You wouldn’t be remiss if you took a look at screenshots from Dragon Quest Builders and wrote it off as another Minecraft want-to-be. From the concept of crafting to the block structure of the world, these two games have a lot in common. And yet Dragon Quest Builders seems to bring something new to the table, and it may actually add the one missing ingredient a lot of Minecraft players complain about: a story.
In Dragon Quest Builders you have the goal of rescuing Alefgard which has been captured by the evil Dragonlord. In order to do this, you’ll need to mine resources found in the blocky world around you and craft them into useful items that you will need to fight off your enemies. Yes, yes, it all sounds a lot like a certain other game, but then there are some new layers added which make it sound a bit more interesting.
One of those additions is that the structures you build will get a leveling system. A simple house with walls and a door won’t do much for you, but add to it and it will be upgraded to a full base. This will attract additional NPCs who will then take up residence around you. They will then be useful as they can then craft items for you. As more NPCs join your base, suddenly your simple house has grown into a town.
These non-player characters are another differentiator that will make the game more appealing to some. They will be scattered throughout the world, living in their own houses. Players will be able to interact them to gain items or invite them back to their base. This adds a sense that the world is a living, breathing place and not just a blank canvas for you to create.
So while Minecraft veterans will find a lot that they’re familiar with, there are a few additional hooks that just might draw in players who were turned off by the openness that game allowed. Many complained that there was no surmountable end-goal to achieve and maybe Dragon Quest Builders will provide that additional ingredient.
The game is scheduled for a Japanese release on January 28 on the PlayStation Vita as well as the PS3 and PS4. There are still no announcement for a Western release, but my fingers are crossed.
IGN was able to get some decent hands-on time with it at Tokyo Game Show. You can watch over 18 minutes of gameplay in the video below.