As the name suggests, Dragon Quest Builders 2 is Square Enix’s second entry in its Dragon Quest meets Minecraft series. The Dragon Quest Builders 2 release date is July 12 for PS4 and Nintendo Switch. We’ve spent some quality time with the PS4 version of Dragon Quest Builders 2 on PS4 Pro and here’s what you need to know.

First up, you don’t need to have played the first Dragon Quest Builders game to understand this. That said, if you’ve played Dragon Quest 2, the plot follows that game closely. Without spoiling much, you’ll meet familiar characters and the story takes predictable twists and turns along the way, with some concessions to fit the gameplay loop of Dragon Quest Builders 2.

Despite this predictable narrative, Dragon Quest Builders 2’s dialogue is superlative. There’s a wealth of jokes and its charming to read. Although there are no spoken lines, its written well enough that you get a sense of what accent and personalities the developers were going for. From run of the mill farmers to priests and even ghosts, every single character has a unique voice and tone that makes Dragon Quest Builders 2’s writing fresh and fun to read hours in. This is one game where you won’t be skipping text.

This consistency extends to the core game loop too. You’re tasked with making an island hospitable. In order to allow civilisation to prosper on your island, you’ll sail to those nearby and aid the local populace, some of whom in turn will return with you to help your cause.

From creating farms to building homes, you’re in charge of doing it all as you’re a builder, which as the name suggests, has you making all manner things. These range from bonfires to monolithic masterpieces. You won’t be doing this on your own either. As you progress, you’ll chance upon allies aplenty to help you with the finer details. Be it tilling farmland or laying bricks on a life-sustaining tree, the gameplay in Dragon Quest Builders 2 doesn’t get stale.

Where Dragon Quest Builders 2 really shines over its predecessor is in progression. You never feel like you’re starting over from scratch when you visit a new island and what you learn carries over to yours. Furthermore, allies can be equipped with weapons, making them more useful in combat.

As for the combat itself, you’ll lean heavily on your crew to do the heavy lifting. With the likes of Malroth, an amnesiac boy you encounter early on, by your side, combat doesn’t weigh you down. Instead we found ourselves relishing battle as it allowed us to discover new gear to craft like stone blades or swords made of thorns.

Nonetheless, Dragon Quest Builders 2 isn’t without its issues. The camera tends to zoom in too close ever so often, forcing us to switch to first-person mode to reset it and it’s questionable that the game has the same button for talking to characters and performing actions like activating panels or swapping equipment. They’re not dealbreakers by any means, but annoyances all the same.

Thankfully, they’re made tolerable considering that the rest of the game is exceptionally polished and fine-tuned. Its easy to lose yourself in the minutae of Dragon Quest Builders 2’s list of things do such as farming, mining, and well…building because the set of systems devised by Square Enix are robust enough to stay entertaining hours in.

All in all, Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a welcome entry in Square Enix’s fledgling series. Minor grouses notwithstanding, it’s worth experiencing even if you haven’t played the first game.