It’s no understatement that Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal could’ve been called Fanservice: the Game, and so I got to playing to see if there was more than meets the eye.
I found it to be very hit or miss. There’s plenty of dialogue but most of it seems to revolve around fanservice – the developers struggled to write a conversation where the girls didn’t manage to accidentally imply something sexual or were gushing about the main character who you can mute, which I found hilarious. Respect to developer Sting for not being unabashed in what they set out to do though, and that was to create a dungeon-crawling RPG with plenty of women to gaze at. If you’re not into that sort of thing, then this game isn’t for you.
The story quite as fleshed out as the CG images, seeing Fried Einhard, a Libra with the ability to seal monsters away in books, on a journey with old school friends Melvy de Florencia and Alisia Heart who weaken the enemies beforehand. Of course, other women join you on your adventure eventually, with more chances of fanservice to ‘accidentally’ come in the form of upskirts, soaking in water, breast shots and compromising positions. It’s unashamed in being shameful and whilst I wouldn’t play it in public, I couldn’t help but laugh at how ridiculously over the top it could be.
Unless you’re buying it solely for the abundance of fanservice, then you’re probably wondering how the gameplay is. It’s actually pretty solid (like other things, heh heh heh) and is easy to jump into if you’re familiar with the genre. It’s difficult and encourages grinding from the beginning which is something I found a bit tedious considering how strong the enemies are compared to you at that time, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by their numbers. I found myself going back to town often to heal and then returning to the dungeon, battling for a bit, and rinse and repeat. Earning money for items is a slow process too and it feels like hours until you really make any progress.
The gameplay is simple enough though with your characters having both standard attacks and special skills which range from magic, physical attacks and healing, as well as the ability to use items. You can have several people in your team (obviously all girls bar you) so you’ll want to have a varied team, but one does come with a instant heal which costs no TP which is, like, the best thing you can ever hope to have – if you manage to finish the game without it then you’re some sort of legendary hero that’s only been heard of in tales. Dungeon-crawling is standard affair in first-person where you’ll have to locate an exit or treasure whilst battling many enemies, most of which appear when walking through doors.
The visuals are likely what will attract you to the game in the first place and the 2D portraits, character and enemy design really are outstanding, despite the fact that they won’t be very memorable to me as the characters themselves aren’t quite as riveting. They’re static images which is fine, but I’m really fond of dynamic portraits that mimic breathing and change expression on the fly like they do in Lost Dimension, Hyperdimension Neptunia and Omega Quintet. Fortunately, the colours and detail were more than enough to impress me and keep me interested in what enemies and characters I might meet later.
The dungeons themselves don’t fair quite as well, being bland and a chore to navigate. The surroundings are in 3D but there’s none of the immense detail that was put into the 2D parts of the game, and each dungeon becomes heavily repetitive visually, especially with so many dead ends that look the same. Thankfully, the map tracks where you’ve been otherwise it would be incredibly easy to walk in circles looking for a way out.
There’s no English dub but the Japanese voiceover is great, and maybe for the best because the dialogue is best heard when others can likely not understand it! If your earphones fall out and your parents or friends are around and they then overhear it, it’ll be slightly less bad when they can’t hear all the lustful dialogue. Moans are the same in every language though, so you’re likely to get a few weird stares or ‘mate, what the heck are you playing?!’ and you’ll just have to stand your ground! The OST is pretty forgettable but it never annoyed me, it did the job without really aiding or hampering the atmosphere, or changing the experience much overall.
Dungeon Travelers 2 is an awkward one because whilst it’s actually pretty good fun, it didn’t entice me to play it for hours on end or even every day. The seemingly random difficulty curve and repetitive dungeons were off-putting although the 2D visuals were very nice, and the fanservice didn’t bother me at all. It’s one of the weaker games that released this August – well, that I’ve played – and it isn’t something I’d rush out to buy. However, if you’re looking for a solid first-person dungeon-crawler with an abundance of fanservice, then Dungeon Travelers 2 will likely not disappoint you.
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