By Sam Coles:
I don’t know what it was about the summer of 2012, but there were a lot of really good RPG’s that I played that year such as The Witcher 2 and Kingdoms of Amular. There is one unique game that stood out from the rest and in my opinion is really underrated and that game is Dragon’s Dogma, this game takes mechanics from other games and blends them together to bring you a brand new RPG. So imagine this you take The Elder Scrolls, Shadow of the Colossus, Dark Souls, Monster Hunter and Devil May Cry you get a good action role playing game.
Dragon’s Dogma takes place in the region of Soren where you’re nothing more than a peasant to begin with, until a dragon attacks your village where he then rips your heart out. The fortunate outcome is that you’re still alive and the reason why you’re alive is because you’re an Arisen. What an Arisen entails is that they can command a legion part of a mindless race called Pawns and of course speak to dragons *cough* *cough* Skyrim.
The unique part of this game is the Pawn system, how this works is that you only create one companion and you recruit others from other players into your party and they collect loot for their masters and you give them a rating when you swap them out for others. The same goes with your Pawn he or she will be recruited by other players and will return to you with loot after you have rested, but most of the time you’ll get trolled and players will give a carrot or a rock rather than anything worthwhile. I like this system and I wish more RPG’s would adopt this method of recruitment it’s unique and you tend to get more variety in terms of classes and character looks.
The open world is huge with lots to explore and different monsters to battle and speaking of fighting monsters let’s talk about the combat system. This has to be one the best combat systems in any action RPG it’s fast and exciting with meaty sound effects when you strike your foe. You have a grab button where you can pick enemies up and throw them or when you’re fighting larger enemies you can climb up on their backs and strike their weak points and this is where the Shadow of the Colossus comparison comes into play. This system hasn’t been used in any other game to my knowledge and it gets really tense when you’re battling a dragon because they will take off and fly away while you’re still holding on which adds an extra layer of excitement to the battle.
Graphically this game is a mixed bag the character models look too clean and what I mean by that their faces have no blemishes such as scares or blood when they have been in battle it reminds of the old Dragon Age character models. The environments on the other hand are absolutely beautiful with rolling green hills, dark and dingy valleys, the spectacular architecture in the capital and the fantastic lighting at night as you wonder the land with your torch.
This game isn’t perfect by all means and there are few things that really annoy me about this game. First aspect that really ruins the experience are the pawns dialogue, which I have no problem with your companions conveying information about monsters or the area you’re in, but when they keep repeating the same line over and over again it starts to try my patience. Secondly there is no default fast travel system and I know what people are going to say there are the teleport crystals but they’re extremely rare and they only take you back to the capital city, it’s unacceptable to not have a fast travel system in a big open world. Thirdly the lip syncing during gameplay with the dialogue is abysmal it is completely out of sync because they will start moving their lips before the dialogue starts, in cutscenes it’s fine which is odd why couldn’t they get it right during gameplay. Finally it’s not clear what quest is a main quest or side quest and it doesn’t help that they don’t tell you if you’re the right level or not.
Dragon’s Dogma is a fantastic RPG it’s hard to begin with but that is all part of the learning curve so you get better similar to Dark Souls. The game isn’t terribly expensive these days I would recommend getting the Dark Arisen version because it comes with all the DLC and you can get it on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.