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

Release Date
16/10/2016
Platform
PlayStation Vita
Publisher / Developer
NIS America / AquaPlus, Sting Entertainment
Genre
Dungeon Crawler / RPG
Player(s)
Single-player
Rating
PEGI 16, USK 16, ESRB M

Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal, from NIS America, is the sequel to To Heart 2: Dungeon Travelers, of the To Heart 2 franchise. Originally released on the PlayStation Portable in Japan in 2013, it received an enhanced remake for the PlayStation Vita and is the first game in the franchise to receive a western release. Coming from a franchise known for Japanese romance visual novels, the hype for ample handfuls of fan-service was huge. Before the game saw its release in the west it underwent some censorship, to the dismay of some, in order to keep the game from being an adult-only title. Atlus, the US publisher, worked with developer AquaPlus on editing and adjusting only four images to comply with the restrictions set forth by rating boards. Having seen some of the images I can completely see why this decision was made and it doesn’t impact on the enjoyment of the game or story.

Taking place a few centuries after the events of To Heart 2: Dungeon Travelers, you’re in control of the Libra Fried Einhard who is tasked with sealing monsters for the Royal Library. Joined by old school friends Alisia Heart and Melvy de Florencia, they explore dungeons sealing the ever-increasing threat of monsters as they go. As you progress you will add more members to your party, female, of course, each specialising in different classes. Each dungeon contains a mutated monster as the boss, which when sealed; you’re treated to a fan-service image of the female monster in some erotic pose, where they have somehow had their clothes torn asunder and are bound for your viewing pleasure. The conversation that follows is usually one-sided with the monster expecting Fried to take advantage to which he just ends up sealing them like a gentleman.

Aside from your party being female and all the monsters being female, that’s pretty much it for the fan-service side of things; of course, there are a lot of skimpy outfits on show but nothing majorly different from other games that hale from Japan. As someone who is not a fan of fan-service orientated games, I found Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal to be rather tame given all its hype; even with the censorship, being only four images, this is it. While some scenes may garner some odd looks in public it’s nothing that I would class as overly fan-service-y, or perhaps I have just become accustomed to such offerings in games as of late.

Gameplay-wise, it’s a very standard Dungeon Crawler RPG; battles are turn-based and the dungeons are auto mapped as you progress. There’s nothing particularly great about the game, there are no unique or revolutionary features but it’s a fairly solid Dungeon Crawler RPG. The game features over 30 different subclasses; each class can be upgraded into a choice of different subclasses that focus on more specific abilities while still being able to use those from a previous class, giving you a great deal of customisation over your characters.

One thing the game really lacks is an auto-walk function, continually having to re-tread old ground and navigating your way around can become a major chore and could easily be remedied with an auto-walk feature. Another nice addition would be auto-battle or rush feature for battles, pretty much for the same reason, it’s actually a surprise not having these features in a Dungeon Crawler. I do however praise the dungeon level designs for not being too easy or straight forward. Later dungeon can become quite the puzzle, having to be aware of where you have been and what stairs or holes in the floor lead to new areas.

The visual novel, dialogue and character portrait, aspects of the game are high quality and detailed although some conversations do tend to drag. No dynamic portraits, such as those found in Hyperdimension Neptunia, here though, which is not a deal-breaker by any means but it’s becoming something you’d expect to see in all newer games. Dungeons, while not of the same high quality, are detailed and unique enough that you don’t feel too bored with the scenery – not in the beginning at least.

The soundtrack is largely forgettable, it does the job but it’s not something you’d be looking to buy outside of the game. The games come in Japanese language only which for this kind of title I can see why and given the nature of most conversation I think its best that English is left out entirely.

Verdict
As someone who is not a fan of fan-service orientated games I found Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal to be rather tame given all its hype. While there may be some scenes that you may prefer to keep at home than in public underneath it all there’s a fairly solid Dungeon Crawler RPG. The game doesn’t break any new ground but if you’re a fan of the genre then you’re sure to enjoy this offering, even if it does lack a few key features.
6
ENJOYABLE