|06-12-2012, 09:57 AM||#1|
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Hillsboro, OR
Blog Entries: 4
[Multi] Dragon's Dogma Review
Title: Dragon's Dogma
Platform: PS3, 360
Editors: James "Lekon" Barry and Ryan "UWCrash" Kern
Capcom brings us Dragon's Dogma, a world where trolls, griffins, pawns, and humans eke out a living in the shadow of the Dragon. Shortly after the game's beginning, your character finds themselves on the wrong end of a dragon and some impromptu heart surgery. Now a heartless "Arisen", it falls to you to seek and slay the dragon, get your heart back, and save the world while you are at it.
Starting from a humble fishing village, you'll cross mountain passes, plumb dark crypts, go blind trying to see through haunted forests, and dodge bandits in the fields. Dragon's Dogma both rewards exploration by having odd chests hidden in the strangest of places, and punishes it by having the enemies not scale to player level. Wander into an area with high level bandits, expect to get squashed.
It may be your heart, but he's not going to give it back that easily.
Before leaving to start all this exploration, three classes are open, generally fitting to the thief, fighter, and mage archetypes in most games. Dragon's Dogma eventually provides nine classes to players (six for pawns), allowing for a surprising amount of versatility in your chosen method of mayhem. During the game, class can be changed from the main town, as often as wished.
The classes themselves have something for almost everyone. Those who come from Monster Hunter will feel right at home with the Warrior, swinging giant two handed hammers or swords while wearing heavy plate. On the other end of the spectrum, Dagger wielding classes feel like you've taken a character from Ninja Gaiden or Devil May Cry. Swift dashes, leaping grabs, and sniper shots are their methods of killing. Hybrids get even stranger with the Mystic Knight who uses a giant shield to reflect damage or hurl enchanted cannon balls at enemies, or the Magick Archer, with lock-on elemental bolts. If you're of the more patient persuasion, the Sorcerer trades long charge up times for spells of mass destruction.
This is a low level Sorcerer spell.
Despite the variety in the classes, there is little balance to them. While you can take passive abilities from each class, you'll end up gravitating to one of the classes using daggers and a bow, as they simply outclass the others in damage potential. In most cases, the slower weapons get interrupted way too often to be effective.
You'll be able to build a party around the class you want to play as using the Pawn system. Each player owns a single "Main Pawn" for which they can choose the equipment, class, and abilities. Your choices will be reflected when other players import your Pawn to their game, just as you can recruit two additional Pawns into your world. This is done using The Rift, a game area where you can search across all other PSN/XBL players' Main Pawns. Recruiting higher-level pawns is possible using Rift Crystals, a currency earned in-game or when other players recruit your Pawn. However, recruitment is free for any Pawn at or below your level and for any Pawn from your Friends List (regardless of level).
While Dragon's Dogma starts out as stereotypical seek and slay the evil dragon, at a certain point in the game, everything starts to change. One of the odder plot twists I've ever seen hits, and the player is given access to a special dungeon. This forms the "post game" as it has been termed, which turns Dragon's Dogma into a massive dungeon crawl. Various high level enemies start to show up, from beholders, to hydras to a special enemy, the Ur Dragon.
The Ur-Dragon. You'd better be prepared if you even want to scratch this guy.
Similar to the flash mobs of Infinity Blade 2, the Ur Dragon fight sets you and your pawns against a massive beast. You're given a number of minutes to do as much damage as you possibly can to a beast with a few million hitpoints. The bonus is that everyone online who fights the Ur dragon contributes to the damage, and when it is finally killed, everyone who helped gets their own loot pile, while a new generation of Ur Dragon spawns, slightly tougher, to challenge players again. By luck, I was one of those who dealt a killing blow to an Ur Dragon, and the game does not skimp on your reward for felling the beast.
Once the game is complete, players have the option to start a New Game+, carrying over all items and skill levels, even allowing the complete re-customization of both main character and pawn. A nice touch, especially since New Game+ allows for a lot more of the secret quirks of Dragon's Dogma to be seen. Areas you couldn't get to in the early game suddenly are easy to clear out, allowing you to see several little hidden areas or quests easily missed on the first play through.
On playing through new game+, several of Dragon's Dogma's clever quirks start to show through. The counterfeiting becomes more affordable, allowing you to keep the best loot from fetch quests, and let the NPCs have some fakes. This rarely backfires, at least on you. Seeing an NPC later try to use a fake item and look utterly baffled when it doesn't work is one of the better moments in the game.
On the negative side however, much of Dragon's Dogma's world feels empty. While there are hidden areas and items to find, they are few and far between. There is a limited fast-travel system, but during the first playthrough it is prohibitively expensive and is limited to only two locations: the main city and a second point you need to pickup and move. Moreover, the spawn points of almost all enemies are fixed, so anytime you set out, you can know that you'll first find bandit ambush, then troll, then goblins, then more goblins, then more goblins, before you get to your location. Enemy variety is also limited, with only around a dozen unique models and 2-3 reskins (with additional abilities) for each of those. By the middle of the main story you'll find yourself asking, "Harpies? Again?"
Gran Soren, the heart of the land. You'll be seeing a lot of this place.
Graphically, Dragon's Dogma's world features some stunning locales and the monster models, especially the larger foes, are a treat to look at. However, some of the beauty is marred by a lack of anti-aliasing leaving edges more jagged than your arsenal. The sounds are also well done, and the few opportunities where the Dragon booms down at you are awe-inspiring. However, the dialogue you'll hear from common vendors and especially the Pawns is extremely repetitive. You would be well-served by immediately turning off Pawn subtitles as soon as you start the game.
Score: 3.5 out of 5 CoGs
James says, "Dragon's Dogma is a great first step in a new IP. Flawed and annoying in parts, yet it has fun combat, memorable encounters, and odd quirks. This is one for fans of Dark Souls or Monster Hunter"
Ryan says, "Dragon's Dogma is a refreshing new title out of Capcom. It boasts some great combat and RPG mechanics but is marred by repetitive travel and vocals. Fans of Action RPGs or anyone who loves to obsess over titles with New Game+ should give it a chance. Others will want to pass or at most leave it as a rental."
|06-12-2012, 10:07 AM||#2|
The Lord of Shadow
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Edmonton, AB
Blog Entries: 3
I just wish I could find a damn copy near me...
I have a blog. Go read it!
PSN/Steam ID - JaynesHat/Hawkzombie
There is the crazy HZ and the well refined logic and reasoning HZ. Both are pretty entertaining -Purple Santa
I love that Hawk exists to make every decision I make, no matter how self-destructive, look wise by comparison. -Ox
I just realized that for the longest time I've been getting you and Karak mixed up. -fitbabits
|06-12-2012, 10:30 AM||#3|
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Acton, Ontario
Blog Entries: 112
Great review. I'm shocked at how much I'm enjoying this game. It is most definitely not perfect, but it really does a great job of giving you memorable adventures in the world.
I liken it to Demon's Souls for wimps.
Like obscure games? Check out Turning The Spigot for hidden gems!
|06-12-2012, 12:17 PM||#4|
Always Trust in Violence
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Eugene Oregon
Blog Entries: 11
Its awesome. Thats the review.
Its awesome. Why? Cause its awesome.
Also Capcom owes me a large amount of money in sales.
I liken it to Demons Souls but with good aim.
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|action rpg, capcom, dragon's dogma, review|