PAX West Quick-Look: Dragon Quest Builders

When I met up with Fusionx yesterday at PAX West, he was already immersed deeply in a slew of upcoming titles from Square Enix. Thanks to his almighty powerful influence, he was able to grab me a demo station at the developer’s media booth to try my hand at an upcoming Dragon Quest spinoff, Dragon Quest Builders.

Unfortunately, due to other appointments, I only ended up spending about a half-hour with the game, but I wanted to share some of my first impressions…because they were quite interesting.

Right off the bat, Builders opens with a throwback scene to the original Dragon Quest, with the evil Dragonlord shown on screen in first-person, offering you the chance to rule the world with him. I though this was a neat little tuch for the intro, but after this, I was quickly shuffled off to the game proper.

Builders is played from a third-person perspective, with you taking control of the silent protagonist Bildrick. Thanks to the interactions of other characters, we quickly come to learn that Bildrick is supposed to be somewhat of a sarcastic asshole who doesn’t take anything too seriously.

A mysterious heavenly voice reveals to the protagonist that he is the only person in the world of Alefgard that has the ability to build items from raw materials. Everyone else has lost this ability…for some reason. After a quick and simple tutorial, Bildrick finds himself in a barren field where a city once stood.

From here, our main character is tasked with rebuilding the city, and then the world. This is where I ended up learning that I wasn’t really playing Dragon Quest, but rather, a third-person reskinned version of Minecraft.

Seriously, just about everything here seems to be pulled wholesale from the stupidly-popular indie title. You break bricks and environmental objects to turn them into collectible icons, which you can then use to build anything you want. Builders adds a bit of its own twist in that you can build purpose-specific structures by following blueprints, but even with that, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’ve seen all of this before.

Like I said, I only got the chance to play the game for around thirty minutes, so I only just barely scratched the surface. However, I can’t really say that I left impressed. The gameplay is solid (although the block-placement controls are occasionally awkward), but from what I gleaned from this opening scenerio, there isn’t much unique here.