Dragon's Dogma Review
Engrossing and frustrating, Dragon's Dogma is a flawed and unique gem.
- Fantastic combat encounters against awesome monsters
- One of the best boss fights in any role-playing game, ever
- There is always a surprise around the corner
- Atmospheric touches that make the world feel authentic
- A series of striking choices leads to an unforgettable ending.
- Tedious backtracking through familiar territory
- Annoying pawn behavior
- Bizarre quest-related and story events.
You might have heard Dragon's Dogma compared to Shadow of the Colossus, the The Elder Scrolls series, the Monster Hunter games, or even Dark Souls. But while this open-world role-playing adventure has some superficial similarities to these games and others, it can't really be described through such comparisons. Dragon's Dogma is stubborn and defiant, wonderful and infuriating in the way it does its own thing without regard for whether or not it was the right thing to do. That defiant attitude will have you cursing the game and rolling your eyes at the frustrations, yet you will be enchanted. When a game plays by a set of rules this unique, there is always a surprise lurking around the bend, or ready to strike from above.
And so you may love Dragon's Dogma. Prepare for a passionate relationship but a dysfunctional one, in which your lover refuses to give an inch, and yet you return for more. And like many relationships, this one begins with a bright spark--in this case, a prologue that gives you a taste of the legendary battles to come. And if that scenario doesn't draw you in, then an early cutscene certainly will: a dragon tears open your puny chest with a gigantic single claw, pierces your heart with that same claw, and swallows the vital organ in a gulp.
How could you possibly survive such an attack? After all: you have no heart! Answers come--well, some, anyway--but not before you ask countless more questions. You discover that you are the Arisen, but what does this title truly mean? How are you connected to this giant wyrm? How is it you can understand its guttural, unknown language? But before you find resolution, you must come to grips with yet another discovery. As the Arisen, you can command humanoids known as pawns that hail from another dimension. These pawns exist to serve; they wander the roads, ready to enlist as your companion, and aimlessly stroll in a murky otherworld called the Rift, where you can call them to your cause.
Up to three pawns can join you on your journey. One of them is a permanent fixture; you choose his (or her) looks, his name, and his class, and as he levels, you can equip skills and upgrades for him just as you can for yourself. Your other pawns are hirelings and can be taken on and dismissed as you see fit. These poor lost sheep aren't necessarily products of the game's creators, however; they may also be other players' main pawns who have stolen away to your own world, serfs to be bought by the land's rising star. Provided you have enough of the rift points needed to purchase them, you can bring on pawns of any level--even one much higher than yourself.
Traveling with pawns is like having the company of curious, forgetful children who are constantly delighted by the world around them. And like children, they never shut up about things, interrupting each other with abandon. "What a large tree," one enthuses, each time you pass the same oak. "It's weak to fire!" your mage exclaims, as if it isn't the hundredth time he's seen a goblin. There are ways to adjust your pawns' social behavior, but the repeated lines can get tiresome. How is it possible they're so surprised that the path is near the beach, when they've noted the information countless times already? The chatter is meant to make pawns seem aware of the world around them, but with so much repetition, the illusion is shattered.
Yet despite their short-term memory loss, there's a charm to the dignified acting and affected Ye Olde English dialogue of your pawns. Your minions are just so happy to serve you, so happy to remind you that you need to shoot at a cyclops's single eye that you can only shake your head in wonder of their dedication. If only their other transgressions were so modest. "Heal thyself" you will cry aloud to your mage, who possesses any number of healing items, yet ignores them in favor of throwing another few fireballs. You can set general behaviors and give general commands, but a system for micromanaging the AI in the way of Final Fantasy XII or Dragon Age: Origins would have been a godsend.
Nevertheless, your pawns--bless their childlike souls--have a way of earning your affection, both by announcing their desire to serve, and by summoning meteor showers and spikes of ice when you most need them. Dragon's Dogma's closing moments use this attachment to enormous effect. Don't worry that this is a spoiler: nothing could prepare you for the bizarre and memorable turn of events to come. Well, nothing, perhaps, but the few hours of incredible gameplay leading up to it, beginning with an amazing and heroic boss battle that just keeps going and going, yet never drags because it keeps introducing new ideas and finding new ways to build tension.
