Dragon Quest Builders 2
Current, Hands-On Curation
This past E3 (2021) Xbox has demonstrated their the investment into Game Pass is only just getting started. They revealed some 30 games, 27 of which are slated to launch into Game Pass the same day as their retail launch. As this trend continues and the number of games grows, the real challenge becomes not whether you should have Game Pass but how to decide what to play.
This is the first in a series of articles meant to help answer that question. Instead of investing in the standard review formula for games, I want to write towards what games have grabbed me on Game Pass and on other occasions, perhaps the suggestion that you avoid others. My bias will be to steer positive, speaking to the games I enjoy but in the instance of truly abhorrent experiences, a cautionary advisement to stay away may also appear.
The distinction here compared to reviews or breakdowns is that these articles are focused on what is worth playing right this moment, specifically in the Game Pass library. The goal is also not to persuade you to play a game or not, but rather to bring it to your attention as something you may not have thought to consider. This means the games that show up in these articles are likely to be new(ish) to Game Pass but not necessarily new games. The first game I want to talk about is a great example, although not a new game, it has only been in Game Pass a short while and I am not sure I would have played it otherwise.
Dragon Quest Builders 2
As I get older, I am discerning more and more that what draws me to games is changing quite a bit. For instance, I have asserted there exists this meta-genre of games that I have called, and have heard others call ‘podcast games’. This description does not do a particularly good job of telling you what the game is but what it does do, is tell you a lot about how the game functions. A game that falls into this category is heavily gameplay focused, has either no story or a story you can largely ignore, is mechanically goal oriented and is either very long or endless. Dragon Quest Builders 2 checks all of these boxes.
There was a time when I wanted a game to stimulate my mind in as many ways as it could; narratively, mechanically, visually, competitively, etc. Now, there are times where I actually just want to go through the motions of a game, turn my brain off an maybe have a show or podcast going at the same time. Dragon Quest Builders 2, which is basically Minecraft with some Animal Crossing-like JRPG charm painted on top is perfect for this.
There is a story, but it does not hinder you to skip through all of it. The campaign is simple set of unique tasks all related to building things and fighting things that is satisfying to accomplish but never really bogs you down with a sense of narrative urgency. Sometimes I do a bunch of campaign stuff back to back, some times I stop and build a bunch of random stuff just for fun. You never feel like there is a wrong way to play the game.
In a post (or near post) pandemic world where life is just too much sometimes and what I want is to relax, this meta-genre of ‘podcast games’ are growing in appeal to me. If you want something to just mess around in and not really worry about getting to the end, or even if you should bother getting to the end, this is a pleasant time sink that is both pleasant and calming.