“Many consider Dragon Warrior II to be the weak link of the original 8-bit span for the franchise. ”
– excerpt from the full review, which can be read here.
RPGs are among the hardest games to review, especially on the retro gaming scene, in my opinion. You could just say this is due to them requiring more of a time commitment in order to give a fair take on. I really like old-school RPGs, so I prefer to complete them, unless I already had on a prior occasion and just need a moderate refresher. Well, eh, even then, I might go complete.
Now, is it even tougher to review a sequel? Maybe. The JRPG is a divisive-enough genre as it is, without dealing with further entanglements.
While I love those old 8-bit role-playing games, I do not worship them unduly, at the Shrine of Square/Enix. My opinions on these games tend not to be so emotionally involved as some; which may sound strange, since fondness for the RPG genre is often seen as a binary function. You either adore them or loathe them, right?
This is where I end up, giving Dragon Warrior II a four-star rating, which also happens to be the same as I gave the original. The reasons are fleshed out in the full review further (both on its own objective merits, and comparison notes against the first Dragon Warrior). For me, it comes down to this still being a very solid video game — even if it has just as many improvements as failures from its predecessor.
I cannot help, though, but to feel this little tickle in the back of my mind that tells me that Dragon Warrior II is more like a 3.75-star game.
Then again, who cares about rating scores, right? Just play the games. Enjoy. This is a great choice for the genre, even if never hitting the lofty heights that some others would reach.
Two other quick notes: 1) I am one of those weirdos who consider old video games so sacred that I do not like to give spoilers. I hold hope to the possibility that someone, somewhere, will play Final Fantasy VII for the first time and may not already know, nor want to know, about the death of a certain character. 2) One of the coolest things about Dragon Warrior II is speaking to people who are descendants of characters in the first title. I have a certain grandson in mind.
Read The Full Review For: Thoughts on the game’s strengths and weaknesses, really.
NES Gameplay Tips For Dragon Warrior II: Grab an FAQ and start grinding.