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Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 DS Review - -

Gameplay 8.0
Graphics 7.5
Sound 7.0
Value 8.1
Distributor: Mindscape
James Wright


Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2

The latest Japanese RPG (J-RPG) Dragon Quest title is now available on the Nintendo DS with Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 that although has an extremely bad name, it's actually quite an entertaining experience on this portable console. As this series is quite popular in Japanese markets, Nintendo have ported the series to the West as players control a monster scout who just like Ash from Pokemon has the ability to capture and command monsters.

The story of Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 commences when your character stows away in this Final Fantasy type flying machine in order to partake in one of the world's largest monster tournaments. However things don't always go according to planned and this flying craft crashes on an uncharted island in the middle of nowhere.

As a monster scout, your job is find the survivors and by using your monster hunting skills, you need to capture these monsters and use them for a force good rather than evil. However as you explore this mysterious island laden with various types of monsters, you soon uncover some ancient artefacts that may help you become the ultimate monster scout. It's a fun story yet ultimately forgettable. Fortunately the gameplay more than make up for ho-hum story.

The mechanics behind Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 is like your classic DS RPG game which features turn-based combat, levelling, grinding, NPC's and to some extent, if it ain't broke, don't fix it and this is what developers did with this title. Although something a little more refreshing would have made the game a little bit better, it's a sturdy title from start to finish.

The main hub for your character is the wrecked flying craft which allows allows you to engage in basic shop mechanics and a place where you can house monsters. Non-player characters must also be brought back to the wreck once they have been rescued. From here you explore a variety of sections of the island which are each filled with an assortment of monsters.

This is where your adventure starts and as you explore, you also discover a variety of items and information regarding the monsters on this world. The game also uses grinding mechanics which means you do need to engage in quite a few fights to get those points to level up your characters... err monsters. As opposed to standard J-RPG titles, your scout controls a squad of monsters!

Combat is reminiscent of traditional RPG titles which allows you to give your party members a list of commands while they are fighting. Your party members are also made up of monsters as opposed to a group of standard RPG archetype characters which does make things a little unique. While you fight, you have three monsters available to you in battles but you can have another three in reserve which is definitely needed later on in the game. Just like classes, each of your monsters has their pros and cons that also level up with the more experience points that they are awarded.

Skill points can then be used to increase their statistics such as their strength or new attacks etc. One cool aspect of the game is that you have a wildcard in combat and when you do encounter a new monster, you have the ability to scout the monsters as opposed to fighting it. The catch is that your team must hit the enemy hard from the get go. If you do lose, the monster becomes more aggressive.

Apart from collecting monsters, your scout has the ability to combine two monsters together to create a new monster. By doing this, you create more powerful monsters and definitely gives you something to aim for while you are completing quests and searching for survivors. Unfortunately these new monsters are slower to level up than regular monsters. Overall the gaming is challenging and will keep you busy for a considerable amount of hours.


Graphically, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 is a nice looking game on the DS with detailed yet cartoony environments and some interesting enemy animations. The stars are the monsters which do look quite cool, especially the hybrids. It's quite a colourful a world with the odd special effect thrown in for good measures and still looks good on this dated console... compared to the 3DS that is. I really dug the soundtrack to this game that had a sense of wonder, excitement and comedy. Sound effects are a little drab but overall, the game comes together rather well.

Final Level

In the end, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 may not be the most original RPG available on the DS but it provides some good old fashioned action that feels like Pokemon meets RPG for monsters.  I did enjoy the creation of new monsters which positively opens up the game for another play or two. Best of all, there's plenty to do in the game from exploring, fighting and trying to find new tomes littered through this mysterious island.

Check it out if you're into J-RPG!


  • Become the world’s greatest Monster Scout in Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2, a spinoff of the fan-favorite DRAGON QUEST core series. Players scout and collect monsters in order to build a team to battle enemies.
  • When a player’s party encounters other monsters in a battle, they can try to recruit those monsters with their scouting skills. A meter on the top screen indicates the chance that players can scout a monster. The higher the number, the higher the chance the monster will join a player’s party.
  • More than 300 different monsters are available to scout and synthesize. By synthesizing two different monsters, players can create new, more powerful monsters. These monsters can be customized using more than 240 skill trees. Some monsters return from previous DRAGON QUEST games, while others are new.
  • In battles, monsters level up to learn new skills and become more powerful.
  • Players can battle their monster teams against one another using a local wireless connection. Or, using a broadband Internet connection, they can connect to Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection to battle against other players.
  • The Wi-Fi World Tournament lets players battle against other monster teams around the world.
  • The game supports a variety of Tag Mode options that let players connect and share data with others:
  • Players who connect via Tag Mode with owners of DRAGON QUEST VI: Realms of Revelation or DRAGON QUEST IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies can scout monsters from those games.
  • Players who connect via Tag Mode with other Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 players can battle against them and have a chance to scout their monsters without affecting their games.


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