It certainly doesn't hurt that the same boss creature is many, many times your size--as are a number of the other monsters you face. Griffons, chimeras, and golems are among the beasts you slay, and the ensuing battles are the game's primary draw. Imagine this scenario: You exit the city of Gran Soren, and a massive shrieking griffon flies above, circling in the air before landing just a few feet from you. As a warrior, you lash away at its talons while your companions set its wings ablaze, though this is by no means a certain victory. The griffon may simply fly away if you don't occupy its attention long enough. It might pick you up, fly upward, and drop you to your death. But you might gain the upper hand by leaping upon it, grabbing its feathers, and flailing away as it soars through the skies.
Such moments are the culmination of Dragon's Dogma's outstanding combat scenarios. These are some of the best-animated creatures in any game to date. You've never seen chimeras like this: part lion, part goat, part snake, and all fearsome. The lion's head roars and bucks, while the goat atop it yowls its displeasure at the flames you have rained upon it. When you lop off the serpentine tail and the beast falls, it kicks its legs wildly as it tries to get back on its feet. With substantial creatures, you can grab an appendage and climb your way to any body part accessible, provided you've got the stamina. These may be beasts of legend, but they behave in believable ways. Gravity affects them in ways that make sense, and armor falls from their bodies as you smash into it.
"You've never seen chimeras like this: part lion, part goat, part snake, and all fearsome."
OK, I really have to take issue with this statement Kevin - that description, and the representation in game, is the Grecian classical definition of a chimaera, and exactly how it's been portrayed for millenia.
Please, your honest opinion:
Skyrim, or Dragon's Dogma, or Dark Souls (PS3 ), or The Witcher 2 (Xbox360), or something else????
@dalua360 Dark Souls all the way... 2nd SKyrim... 3rd Dragons Dogma & 4th ..whatever that other game is because I dont have a 360 and my Macs are not for gaming
@dalua360 Dragon's Dogma or Dark Souls. Dark Souls is harder but Dragon's Dogma is no slouch either.
@dalua360 Ive got Skyrim and Dark souls, planning to get DD. Dark Souls if you're up for the challenge.
All of the above. ;)
@dalua360 i vote for Dragons Dogma... very nice game!
@dalua360 Haven't played Witcher 2, otherwise: Dark Souls, Skyrim and Dragon's Dogma in that order; with Dragon's Dogma a distant 3rd. A good game, but not even close to DS or Skyrim.
I only played skyrim and Witcher 2 because I am a PC user. I preordered Darksouls. All I can say is Skyrim and Witcher 2 are both different games and both are terrific in their own way.
How does it compare to Skyrim? Well, read the review, that will be a good way to find out. This game has me interested, but I don't want to drop more than $30 to take the plunge. There seem to be too many missteps in the gameplay to plunk down more than that. Kevin's description of the game not being a "generic rehash" is the most encouraging comment of the review. Seems like Capcom wants to offer an alternative to Bethesda's open world RPGs, which I'm all for. I think their formula (Fallout, Elder Scrolls) is getting tired, and a fresh take on the open world RPG would be welcome by me. But it has to be a fresh take on the genre that is well done. At least for the greater part of the experience, and from the reviews I am not convinced that is the case with Dragon's Dogma. I am willing to take a chance on it, but not for more than $30.
@Poordevil If the game had stronger enemies in the New Game+ I would easily pay $80 for this game. It can keep you busy for weeks, but unfortunately after you beat the game 2 or 3 times, the low-level enemies become a chore to engage.
