I must admit, I was a bit apprehensive when I first began to play Dragon Warrior Monsters 2: Cobi's Journey. From what I could gather, the game was nothing more than a Pokemon clone, and having played through two of those titles already, I was not in the mood for another. However, Enix stuffed as much originality into the game as possible, enough for me to say that this is not a Pokemon clone. Rather, it's a decent monster breeding simulation with more than enough quirks to warrant the casual handheld RPG fan's attention.
Though there are two versions of Dragon Warrior Monsters 2 (Cobi's Journey & Tara's Adventure) they are for the most part the same game, much in the same vein as the Pokemon games. Though I will draw certain similarities between the Dragon Warrior Monster games and the Pokemon series, let it be known that the DW series is much more evolved than the Pokemon series.
Like in most handheld games, the plot isn't something to marvel at. Basically, it's up to you to save the new island you've settled on, and to do so, you have to travel back and forth between dimensions using keys, and in these different worlds there are a various assortment of monsters. Where Dragon Warrior Monsters outshines the famed Pokemon games is in the gameplay depth.
To progress through the game, you must navigate around areas, defeating monsters in random encounters and then boss battles. While the game isn't too difficult, it is noticeably more so than Pokemon. The battle system isn't very original; your monsters do the talking, and depending on how obedient they are affects how they respond to the various battle commands. The real meat comes in the actual breeding system.
Reminiscent of Monster Rancher games, the various monsters can join your party after you defeat them in battle; then you can bring up to three of them at a time on a quest. Find new monsters, think about compatibility (and make sure you're aiming for a male/female relationship, because that's the only kind that works), and you can breed new monsters. It's incredibly fun, and probably the most fun part of the game.
The graphics in Dragon Warrior Monsters 2 are very colorful and vibrant, noticeably more so than the Pokemon games (yet another reference!) Though it's not as spectacular as any of the new Game Boy Advance games, it certainly holds its own. The animation is kept to a minimum, but the game manages to stay fresh thanks to a bright color palette.
The sound is very standard fare, and nothing stood out as impressive. Though I've only listened to Dragon Warrior music briefly, I didn't really notice any recurring themes or DW tunes, though there may have been a few scattered about. However, none of the melodies really caught on; even the Pokemon music was stuck in my head after I finished the game. This is probably the most disappointing department.
The game lasts about fifteen hours, but you can play the game to collect more monsters after you "beat" it. There is also a ton of replay value for two player battle mode, which is accomplished via link cable, and the ability to trade and breed monsters with friends. Though the game is no Pokemon, it certainly holds its own. If you were a fan of Pokemon, check it out. If not, you may want to pass.