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Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal review

Dungeon Travelers 2 (1)

Polarized pundits will tell you why you shouldn’t buy Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal. Self-appointed virtue cadets and page-view pursuers have complained about the game’s content, finding the Aquaplus-developed title to be morally repugnant, likely without even playing the game.  Ironically, there’s another faction advocating a boycott because Atlus’ modified four images from the original version, which the publisher did in an attempt to bring the title in line with American sensibilities. Much like in politics, the positions of these extremists implores rejection.

In reality, unless you’re at the threshold of tolerance for dungeon crawlers (admittedly, the just slightly superior Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight was released two weeks ago) or fervently opposed to seeing a bit of hand-drawn eroticism, there are very few reasons why the title isn’t worth an eighty-hour interval of your leisure time.

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Sure, Dungeon Travelers 2 doesn’t give much motivation behind lead character Fried Einhard’s corridor skulking adventurer. The game’s prologue reveals that’s he’s academic, amiable, and charismatic enough to persuade a band of female explorers to join him across a journey of increasingly dangerous labyrinths. If anything, his indistinct background fosters identification with the player, while his cohorts receive the bulk of exposition. And wisely, The Royal Library & the Monster Seal doesn’t impose long strengths of dialogue on players. Errands are issued, feelings are expressed, and rapport is nurtured – all without the verbosity that is customary in the genre. Conversation between party members can happen during exploration, which is just another smart design decision to help quicken the game’s pace.

Credit should be given to Atlus’ localization, which seamlessly mixes fourth-wall-rupturing humor, obscure references (yes, even Starship’s “We Built This City” is referenced), and double entendre. You can tell the team had fun bringing this one over. Even some of Dungeon Travelers 2’s item descriptions are entertainingly glib.

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With introductions out of the way, Fried and company set off to explore a succession of mazes. At first, navigation is effortless, making you wonder why Aquaplus felt the need to include auto-mapping. But before long, the design decision becomes obvious, as multi-level catacombs transform into intricate entanglements teaming with pits and invisible walls. Naturally, investigation is broken up by the occasional random encounter or foreshadowed boss battle.

Much like the game’s early skulking, there’s a deceitful simplicity to conflict. At its core, combat retains role-playing tenet, asking players to construct a team that’s formed with fighters in the front, mages in the back. Interaction with enemies involves the traditional trifecta of attacking, using skills, or defending. But slowly, Dungeon Travelers 2’s skirmishes concede strategy. Early on, I outfitted a fragile magic-user with a nurse’s cap, which allowed for the recovery of HP and skill points after each turn. Doing so, I learned that prolonging confrontations could prove advantageous, allowing the character to recoup resources and assist the party. Later, another class, the Maid showed her capability by tearing through enemies with zero-point spells.

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Dungeon Travelers 2 one kink on convention is with the game’s antagonists, with trolls and slimes giving away to old-fashioned T&A. Beyond a selection of quizzically anthropomorphic fruits, the bulk of baddies are meticulously drawn women. These portraits tend to be the highlights during combat, as battles mostly static images punctuated by bit of Pokémon-like pugnaciousness. Expectedly, it’s taking down a boss that offers the game’s best rewards, with baddies revealing a new, decidedly less-clothed side.

Although the images could foster a bit of discomfort in public spaces, with stills of side boob here, a hint of camel-toe there, there’s on-screen for a relative small percentage of The Royal Library & the Monster Seal screen time. Condemning the game for them is the equivalent of denouncing a film or play for a brief nude scene. In context, they’re a relatively minor part of the game. Most of the time, players will be looking at rocky dungeon walls or giant mazes cleaved out of flora.

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In execution, players will certainly spend more time at Dungeon Travelers 2 home base or in the menu that’s available during any expedition. Certainly, there’s a lot of flexibility with your characters. What starts with five basic classes, forks once- offering a couple addition sub-class routes before splitting again for advanced specializations. Additional flexibility is allotted through the option to change classes after reaching certain levels as well as resetting a character so you can re-spend their skill points.

Likewise, defeating or ‘sealing’ opponents comes with its own set of options. Collect enough beaten baddies any you can turn them into a Sealbook, which can grant passive perks, contribute to the amount of information you have on creatures, or be sold for a bit of coin. Even the game’s equipment system shows a bit of nuance, with parties able to maintain operating budgets but finding artifacts, identifying them, and selling them at top dollar. Essentially, there’s quite a bit of depth and flexibility to the game- a few attributes which might get overlooked amidst the uproar over fan-service.

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Surprisingly, Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal most salient element isn’t the lolitas in provocative poses, but how well the game’s mechanics gel together. Augmenting party members, reconnoitering dungeons, and fighting increasingly stalwart opponents constructs a gameplay cycle that proves addictive. Dungeon-crawling enthusiasts who don’t mind a bit of ecchi, are encouraged to explore its unexpected depths.

Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal was played on the PS Vita with review code provided by the publisher.

Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal
Platform:
 PS Vita
Developer: Aquaplus
Publisher: Atlus
Release date: August 18th, 2015
Price at release: $39.99 retail or via PSN
Language(s): Japanese with English subtitles
ESRB: Mature
Polarized pundits will tell you why you shouldn’t buy Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal. Self-appointed virtue cadets and page-view pursuers have complained about the game’s content, finding the Aquaplus-developed title to be morally repugnant, likely without even playing the game.  Ironically, there’s another faction advocating a boycott because Atlus’ modified four images from the original version, which the publisher did in an attempt to bring the title in line with American sensibilities. Much like in politics, the positions of these extremists implores rejection. In reality, unless you’re at the threshold of tolerance for dungeon crawlers…

Review Overview

Gameplay - 85%
Story - 70%
Aesthetics - 80%
Content - 85%
Accessibility - 80%

80%

VERY GOOD

Summary : Erotic imagery is getting all the attention, which is a shame because Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal offers a darn good catacomb crawl.

User Rating: 3.98 ( 5 votes)

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

32 comments

  1. God Bless Atlus and God Bless Tech-Gaming. 😉

    More people just need to take a “its just sex approach”.

    • I want to know how the hell they avoided an AO rating. I saw some of the images that made it in. Girls with hot dogs dangling on their lips, stuff l I keep that.

  2. Before it’s asked, here’s what Deagle’s talking about:

    Polygon’s hit piece (“Self-appointed virtue cadets and page-view pursuers”) on it: http://www.polygon.com/2015/5/12/8589553/atlus-dungeon-travelers-2-porn-calendar-pre-order-vita

    • Probably a good idea not to have Arthur Gies write about the objectification of women anymore after he leaves really weird comments all over Suicide Girls. Give it to Kollar, he’s still a virgin, right?

    • I’m so sick of Polygon trying to tell gamers whats “right” and “what’s not”.

      I mean this kind of BS gets published?

      “Or there’s 2013’s Dragon’s Crown, a beautifully hand-drawn and relatively deep action-RPG dragged down by its obsession with sexualizing every woman character in the game, playable or not.” Every character was sexualized. I surely don’t stack up to the muscle-bound, Roland the Brave.

    • Sounds like Phillip just watched the trailer before passing judgement.

      The goal is not to get one of the game’s many women to fight alongside you or to forge a deep relationship with them; it’s to eventually see them naked and probably doing something demeaning.

      The game I’m playing is far different. It’s the mutants that are near naked after you’ve defeated them.

    • How the mighty have fallen. I used to love GAF.

      • I still lurk, but yeah, it’s disappointing that they don’t allow discussion on certain Japanese games like Criminal Girls, Monster Monpiece, etc.

        I can kind of see why, you get the guys that post the worst pics, and then that leads to fan arts, and we all ride down the slippery slope together.

        • When an open gaming forum says “we’re only going to talk about ‘these’ games” then there’s a problem.

          GAF was great a few years ago, but now its just an echo chamber filled with fanboys. I spotted visiting about 9 months ago.

  3. I really liked this review. Your usual writing but you came out aggressive, calling people out.

    Ever think of writing opinion pieces?

  4. “the just slightly superior Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight”

    Why didn’t you review EO2U????

    • Jimmy the Italian Jew

      After reading your review I wanted to see what the controversy was about. Turns out, everyone is unhappy with the game in some way. Got me thinking, gamers are such a spoiled bunch. Everyone wants games to “their” way. If the internet was around in the SNES era, that would have ruined by childhood.

  5. Nice to see Japanese kiddie porn is now available in the states. Now weebs don’t have to bitch about import prices so they can beat off.

  6. Should have mentioned the equipment upgrade system that allows for full customization of effects by using sealbooks. It’s a fairly unique system for JRPG’s.

  7. Honestly, I think it’s the reviewer that’s making a big deal out of things. Its a niche Vita game. At most 10K will buy it, and more like 6K. Given the size of the gaming audience in the US, that’s nothing.

  8. I have the cart coming my way today. Should be here any second.

    @CalFan 6,000 people don’t matter? Everyone matters!

  9. Really good review. I liked everything about this one.

    Still LOLing at self-appointed virtue cadets?

  10. I’m ok with anime butt cleavage. Not triggered a bit.

  11. If all goes well, I’ll be playing DT2 in four hours. Don’t be late on that switch flip, Grace Chen!

  12. Loli game reviews are coming as frequent as iTunes updates. I like it.

  13. Girls monsters in a dungeon? WTF is wrong with you weebs? I think it’s frustration from not having sex with real people. Those dolls don’t count.

  14. Don’t take this the wrong way…but how much GRINDING is in the game?

  15. Thanks for writing a really good review that not only talks about the quality of the game but also the bigger issues of people seeking web traffic by creating scapegoats.

  16. Ace review. Need to pick this up.