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Nintendo DS Review: Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2

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Dragon Quest is a series of role playing games created by titles created by Yuji Horii and his studio, Armor Project. They were originally published as Dragon Warrior in North America until 2005. Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 is the follow up game to Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker which was released in 2007. The latest game, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 was released in North America on September 19 after selling more than 1.3 million units in Japan.

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 is an action role playing game that is similar to Pokemon games. You play a young boy who wants to become a Monster Scout. He hides away on a flying vessel that is heading to a Monster Scout tournament. A Monster Scout is someone recruits wild animals to build a team and battle against other players. By having battles with your monsters, they get stronger and learn new abilities which means they move up a level.

On their way to the tournament, the ship is hit by lightning and crash lands on a deserted island. Players have to rescue the missing passengers and crew members by fighting enemies using their monsters and solving mysteries. There are over 300 different monsters with their own traits and capabilities. Each monster is classified by family, traits, habitat and skills.

The game itself is played on both screens with information (map, inventory, etc.) shared on the bottom and the dialogue screen and action happening on the top. You move through the ship and the island with the direction keys. You perform actions with the A button. You know there is an action that can be taken when you see an exclamation point. An action may include speaking to someone, opening a chest, picking something up, climbing up the stairs, etc. In various actions you are offered choices that you can choose yes or no to like whether to climb down a ventilation shaft or not. Other times, you simply perform an action like introducing yourself.

After the ship crashes, you begin the game with one monster and one weapon. You add the monster to your inventory using the stylus on the bottom screen. You receive the weapon by opening a chest it’s contained in. In various places on the island you will come across blue scout scones to examine and learn new skills. You can save your game anywhere except in the middle of a story by pressing the X button to open the menu and selecting the save panel.

Fighting is done by simply getting close enough to the monster to activate the menu which pops up and gives you the option to fight. You select fight and your monster fights the other monster. When the fight is over, it shows you experience and level. It’s not all about fighting though. Instead of fighting you can try to scout the monster into your team. You do this by getting close enough and selecting scout from the menu. If they’re intimidated by your show of force, they may chose to join you. You are only allowed to have three monsters active at one point but you can keep the others as well and move them into active when you need them.

The game world expands as you gain experience and new monsters. You can move around the world as you want and go back to the crashed ship to heal your monsters when you need to. There are a variety of different monsters that you can collect. Some are easier to get than others depending on your level and abilities. You can even synthesize monsters by combining two monsters to create a brand new monster. This constantly evolving game play makes this a game I’d return to over and over again.

The graphics are relatively simple and pretty standard for this type of game. Overall it does remind me of Pokemon or Digimon cartoons. I do wish they had done something a bit different with the music which becomes annoying rather quickly. I just turned the volume off. You can play this game alone or using the wireless connection with two to eight of your friends. Using this mode, you can battle each other. You can use a broadband connection to connect to Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection to battle against other players. The Wi-Fi World Tournament lets you battle against other monster teams around the world.

If you have a child that enjoys manga type cartoons and games, they will definitely enjoy this game. It’s fun. It’s easy. The variations will keep them entertained for hours. It even comes with a Monster Field Guide that has pictures and stats on some of the most common monsters from the game. The heavier cardboard like pages make it perfect for kids.

Dragon Quest Monster: Joker 2 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes.

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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/ and http://the-socialites-closet.blogspot.com/.