(Please note: I am not a native speaker, but I have tried my best. I hope you can read this review without getting a headache. And feel free to point out mistakes I made in this piece of text, because, only that way I can improve. Thanks.)
“The long Night has come, the Dragons Reign at last begins!“
Or so they shout, while a dragon rips out your heart out of your Body.
Before you even know what really happened, you lose consciousness, waking up in your female friend’s house, where you overhear a conversation of her and a relative over how the dragon might be a bad omen for the world.
Once the short prologue to the game ended, you’ll be (more or less) thrown into cold water, and you’re free to explore the world at your own pace, with the only thing you really know being that something bad happened, and more of it is to come.
The first thing to explore is, aside from your surroundings, the very unique battle system, that is used in Dragons Dogma. You bind a couple of skills to your face buttons, a set for your main-, and one for your secondary weapon.
Which kind of Weapon you use depends on the Class you choose, when the game first start up, you can choose between the equivalents to Warrior, Rogue and Mage.
Then, after a few hours in, you can change between the 9 classes (that there are in total) at your own will. You need to unlock them by purchasing them the same way you purchase new skills, with a currency called Job-points, which you’ll earn in battle.
The tactical, though still fast-paced combat system is complimented greatly by the kind of enemies you face, because the damage they’ll take, and their reaction to your skills vary a lot, meaning that if you are a warrior wielding a giant blade, you may bring the enemy to their knees, by constantly hitting the legs, which will put them in a disadvantage, while as an archer, you can aim for the head, dealing greater damage for hitting the sweet spot immediately, but eventually turning him mad and changing his pattern of attack because of it.
But traveling on your own isn’t fun, is it? So shortly after your first minutes, a “Pawn”, an NPC that will aid you in battle shows up, bound to you until your release him of his duties. A short while after, you can create your very own, your “Mainpawn”, which you can then customize at your own will. In a sense, he is just like your main character, you’ll decide his or her looks, what class they are and later will be, and you can influence how they fight by giving them direct advice.
Your party will eventually contain up to 4 characters, you, your main pawn, and 2 pawns you recruit from other players. (Or, when playing offline, premade pawns are available to you)
The entire system of pawns you’ll have at your disposal will give you lots of options on how to create and optimize your team, and while a lot of combinations of classes will work, you’ll need to do some serious brainwork, if you want to travel in the world of Gransys with ease.
The Quests tend to be quite the unique undertakings. While they actually don’t differ too much from quests in other games, the ones in Dragons Dogma tend to take a little longer, meaning that you’ll be out in the fields for quite some time. And with this fact, choosing at which time you want to depart onto your journey will play an important role in how difficult the task at hand will be. While you can always start the mission in the early morning, you’ll also have the option to move out later in the day, causing you to travel in the dark – which is a lot more dangerous due to the fact that your sight is extremely limited, and enemies tend to be more aggressive in the Night. If you do this however, you’ll probably end up with more experience and loot than you would have got otherwise.
Over all, Dragon’s Dogma works quite well, and it is, in my opinion, impressive to see how the very first open-world game from Capcom turned out. But with that said, Dragons Dogma has a lot of smaller issues, that hold the true potential (that really is to be seen a lot in the game)of the title back. If you are like me for example, you’ll probably want to kill that annoying merchant for repeating the same line OVER and OVER again while all you want to is to buy some stuff – that “What do you need? whatever you like” is really stuck in my head, and it may be staying there for friggin’-ever. In addition, the idea of GREATLY limiting quick travel to make the task at hand to feel more like an adventure is a great idea, but it ain’t fun anymore after you traversed the same road for the twentieth time, especially if the enemies aren’t a challenge anymore after your fifth time.
Something I also want to address is the Soundtrack. While it contains some nice tunes, those are partly mostly used in kind of a weird way. You’ll probably be happy about hearing some birds chirping in the wild after lots of travel without anything in the background, while cut scenes and Boss fights are a little overloaded from time to time. Oh and before I forget, the Menu’s in Dragons Dogma aren’t exactly the definition of intuitive.
- Great Battle System/brilliant Pawn System,/highly motivating/ great atmosphere
- Good but partly misused Soundtrack / the limitations of quick travel are a nice idea, but the implementation of this great idea tends to suck, since it doesn’t compliment the game’s layout. The game lacks an intuitive Interface / (kind of personal: To be honest, i think that traveling at night is way too easy, once you’ve got the hang of it. The only problem left then really is that you can’t really look into the distance.)
Capcom has created a very good game that can be recommended to pretty much every fan of open world RPG’s, but it isn’t without flaws. (Even though they are very mostly minor) I really do hope that Capcom builds up upon the foundation they have created with this game, because Dragons Dogma is a very promising new IP, and I can see this brand growing very strong. Capcom, don’t disappoint and give me a Dragon’s Dogma 2 that improves upon the first, already being a very good game in its own rights!