Platforms - X360, PS3
Genre - RPG
Aust. Classification – MA15+
Publisher - Capcom
After an army were crushed trying to slay the evil dragon, all hopes now lie with you, the chosen one (of course), and his followers. Your heart is stolen by a dragon - I mean that literally (inspired by Dragonheart perhaps? Bad pun, sorry.) - not some weird human dragon-like relationship or anything and you need to win it back. You are now the arisen" and have the control, amongst other things, to call Pawns from another realm and have them fight by your side.
Once completing the usual customisation of your character that comes part and parcel with most RPG's of this ilk you select a Vocation; a close combat melee Fighter (sword and shield), distance expert Striker (bow and daggers) or a wizard/Mage (does magic stuff). Then not long into the game I was given the opportunity to customise my partner in crime/main Pawn/bro/sidekick and then given the same amount of detail that is usually only given to the main character. These Pawns play an important part in the game and are not just there to help in battle. They have knowledge of quests, enemies and foes, so it pays to have a chat to them occasionally instead of ignoring them until cutscenes like in most other games like this.
I absolutely loved the Pawn companion system and the way Pawns of all different pursuasions, fighting styles and mastery can be summonsed from the other realm at certain glowy rocks (Rift Stones) to fight by your side. These Pawns have good AI and can also be issued orders as well, fighting gallantly by your side and responding quickly to your requests. The other great thing about the game, especially for beginner to advanced, was having so much information available from the start menu and it is all laid out nicely, making it pretty easy to navigate. Everything from Quest info to in depth tutorials can be called up here and I was thankful, especially considering I was playing other games in between and leaving it for a couple of days at a time before my next session.
The combat itself is really solid and satisfying. Adding to this is the way you can grab a hold of massive enemies and climb up on them, all the while stabbing them as you go is a fantastic and probably my favourite element of the game. It looks good too, aside from heaps of graphical glitches that I find really breaks the realism and loses the immersion I like to feel in games. Things like the old limbs passing through solid objects, enemies seemingly appearing out of nowhere and parts of the map struggling to catch up at times. It was made up for in part with some nice detail in the textures and shading, especially when applied to the Bosses and giant creatures.
When darkness comes it brings with it a bit of dread, knowing I will be reliant on the restrictive glow of my lamp and knowing that anything could jump out at any time, and it did, often. I loved this about the game and there were a few genuine startles, especially when a massive troll suddenly appears in your close vicinity. The Guild and other specific places like that serve as the place to rest, learn skills and even change Vocation later in the game.
The maps are huge and there are enough Main and Sub Missions to keep even the most dedicated RPG fans happy. I did find it hard to distinguish Main from Sub's though in the Quest Menu. Some quests are intertwined and the answers to an unsolvable problem in one may be hidden inside another quest so it is encouraged to take on as many as possible. Others provide complete lack of information and at times misdirection and at times reaching for the trusty search engine.
You can increase your Affinity by completing mini quests or tasks given to you by people on your travels but on the flipside, doing stuff they don't appease to makes it decrease, so it is best to stay in their good books. Learn new skills at certain points at a cost and can then be assigned to an action button. Storage and rest is available at these points too which can come in handy for obvious reasons. Looting and gathering is rife in this game and collecting materials and exploring rather than just dashing through until your stamina runs out is definitely recommended.
I actually enjoyed this nearly as much as Skyrim and in my opinion it looks better (played on PS3 for Dragons Dogma and X360 for Skyrim). In my opinion I think this is probably more accessible for players who may not be versed and invested in the Elder Scrolls universe. It is definitely a much better outing than White Knight chronicles and it is a lot better laid out with its menus and a bit easier to understand but Dragons Dogma is still not completely void of a learning curve.
Dragons Dogma is a good RPG accessible to just about any level of gamer interested in this style of game. It's intuitive and doesn't leave important details down to memory, having a solid library of almost every facet of the game available from the start button. With just the right amount of depth I found this thoroughly enjoyable with a great story and addictive Gameplay creating a great balance. It has ambition, and for a new IP it aims high and mostly delivers. On the most part this is an extremely rewarding game, even the tedious, mundane tasks do serve their purpose and help the player level up while increasing the overall immersion I mentioned earlier. There are some teething problems but there is no good reason why this should not go on to become the next big RPG franchise.For the final score and more, go to Maceman Reviews
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