Review: DreamWorks Dragons Dawn of New Riders (PS4)

Review: DreamWorks Dragons Dawn of New Riders (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: DreamWorks Dragons Dawn of New Riders
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (815.2 MB)
Release Date: February 1, 2019
Publisher: Outright Games
Developer: Climax Studios
Original MSRP: $39.99 (US), £34.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E10+
PEGI: 7
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

My two girls have loved the How to Train Your Dragon series ever since they watched the first film many years ago.

They have accumulated most of the toys and books and recently watched the last film in the trilogy. But, their insatiable appetite for anything featuring Toothless and Hiccup had them begging for something new to play.

They did spend an awfully long time playing the two PS3 games until my system broke so their desire to soar through the skies on a dragon had to be put on hold.

The discovery of a new game from Climax Studios featuring their favorite legendary creatures left them elated.

My girls will be helping me with this review with some comments that began with a question, “Can you fly?”

Gameplay:
You begin as a character nicknamed Scribbler whose memory is gone. With Patch, a newly hatched dragon by his side, you’ll embark on a journey to find out what happened and defeat the evil villain, Eir. We could control the dragon but were disappointed to find that we couldn’t fly on the little creature.

You follow a linear path with a few secret areas hiding some chests, which generally contain herbs. These are used to trade with Astrid for some health potions or temporary attack, speed, and defense buffs. You’ll also encounter enemies and with some occasional dodging and charging up the one button attack for a stronger strike of your sword, you should be able to easily dispatch them.

Review: DreamWorks Dragons Dawn of New Riders (PS4) Review: DreamWorks Dragons Dawn of New Riders (PS4)

Just before I encountered the first boss I thought it prudent to use some of those hard-earned buffs and equipped one of each before walking through the entrance. A very brief cutscene followed and by the time it ended so had my buffs. You live and learn I guess.

”The controls are okay but some young kids would find it hard to play.”

Okay, I think my kids are spot on with this comment. The controls aren’t complex but there are a few buttons to remember and the layout is a little odd. Even I mistakenly pressed the wrong button a few times, but that could be because I’m getting old.

The game does a good enough job of easing the player into the controls and with a little bit of occasional help, even a younger player would eventually get the hang of it. At least the potions need a button hold to activate so there is less chance of accidentally using them all up.

“I don’t like that you have to be a boy.”

I didn’t really think about it, but it’s true and a little disappointing. I guess Climax Studios had a story in mind and didn’t want to convolute it by adding another optional character, or maybe time and money were an issue.

“Sad that we can’t ride on Toothless but the new dragon is nice.”

All they would do in the PS3 game is fly around on Toothless and invent their own missions and stories. In the first level, it wasn’t possible to fly on the little dragon but soon after they were delighted to discover that…

“You can fly!”

Whenever you’re out in the open and not in a dungeon, you can fly. This doesn’t mean you can skip the levels and puzzles and just land wherever you want. As you fly over points of interest you can press a button to land in the designated area. It’s basically just flying around a 3D level select map.

Review: DreamWorks Dragons Dawn of New Riders (PS4) Review: DreamWorks Dragons Dawn of New Riders (PS4)

The levels are comprised of two distinct areas, above and below ground – both of which are full of clever little puzzles appropriate for a young mind to solve. The dungeon areas below ground are slightly reminiscent of ones that you would find in a Zelda game. They seem confusing at first and generally have a few directions to go in but all routes lead back to the first area and all need to be explored.

This game will take a decent amount of time to complete, especially with a young player at the helm. However, there surprisingly isn’t a Platinum Trophy, yet I cannot see a reason for there not to be one. I’ve seen shorter and cheaper games with the prized digital award.

Visuals:
Dragons Dawn of New Riders has a three-quarter top-down perspective unless you take to the skies. The art style is nice and the animations are good. Each location has a distinct look and is akin to the seasons of the year. It would have been nice to get more detail in the scenery when flying and maybe even some collectibles.

“I like the graphics, cartoony and cute.”

Audio:
There isn’t really any speech in the game, apart from a few grunts and maybe the odd salutation. The music is okay and the sound effects do a good enough job.

“Too much reading for younger kids.”

My girls are spot on again. There is a fair amount of text and some of the younger kids might miss out on the story because of that.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only and features no online component. This meant my kids couldn’t play together and each had to create their own save. It would be nice if one could control Scribbler and the other, Patch. Especially considering both can be hurt and the AI isn’t all that good at fighting.

“We would have liked it to be a two player game, like the LEGO ones, with the split-screen if you go too far from the other.”

Review: DreamWorks Dragons Dawn of New Riders (PS4) Review: DreamWorks Dragons Dawn of New Riders (PS4)

Conclusion:
DreamWorks Dragons Dawn of New Riders turned out better than I expected. It’s a fun game for fans and anyone else who likes an easygoing adventure. The puzzles are simple enough for all ages and the story isn’t bad either.

Controls could be better and an automatic lock-on would help the younger players. The option for a female character would be nice and the lack of two-player support is disappointing. Aside from that, my family enjoyed the game and consider it a nice compliment to the recent How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World animated movie.

Score:
7.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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