Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 - DS/DSi

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Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 (DS/DSi)
Viewed: 3D Third person, into the screen Genre:
Media: Cartridge Arcade origin:No
Developer: Square Enix Soft. Co.: Square Enix
Publishers: Nintendo (GB)
Released: 7 Oct 2011 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 7+
Accessories: Wireless DS multi-card play


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Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 gets off to a stronger start than its predecessor right off the bat, with a similar but more appealing main character and with a story that immediately throws a curveball at you. While en route to the world’s biggest tournament to presumably replay the uninspired story of the previous game, the airship you’ve stowed away on unexpectedly crashes on an uncharted island. It falls to you to rescue your lost companions and escape the island, which initially seems like material for a big prologue chapter. So it is that you get on with some good old monster collecting!

Like its predecessors, the biggest and most time-consuming aspect of DQMJ2 is the Synthesis feature, which lets you combine two of your monsters in order to create a new one. With hundreds of different combinations and a host of memorable veteran Dragon Quest monsters available, synthesising chains of monsters can get very addictive. Trying to put together a perfect team of your favourite monsters with the right skills and abilities is where most of the game’s depth lies.

Synthesising monsters first requires you to actually have some monsters ready, and the monster hunting is where DQMJ2 truly shines. The areas you can travel to are massive and each is home to a unique range of wild critters to tame. There’s also a day and night cycle that goes on as you explore, with each seeing a different variety of monster come out of hiding. Not only that, but each area has an alternate weather condition that can randomly trigger, which also changes the available monsters as well as opening up new areas which, you guessed it, lead to even more monsters. All of this means that if you really want to 'catch ’em all' you’re going to have to spend a lot of time revisiting areas and fully exploring them in order to track down the more elusive beasts.

Probably the biggest brand new feature you’ll notice while playing is the inclusion of giant-sized monsters. Absolutely everywhere. They are genuinely impressive the first time you come across one however, and then the next time there’s an even bigger monster and the next time is an even bigger monster.

As has always been the case (and high point) with the Dragon Quest Monsters series, these giant monsters can eventually be won over by your charms and become members of your potentially vast monster army.