August 18, 2015

Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library and the Monster Seal Review for PS Vita

Atlus brings another JRPG stateside from Aquaplus. Want to sink your teeth into 80 hours of character customization and optimization? Just be ready for the M rating and some bizarre characters and read on

Despite appearances, Aquaplus has created a worthy dungeon crawler with plenty of hours of story gameplay, a complex RPG system, and TONS of customization. Every character is of one of 5 main classes (Fighter, Magic User, Maid, Spieler, Scout). At level 15, they can specialize into one of 2-3 subclasses, and then again at level 30, can pick between 3-4 advanced subclasses.  Needless to say, there’s a ton of depth to sink your teeth into, and it gets engaging quickly.

Your intro to the first of your party. Cheap sex jokes and a panty shot. Yes I censored it. 
However, this is all if you can get past a few of Dungeon Travelers 2's (DT2) quirks. You'll notice from the start that the world is populated with busty ladies. Everywhere. And they are preoccupied with snacks and playing with each other and being weirdly provocative. You'll have to get used to the artwork when you're introduced to new women or when you defeat a boss. Most often the girl has tripped and is now exposing a panty shot or something. Really? If that works for you, fine, but it may get distracting to the fun part which is the game mechanics.

A couple of your party members discussing what they do in their free time. 
The monsters you encounter in the dungeons are either weird fruit creatures or the aforementioned females. They have names like dryads or werecats or harpies, but they are all just women dressed up like monsters, most often in revealing clothing.

I still don't know what that green bottle is in front of her. 
So... why are we running around fighting all these fruit creatures and women (and the occasional bear or penguin)? Not really sure. You are "Fried," a scholar who can seal monsters and wants to clear monsters from the land. I think. Fried? Really? That must have gotten lost in translation.

That's a lot of angry fruit.
After spending about 10-15 hours in the game now, I've learned the gameplay is engaging, although you will be forced to grind quite a lot to get your levels up to feel like you can stand a chance in the dungeons. You pick up different team members along the way, 16 in total, and then you can buff up their skills to make them into really specialized classes. Careful though, once you choose a party, you may want to stick with it because non party members don't level up with the rest.

I found her quite funny, actually. The secret classroom gives you tips and tricks on how to succeed. 
Leveling does make a difference. Even just one or two can make a dungeon a lot easier to traverse. Same with applied stats. Really think through your choices, and make use of your save slots to try out some skills to see if they work for you. If not, reload and try a new one.

You run into a bizarre bunch of creatures and characters out there...
Again, this is if you can make it through the inane banter from the girls.

A couple of cool gameplay components are the "Sealing" portions of the game. Once you defeat an enemy, you "seal" it. Once you get enough (9) and when you return to the Library you can create Sealbooks, buffs that increase (or decrease) your skills when you equip them. You also learn info about the monsters, like weaknesses to status effects or elemental attacks.

A list of the sealed monsters you capture
Bosses can be sealed as well to make a singular strong Book for Fried, the main guy.

So how does it all play? Well, it is all 2D graphics, with very little animation. Attacks are just swipes across the screen, spells do explode or swirl on characters but nothing really spectacular. When you dungeon crawl it is very Might and Magic-y. First person perspective but with a stop go march around the dungeon land. You have a map to track your progress and you rely on that pretty heavily to get around. The Vita's sticks aren't used here, either... just the D Pad. It works just fine, and probably better than the sticks, but still, it adds to the "older" feel to the game.

Stats and equip lists for your character
Dungeons are caves, ruins, woods, temples, towers, catacombs... and some have puzzles for you to overcome as you crawl your way through. Switches, traps, pits, warp tiles... there is a fair amount of variation here. Just be aware this is not a vast 3D environment that is open to explore and only about 10 set dungeons that are all linear. The only real freedom is how you use your characters.

You find loot out in the dungeons but you need to "identify" it first before you can equip it. It costs, but you generally make cash for id-ing stuff and then selling it.
The real strategy in this game is to figure out which path to take them. Each class, Fighter, Magic User, Maid, Spieler, Scout, can be upgraded to new classes, and again. I've actually gotten to a point where you can maximize your battle party by arranging your heavy hitting tanks on the front line, your ranged attackers and support crew in the back, and rolling with it.

Yes, dangerous. 
Will you get past the silly feel to the characters? The monsters? The situations? If you can, then you're in for a detailed and engaging fight where your strategy will affect the outcome of every battle.

Although the strongly sexual nature may distract, underneath it all is a solid JRPG that allows for total hands-on customization and strategies. 

Thanks to Atlus for providing a review code!

What do you think, readers? Care to dip into this one? How do you feel about the female portrayals here? Let us know in the comments!

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