Preview: Dungeon Travelers 2 makes you seriously strategize with character classes

When you play an RPG, do your characters’ actions stray outside of their classes? Have you had a game where your healer was also a pretty competent archer, or a warrior was as well versed in magic as he was in physical attacks? After about five hours spent with Dungeon Travelers 2, I’ve learned that success, and survival itself, come from staying inside the box. Coloring outside the lines is only going to get you killed.

Early in Dungeon Travelers 2, I had to make do. The first two party members are a Fighter named Alisia and a Magic User named Melvy. It made more sense to keep Melvy on the front line with an adequate weapon, since her defense wasn’t terrible, to aid with occasional attacks when she wasn’t healing Alisia or herself.

The second more people join the party, however, Dungeon Travelers 2 starts naturally encouraging you to play to characters’ strengths. This fostering of an environment where a Fighter should always be a damage dealing tank, a Magic User always using spells, a Spieler always assisting with damaging attacks, and a Maid restoring people’s HP and TP, is a boon to anyone struggling with the game’s battles. Because you know what? Dungeon Travelers 2 is hard. This is a challenging game. Level grinding is mandatory. Knowing what everyone should be doing pulls everything together.

Let’s look at Conette as an example. Shortly after she joins the party, there’s a segment where players learn what a Maid, her class, is capable of. She comes with skills like the HP healing First Aid and TP restoring Cook. She can inflict sleep on enemies with Lullaby and seems like she should be equipped with some sort of projectile and left in the back row, despite arriving with a formidable defense stat. It’s only after she learns her Unique Skill, Mellow, at level 10 that you discover the truth. One day, she’s supposed to be on the front lines, since slow could be inflicted on enemies when they land a close-range attack on her. But, for now, she’s squatting safely in back, using restorative skills.

Dungeon Travelers 2 is about developing strategies. When a battle begins that could pose a problem, I have Alisia provoke the most dangerous enemy. That way, its attacks will be directed at her. Melvy casts Poison, in the hopes it will take and deal damage to foes every turn. Lilian mindlessly attacks, though I may have her up her speed with Fleet Foot if there are more than three opponents. Conette starts off singing a Lullaby to the most powerful enemy in the group, then shifts to Cook so she’s constantly restoring Melvy’s TP, in case the mage needs to heal or cast a spell. It’s a comfortable routine, and one that gets me safely through most fights against foes who might otherwise be a threat.

It’s interesting, given how many recent RPGs have multiclass characters. Dungeon Travelers 2 is going back to basics. Instead of feeling limited, it feels like it facilitates the exploration process.

Dungeon Travelers 2 is coming out next week on August 18, 2015. You can get it for $39.99 at Amazon.

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