur after going through a previously unopened door, and all of these battles take place in the same first person perspective. With a party limit of five that can be ordered into two rows, players must make use of a turn based combat system to defeat their opponents using standard attacks, skills, and items or potentially run away if a fight is too risky.
Splitting the party into two rows allows for the various weapon ranges, some of which only work from the back row or the front row, to be more effective while also diverting attention away from some of your squishier party members. The front line fighters generally will be attacked the most though enemies can still target party members in the second row, just far less often and usually for reduced damage. This is essential due to one feature that I haven’t seen in an RPG in quite some time, almost all spells have casting times.
When a character is ordered to cast a spell on their turn, they will begin chanting for a set time, often pushing their potential spell behind an enemy’s turn which can leave healing spells ineffective if they target an already weakened party member. This means that players will need to plan accordingly with items as relying only on spells can be rather dangerous, especially since chant times can be interrupted entirely causing the spell to fail. The opposite is also true as it is possible to force an enemy to stop chanting a spell in similar fashion.
As you go through the game your party will gain levels and obtain growth points that can be spent on various skills ranging from passives that provide simple stat buffs or cause the character to counter-attack from time to time to various skills. While the initial group make up will consist of a fighter, a mage, a spieler, an interesting maid class, and a scout, they can all change classes upon reaching level fifteen. At this point players can choose between two path lines for a character’s growth to go down while the level thirty specialty class unlocks even more special abilities.
There are plenty of special ways to focus on developing your party and with the amount of characters that eventually join Fried’s group there is plenty of ways to fiddle around with your party and come up with a group that works well for any given situation. Of course if you happen to make a mistake, you can also choose to level reset at certain increments and properly experiment with a class. It is worth noting however that only characters brought with you into dungeons actually earn experience points so this may mean that neglected characters who are then brought into a fight will be at a severe disadvantage, requiring some grinding to make them useful.
Grinding is a rather tedious task in Dungeon Travelers 2 as even standard opponents can be rather dangerous if taken too lightly. It is worth noting that players can save anywhere in a dungeon which is a nice touch and something to remember considering it is entirely possible to find yourself quickly losing to a large group of enemies that happened to catch you at the wrong time. This is especially true when it comes to facing off against a boss as most boss opponents completely overshadow the standard enemies that players fought on the way in and are usually accompanied by a number of minions which means that if you go in without preparing (which is made a bit easier since buffs can be cast before entering a fight), then you will find yourself overpowered and facing a game over screen.
Alongside level grinding players will also need to grind for equipment all equipment drops need to be identified before being equipped and while some may be rather useful, other items can be entirely useless and since you cannot use them until returning to the base there are occasionally some long treks to be had (though shortcuts can be unlocked) simply to equip better gear.
Visuals & Audio
As mentioned in the start of this review Dungeon Travelers 2 is not a game that those who are offended by a little skin being shown off. Outside of anthropomorphic fruit, nearly every monster in the game is a scantily clad monster girl and while there is no actual nudity shown off, certain boss enemies do end up in a rather disheveled looking state before Fried seals them away. There are a number of other ecchi CGs that crop up from time to time with the girls that join Fried but none of these are really over the top and provide plenty of eye candy to appreciate.
Now that that is out of the way, the standard visuals are fairly standard. While there are a number of enemy sprites in the game and the characters are all very nicely detailed, the actual dungeons are rather bland looking with plenty of repetitive hallways. Battles mostly feature static imagery with the occasional spell effect being flung around while the dungeon variety is fairly low.
This release of Dungeon Travelers 2 only features the original Japanese voice track but thankfully this is handled quite well as the voice actresses match their characters’ personalities perfectly and there are plenty of subtitles to go along with the dialogue. As far as the background music is concerned, most of the soundtrack is unsurprising for a game such as this but it does its job well enough.
Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & The Monster Seal’s storyline is bogged down with plenty of slow moments where players will need to grind through very uninspired dungeons to progress through the game, however it makes up for this with plenty of great character moments spread throughout the title to lighten-up the experience and provide depth to the girls who join Fried in his journey. Combine this with solid combat mechanics and some great looking sprites and CGs and you have a title that not only manages to deliver a satisfying dungeon crawling experience but one that can stand on its own even if you may not like how ecchi it can be at times.
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