Dragons Dogma was originally released back in 2012 on PS3/Xbox 360, and then got an updated version called Dark Arisen in 2013. The game was a fantastic experience back then, and managed to feel like a mix of different games, like Dark Souls and Skyrim, but at the same time still managing to feel unique. It has now been released again on PC, with some nice visual upgrades.
Its been four years now since Capcom released Dragons Dogma, and since then we have seen numerous different RPGs. Capcom hasn’t really been focusing on bringing out new games, and have been tending to put out remastered games like Resident Evil. I don’t think that its such a bad thing, as it allows for new gamers to experience great games. The narrative in Dragons Dogma is fairly simple, and easy to get into. You play as a young man, who starts out in a village that is attacked by a dragon. The dragon takes your heart, and calls you Arisen. This is done through impressive, cinematic cut scenes.
The game is filled to the brim with quests and tasks to take on. These quests will see you travelling to various locations throughout the land. The idea is to try and track down the terrifying dragon. When you start out, you can select your character after a short gameplay introduction. The character customisation isn’t hugely deep, but does offer enough choice to create a decent character. You even get to create a sidekick, known as a pawn, to aid you on your journey. The controls on PC took some getting used to, and there’s a lot to take in. The great thing about playing the game on PC is that you can completely re-map the keyboard to suit your style of gameplay. It also supports a controller, which is nice to have the option. The direction of your journey very much depends on which objectives you take on, and the characters you interact with.
The game has a strong focus on combat, which overall feels very good. The game allows you to upgrade your character’s abilities from experience points. This is great, as it allows you to create an experience that you want. You can play as a fighter, assassin or Mage build. I with the assassin like character because he has daggers for melee attacks, and a bow for ranged attacks. If you prefer a sword and shield approach, like Dark Souls, then you can go with the fighter.
You also have the ability to select what type of pawn you have. They are very useful, and will help you defeat harder enemies. You can even upgrade, equip and assign them to particular roles and jobs. As I said the combat feels satisfying, but what makes it unique is the ability to grab or climb onto larger enemies, to either hold down or attack. This reminded me of the popular game, Shadow of the Colossus. The game does get pretty hard, and it certainly takes some practise. Its worth having a healer at your side, to assist you when things are getting tricky. The game has a nice mix of smaller enemies, and much larger beasts that you must bring down. This is where the game is at its best. The massive beasts are not only visually impressive, but also greatly satisfying once you defeat them. The larger enemies almost feel like mini games in themselves, which I really enjoyed. This is where having allies alongside you is very important. The feeling of bringing down a massive beast is extremely satisfying.
Another aspect to Dragons Dogma that keeps gameplay fresh, is the day and night cycle. The world feels like a different place as the light changes. The dark made things feel increasingly more challenging. You carry a lantern, much like in the Dark Souls games, which you need greatly. The world is full of interesting towns and environments to explore, and people to talk to. I found it was vitally important to try to complete as many tasks and quests as possible to gain more XP, and upgrade my abilities.
The overall presentation of the game is fantastic, and looks awesome on PC. I found the game ran perfectly at 1080p with consistent 60 fps. The game has plenty of options to play with, which include HDR, textures, anti-aliasing and other features that improve the experience. It still looks like an old game compared to say a game like the Witcher 3, but it still holds up fine. The world is full of interesting characters to talk to, and many quests to take on. I also really enjoyed the whimsical soundtrack, that added a feeling of magic and fantasy.
The only real issues I had with the game was when I got stuck on various bosses that I found almost impossible to beat. Also you will find that you have a cover large distances on foot, and after a while it does become a bit tedious. There are only a few fast travel points, unlike modern RPGs like The Witcher, that offer far more points around the map. I also found that some of the character’s faces looked a bit bland, but this is to be expected from a game of the last generation.
Overall, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is a great game that has now had some improved visual enhancements. It’s an action RPG, that is incredibly deep and challenging. The game does feel old in some aspects, but what it does well it does great. It’s an experience that not only feels like a blend of games like Dark Souls, The Witcher and Skyrim, but also has some unique elements that makes the game stand on its own. If you like games that see you exploring magical worlds, full of people to interact with and enemies to slay, then this is an RPG certainly worth revisiting or checking out for the first time.
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