Dragon Pals Review
5 Overall Score
Light-hearted content and comedic value, sure to engage younger audiences
Same old automated combat, low quality graphics in places
We recently took some time out to try Dragon Pals, the fantasy-based MMO RPG from R2 Games were players choose between three different classes and go on some epic adventure and, in the process, meet some Dragons along the way. The game is a browser-based free to play MMO and, in many ways, shares a similar style and features set with other titles that R2 Games publish revolving around a Battle Ranking mechanic where players earn gear, level up and build up their team as they progress through the game unlocking more of the story and gaining access to new features as they progress.
Stepping into the game for the first time we got to choose between the three different classes, both of which had a male and female character associated with them which, as is common for R2 Games RPG titles, could not be customised and players simply take on the role of the character in the story. We chose the male Ranger and began our adventure, the game opening up with a Princess being attacked by some weird cat type humanoids and she’s about to be carved up a treat she sends out a little prayer to her God: cue our arrival.
This is where the comedy tries to set in, our hero as the main catalyst, and we emphasise “tries”. For younger tween audiences, which in all honesty these games really do seem to be targeted to, some of the cheesy jokes and the one-liners could rise a smile or two but for all is it just felt kind of odd and was funny but not in the way the developers probably intended.
Combat is, as ever, automated and whilst we do unlock new powers and abilities these take on the same premise as any gear that we may gain access to and simply allows us to do more damage with a different special effects animation. No doubt later in the game combat becomes a little more challenging, but at this stage it was the classic grind to get through the early game content to unlock your features so you can start playing the game is intended.
There was one moment that piqued our interest which is where we were given the option to help the Princess, prompted with a “Should I help her?” pop-up and the options “A. No and try to sneak away” or “B. Yes! For great justice!”, and so we thought some interesting branching plotlines with player choices might be involved. Unfortunately, even picking Option A she still responded with asking for help with a response that seemed like a crowbar was used to fit it in with our choice (presumably exactly the same response if we are chosen Option B).
We then pretty much find a huge almost human sized egg that our ”Hero” decides he wants to eat, then even when it hatches into a speaking sentiment Dragon baby he doesn’t seem at all put off and is happy that now he has meat to eat. It was just weird.
Combat progresses for a while with our new Dragon Pal helping decimate the enemy in more automated battles and helping him prove his worth thus keeping him off the menu. Whilst the dialogue was pretty cheesy it did feel like it was forming a decent relationship between the characters for more story driven content making them feel like real companions, the slapstick discourse and exchanges between the NPC’s and Hero do bring them to life a little bit more than other RPG’s do is clear to see the game is taking a much more light-hearted approach to the story and not taking itself too serious.
Where the gameplay falters the graphics more so, with some serious pixilated issues in certain areas where the background either didn’t render properly always just about the design, though the sound was far worse and the music sounded like some old school 80s cartoon with the original quality only recorded with a potato. Seriously, in this day and age with the gaming industry there is no excuse for having such low quality music and sounds.
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