Release Date: May 22nd, 2012
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox 360], Playstation 3
Welcome to the world of Dragon’s Dogma. You have faced the dragon with great bravery and lost your heart within the battle. You later awake in the care of your clan with a massive scar across your chest and the dragon’s voice within your ears. You are the Arisen.
Yes, that is pretty much the story in Dragon’s Dogma, and while some things are hard to accept (like living without a blood pumping organ), you have to admit that flying dragon’s and other beasts in the game don’t make logical sense either. Forget logic in this game. Capcom knows what you really want and that is to kill a whole smorgasbord of boss creatures and various enemies.
Not but just 5 minutes into the prologue level you are fighting a Chimera (cross of a goat,lion,and snake). What tends to be a big selling point in this game is the ability to mount these massive creatures. Doing so in these particular battles can also get you closer to their weak points. When fighting the Chimera, you can even weaken the monster in phases by literally slicing off the snake tail and bombarding the goat head until it goes limp.
As you progress through the game you will encounter various mythical creatures such as a hydra, cyclops, golems, griffins, and much more. It should also be noted that most creatures have there own way of engaging you ,and don’t be surprised if that monster you are straddling the back of decides to slam on it’s back and make you a pancake. Some creatures do seem a little more lethal then others and may perhaps have better scripted AI. At any measure, the game still remains interesting none-the-less as its always fun to face a gigantic monster in a battle of epic proportions.
Most of the time, the real battles can some from facing the smaller enemies scattered around the world. Dragon’s Dogma is full of threatening wildlife and every corner and dark place is sure to hold packs of bandits, goblins, skeletons, and zombies. What makes these skirmishes generally challenging is the fact that most of these enemies have great amounts of health. You can try being careless with these battles but more often times then not, you end up dying pretty quick. Be sure to carry around a mage/sorcerer in your party and perhaps a good bit of healing agents. This may seam daunting but its not as cut and dry as you would have it believed. While in battle, your allies will sometimes tell you what takes a certain enemy out the best. Putting these tactics to the test in the future could also help you increase your chances of survival.
While we are on the subject of allies, let us talk about the pawn system. In Dragon’s Dogma there is a group of strange, alien-like people called Pawns. They come from a world beyond the Rift, and as the Arisen, you have a ruling power to control them. At the start of the game you get to customize your character (in which the customization system is very top-notch) and assign a vocation for yourself. You can start as either a Fighter (knight-like), Strider (rouge/archer), or mage. You also get the chance to change to other vocations that are a mix of the 3.
Later in the game you get control of a very special pawn of your own and get to customize their look and vocation just like your character. What is even more interesting is that you can set their personality by answering 4 simple questions and even mentoring them later. In addition, you may hire 2 other pawns of any vocation for use in your party. No matter what, your special pawn you created will be with you and you can customize their gear as you please.
The Pawns can be robotic at times along with repeated dialogue plaguing your ears, but you cannot deny the usefulness of pawns. The fact they can learn as they go makes them extremely helpful in battle. It doesn’t feel like you’re playing with people who have a bag of rocks as their brain. The Pawns will often times restrain enemies and allow you to finish them off or will pull some cool tactical move of their own. The fact that each pawn has their own temperament can make some large scale battles a wild card event. Overall, the ally system is very impressive. When you take into account that you can share pawns with friends and people around the world makes it a truthfully cool experience.
Dragon’s Dogma includes many more features you would expect in an RPG game. You can combine and use items to improve weapons and such in your possession. There are plenty of side-quests to do and lots of free reign given. It really is amazing to witness some of the small detail Capcom put into this game. Being able to pick up a bad-guy over your shoulder and throw him over a cliff is spectacular. Shoot apples out of trees with your bow, leap across rooftop Assassin’s Creed style and use barrels of black powder to set up traps for your planned attack,etc.
Dragon’s Dogma is an amazing game in its own right. It does have it qwerks and some quests will beat you down repeatedly until you are well leveled and well equipped. This game is hard and frustrating at times, but once you overcome the task before you, it is satisfying. It’s not a game you compare to Skyrim and instantly deem a “rip-off”.
Overall, Dragon’s Dogma really deserves more attention than it has has in the past. If you want some solid action-rpg gameplay, pick up this game today because you can’t go wrong with it.
Overall Rating: 4.25/5