Words About Video Games

41 Games: Dragon Quest Builders

It's not better than Minecraft. Let's get that out of the way up front.

I am not a purist by any means, but the vastness, openness, the un-directedness, the randomly-generated-ness of Minecraft's worlds inspire creativity in a way that the flat, plain rectangles cordoned off for building in Dragon Quest Builders cannot.

The problems in Minecraft are new every time, and often of your own making. The palette you have can be mixed and matched into virtually limitless creations.

That said, Dragon Quest Builders is about as elegant an integration of free-form building and linear quest progression as I can imagine; and it smartly makes the vast majority of your problems the kind that are most effectively solved by building.

Having a story and a world also transforms the nature of the game. Minecraft worlds are often studded with places that suggest you're not the first to see this world, but in Dragon Quest Builders, you know those places have history. The things you find in them are not only useful, they have meaning.

If you're looking for a game about building, survival, and crafting you should probably stick to Minecraft. There's nothing in Dragon Quest Builders to compare to delving too deep, and finding yourself surrounded by deadly lava pools, unsure of the way back.

But if you're looking for an engaging action RPG that embraces creativity and self-expression, and melds them with feel-good themes about restoring civilization, then you can't do better than Dragon Quest Builders.