Dragon’s Dogma Review
Dragon’s Dogma is the reason that I play videogames. Dragon’s Dogma isn’t perfect (and no game is), but it definitely is a masterpiece. I would stay stuck to the screen for hours playing this game. The more I played it the more I loved it. Everything in this game is immensely satisfying.
Many critics said that the story wasn’t all that great, but I’m here to put that rumour to rest. The story is fantastic and engaging and I enjoyed every second of it. Dragon’s Dogma shines in every aspect of gaming. Story, graphics, gameplay; every bit of it is fun and worth your time. Another thing critics complained about were technical issues, such as bugs and glitches. I must say, I haven’t played it on the Xbox 360, but I encountered no serious technical issues throughout my entire playthrough on the PlayStation 3 version.
There’s nothing that I disliked about Dragon’s Dogma. It was interesting, fun, difficult, and engaging. I wouldn’t trade a single moment that I spent playing this game for anything. That’s how much I enjoyed playing the game. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find any issue substantial enough to count as a con against it. The team at Capcom (which is both the developer and publisher of Dragon’s Dogma) have outdone themselves. The game is set in the largest open world that Capcom has ever created. It was also developed by one of the largest teams ever assembled to create a single project, boasting well over 200 developers. I’ve taken this into account, and I must say the results are fantastic.
Let’s start off with the world. First off, it’s huge. The open-world is just plain massive. It has been said that it would take about 5 hours to walk around the rim of the map. This rough estimate is actually pretty accurate (believe it or not, I spent roughly 5 hours testing it). Not only is it big; it’s also beautiful. They’ve based the fantasy world off a mixture of two-thirds western fantasy and one-third Japanese fantasy. The environments are fun to explore and the scenic vistas are simply breathtaking. The cool thing about the world is that it changes. Capcom used some massive innovation to turn it into a living and breathing world. During the day there are enemies, and it’s frequently sunny outside. However, as soon as it becomes nighttime, the whole game changes. Suddenly, it is pitch black in the woods. Even with a lantern, you can barely see two feet in front of you, and it is at this point when all the “creepy crawlers” come out.
Dragon’s Dogma has tons of enemies. The entire universe you’re playing in becomes incredibly dangerous and treacherous. These night-dwelling enemies are often much tougher than the ones that you encounter during the day. Thus, you must take into account the day-night cycle every time you leave a village, town, or city. If you are traveling afar to do a quest, you must make sure you have enough equipment and the proper resources, as well as make sure you have enough time before dusk arrives.
If you do find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere at night, the only safe place is a settlement or city. These places are notoriously hard to get to at night without the necessary equipment, resources, and precautions. You’ll love exploring this expansive world. There are plenty of scenic views, beautiful vistas, painstakingly designed architecture and structures, and interestingly constructed landscapes. You’ll even come across catacombs that will catch your eye at every turn. There’s always something undiscovered in the world that you’ll feel the need to explore. There isn’t a single square inch of Dragon’s Dogma that doesn’t look cool, inviting, or dangerous. It’s easily one of the greatest western-based open worlds that video gaming currently knows.
The story is an excellent aspect of Dragon’s Dogma. Before you start the main storyline, you’ll have to create your character, and your main pawn. The customisation process can be as simple or adept as you choose. You can change anything from the build of your characters body to the colour and size of his or her eyes. You’ll also choose your character’s starting class. You have three choices: fighter (the melee choice), strider (the archery choice), and mage (the magical choice). As the story progresses, you’ll be able to change the class and select sub-classes and hybrid classes. You’ll be doing all this for your controllable character, and your main pawn, which is like your AI-controlled sidekick throughout the whole game (more on pawns later).
When you create your character, you’ll be thrown into the game. You’re in your home village, which is suddenly attacked by a massive and destructive dragon. You quickly attempt to fend off this dragon to no avail. The dragon rips out your heart from your chest and ingests it. You are reborn as the hero known as the Arisen, and set out to slay the dragon and reclaim your human heart. I don’t want to spoil any more of the story for you, but I will say that you’ll enjoy it if you’re anything like me. It’s interesting, intriguing, dark, and definitely worth your time. When you finish the main storyline, you’ll be free to continue your exploration of the world and pursue anything you want. The game is completely open-ended, allowing you to do anything you want with very few limitations.
One of the highlights of Dragon’s Dogma is the generous amount of quests that it offers. I have absolutely no idea exactly how many quests are in the game, but every one I’ve completed so far has been both satisfying and rewarding. I absolutely loved Skyrim, but I couldn’t say the same thing about those quests as I can for Dragon’s Dogma’s quests. The quests in Skyrim were campy and repetitive, however the quests in Dragon’s Dogma are always varied and fresh, that it has yet to go stale on me.
Every enemy I’ve fought in the midst of these quests has been awesome. They’re sometimes huge, other times small, and they have great variation in contrast to one another. The inhabitants of the world and quests are like real living beings. They each have their own personalities and speak to you in an authentic manner. My only complaint (if you want to get nitpicky) is that the lip sync with the voices can be a little bit off in some cases. Luckily, this is easily overlooked and most of the characters sync up quite well.
By far, the best part about Dragon’s Dogma is the gameplay. It’s just plain fun-as-hell. The combat is excellent. It’s easily the most satisfying combat system I’ve seen since Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. You can climb on top of enemies, whether they are on the ground or flying in the air. Many of the enemies have special weak points that you’ll want to hit for more damage. The whole combat system is an absolute thrill. You can shoot arrows, thrust swords, or summon magic; it doesn’t make a difference. No matter how you play, the combat system is fun. It will not be forgotten soon, either. This is one of the few games that I’d be able to go through multiple playthroughs without getting bored. I can’t simply tell you how it’s fun. You have to experience it for yourself to know the truth.
Now, let’s go over the pawn system. Pawns are sidekicks in the game. They’re basically companions, like in Skyrim, but they are much more helpful and effective. When you start the game and make your character, you’ll then make your main Pawn. Your main Pawn fights alongside you the entire game. The Pawns are surprisingly intelligent, and will help you in any way they can. You can also use other people’s pawns for a party of up to 4 (including you and your main pawn), as well as lend out your own to anyone else on Xbox Live or PlayStation Network (PSN). Thankfully your main pawn will not disappear from your party when another person is using it.
Pawns are bought at Rift Stones for a specific amount of Rift Crystals (the game’s currency). This is where the major innovation kicks in. The Pawns learn about the world. The more they are used in battle, the more they will know about the creatures they fight, and will be more effective against them. The more quests they complete, the more they’ll be able to help the player in those quests. It’s crazy. It’s always good to have a big party, especially in such a difficult game. Pawns can help infinitely, but it all depends on how well they were trained and utilised. This is easily the most unique, original, and innovative mechanic I’ve seen used in a game so far this year.
Dragon’s Dogma excels in every single aspect I could hope for, and also exceeds that hope to the greatest degree. Yes, it may not be perfect, but I can’t think of any game that is perfect. However, Dragon’s Dogma is the soul reason I play video games. It’s fun and it’s a masterpiece. That’s all that can really be said.