The Game: Dragonâ€™s Dogma
Genre: Action Roleplaying
Platform: PlayStation 3 (also available for Xbox 360)
Released: May 22, 2012
Dragons Dogma is a game I had been waiting for since its announcement last year. I had been following the videos, checking the website, and essentially absorbing as much information as I could. Now the game is out and I’ve had a chance to play it; honestly, I am certainly not disappointed by the wait. Dragons Dogma is one of the few games to come out this year that has really impressed me.
You are Arisen, a hero to the people, a legend. Or, in other terms, a dragon stole your heart and taunts you to come get it back. That is where the game starts, and how the story begins; being heartless (Arisen) is not without its perks though. While most RPGs tend to revolve around you and a cast of characters you come into contact with throughout the story, Dragonâ€™s Dogma is different. The Arisen have the ability to summon “pawns” into being; human-like beings called from the rift to aid the Arisen in battle.
You make one pawn when you are first given the ability to summon, which becomes your lifelong partner throughout the game. Two others are also eventually pulled from the Rift as well, making a cast of four. What is interesting about this though is that these pawns are actually characters that were created by other players, rather than a game-generated NPC. These pawns come at whatever level the owner has played them to, and don’t level up in your game. This means you’ll be trading pawns around every few levels to keep yourself up to snuff with whatever baddies you come across.
Being an action-heavy RPG, Dragons Dogma has a varied class system. At the start, you are given three classes, or vocations, to choose from; fighter, strider and mage. Each class branches off into other sub-classes that range from an enhanced upgrade (fighter to warrior) to a mix between classes (warrior and mage would create a mystic knight), each offering its own unique skills and perks. Depending on your main class, you’ll want to use pawns to compliment or flesh out your play style. Rushing in with four warriors might make for easy goblin pickings, but it is going to be a problem later when harpies are stinging from above, so do yourself a favour and throw a strider or mage in there for good measure.
Combat is very akin to one of Capcomâ€™s finest series, Monster Hunter. There is no lock on, and the battles are rough. Knowing where the enemies are, and when to strike is key to performing well. Added to that, most enemies can be picked up and thrown, and the larger monsters can be climbed upon to attack weak points. The most entertaining thing about the combat though, is that you can use the terrain to your advantage. Climb rocks for a better advantage, retreat behind trees to avoid enemy fire. At one point I even knocked a cyclops off a cliff. Something even I wasn’t expecting.
The story itself takes on the role of a side-quest game; which is my only real gripe. Getting to a new town or area has you communing with the townsfolk to find quests to do, whether it be trying to recover a stolen book, or felling a gryphon terrorizing citizens. While thereâ€™s nothing wrong with that, occasionally the main story will pause, and have you wandering around completing the side-quests before the main story rears back up and sees you off again.
The world is a massive place to explore and there are plenty of dungeons and areas to check out, each with its own polish and look. Some areas are connected to each other and find you coming back around to a place you didn’t expect. As an example, after finishing a quest in a cave, I noticed a door that I couldn’t open because it was locked from the other side. I headed back to town where I took another quest that had me killing a monster in a well. Being unable to climb back up I ended up finding an exit, which unlocked that door and opened up into the cave I had been to earlier. Interestingly enough, the cave was also quite a distance away from the starting point of the current quest. Interesting aspects like that are what keeps the game entertaining. Discovering a new area and finding every secret nook and cranny always gives you a sense of accomplishment after exploring.
Overall, Dragons Dogma has a certain level of charm to it that will either attract players, or push them away. If you are a fan of exploration and hard but rewarding combat, consider giving Dragons Dogma a whirl. While the story may not be as epic or enthralling as other big name RPG’s, Dragons Dogma delivers a solid, entertaining experience that has you cheering yourself on after every tough encounter; while breathing a sigh of relief when you finally make it back to town after every journey.
|Overall Score||Presentation||Sound||Gameplay||Graphics||Replay Value|
|4 / 5||4 / 5||4 / 5||4 / 5||4 / 5||4 / 5|