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E3 2013: Dragon’s Crown hands-on

E3 2013

I’m a sucker for beat’em ups. I admit it. Give me a game that scrolls from left to right, pitting me up against some variety of henchman and I’ll be fine enough. Give that game a signature art style and I’m sold. Make the game fun to play an I’ll be there at my friend’s place badgering anyone willing to hold a controller to play alongside.


Dragon’s Crown is that game. Considering the developers, it’s no surprise that the art is fantastic. The artists in Vanillaware design 2D graphics that evoke the appearance of a moving painting. The world of Dragon’s Crown is vibrant and colorful and yet functional at the same time.

“The appearance of a moving painting”Typically in a beat’em up the action can get a bit messy, especially with four players on-screen at once. Here, each fighter, though individually strange and disproportioned, within a group becomes distinct and recognizable amongst the clutter. As the carnage began to tumble across I didn’t lose track of my character a single time. The giant knight stands out against the woman with a hundred abs, the cloaked ranger and the robed wizard. Also, I was riding a giant panther, so that might have helped.

On that note, like Golden Axe before it, Dragon’s Crown features its own unique mounts for you to ride. I hopped aboard a giant cat and went about pouncing and biting anyone who stood in my way. The ranger saddled up a Velociraptor looking creature who spat fire. On foot we were dangerous enough, but on these beasts we were unstoppable.


Along the way to the boss of that particular dungeon we scrolled to the right. Foes were punched, repeatedly, until they could no longer stand the abuse. At its heart Dragon’s Dogma is a class example of a well made beat’em up. It’s a mechanically sound game painted with amazing art, providing enough variety to the fighting system to keep it engaging.

Just don’t beat up any of the soldiers allied with you, even by accident. You’ll be thrown in jail for your crimes. And then released the next day after a stern lecture.

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2011.

Gentle persuasion

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