@Poordevil it's worth it... even more than $30... i'd rather play Dragon's Dogma's New Game +, rather than to go back and finish my Skyrim...
even i dont like his reviews but this is the first time i agree with him ..this game it has the best fight system ever *i know coz im a big fan of RPG games* the skills is beautiful and fun..i love the game more than Skyrim...i cant wait for more from the series <3
thus far, 24 hours i have found this game pretty good oversall. The conbat kicks ten shades out of Skyrim, the world feels natural and real and the attribute system is fairly tight. However, i HATE the pawns system, its just pointless, one yes, 4? too much for my blood....... Also the constant hours of running between destinations, although assisting i exploration, makes me want to cry everytime i die and start from last checkpoint.... seriously, i have turned of the system out of anger at this.... what a ridicualous concept. I do love this game, but ilove dark SOuls ALOT more...........
Dragons dogma is a massive console rpg, its bound to have flaws. All games do. Its the positives that make up for the negitives that make this game great. And the monsters are a higher level because they're 50 feet tall and twelve tons. I like this feature, realism. That's another reason I don't mind the fact that there is no fast travel. Its a since of realism that other games don't give you. Imagine all the things you miss in elder scrolls because you can jump to cities and caves. Although someone said the rift stones should be warp portals, I agree. Even if dragons dogma has flaws its still one the funnest most exciting rpgs out there. The only flaw I find in this game tht if fixed would make it a 10 is the classes.rougesh classes should have a sneak mode and a backstab feature. Other than that I give this game a 9.5 .
i own and played both D'sD and skyrim and both games are miles apart ,except for the sole reason they are both rpg's. you said you don't like fast traveling and the fact that skyrim does but do you realise that it's optional so therefore you won't mis anything unless you want to , put that aside i like D'sD but for me i love skyrim much more for it's diversive world.
@zombieallred89 ya but i like the fast travel in dark souls.....goes to the most important sites. but you can not reach everywhere
in Skyrim, is upset because you can go everywhere
" Everywhere " only if you know the place before.
@lpsyco666 I'm not sure I quite understand what your trying to say. You do or you don't like skyrim? I believe its all based on opinion and I'm probably one of the very few that enjoy traveling the virtual world of gransys
with those emblems and the "good" comment the game deserve to be a editor choise ..at least and 8.5..oh the review..:-/
Spot on review, Kev. Dragon's Dogma really is a flawed, amazing, silly, and immersive experience. The quirks that it displays are all its own, and I have never played anything like it. Ever.
The role=playing system is unlike anything in any RPG that I have played. A player can level well beyond 100 and the different classes progress with different stats. Choosing your pawn's class and skills, and most other customization options, is also a great experience.
Everyone interested in action RPGs should try Dragon's Dogma, you just might love it.
I'm around 40 hrs into Dragon's Dogma and I must admit that I love this game. It's one of the most immersive gaming experiences of the last years. Although the story is a bit weak, combat and exploration are top notch. It's one of those titles where the hardest thing is putting down the controller ;)
@DaDoom Can totally relate .. i can't put down the controller either whenever i start playing ... it literally falls out of hand when i can't stay awake any more 4 AM in the morning XD
Kevin VanOrd is one of the top reviewers of GS. He is a huge fan of RPG games and he knows how to communicate with us.
@FoxDie85 ...Not. This review was low...it should've been at LEAST 8.5 if not editor's choice...he even picks fun at the chimera ..any serious RPGer knows what a mythical beast looks like...
They mad a big mistake I think with this game.... They pit you against high lvl monsters when you and your pawns are low lvl.... The first 2 were kinda easy, the hydra and the Lion with a snake tail and a goats head on his back..... chimera I think it was called.. they should of made it like Reckoning, where the foes and enemy's are same or lower lvl than you and they lvl when u lvl... I still give it an 8.5 cause I loved the game play, just don't like it when they pit tough enemies against you when you first start out a game when your a low lvl noob...lol
@TheGame50401 I liked how the foes are higher lvl than me, I have to choose wether to fight or avoid it, and if it can't be avoided (like if you're ambushed), flee. I've once made a stupid decision of fighting a dragon in the southern forest, didn't end well lol..
@TheGame50401 i think They want impact. capcom always likes to impact with games
@TheGame50401 I'm glad they didn't put that hand-holding mechanic in. If the enemies are to tough, fight them later when you're stronger.
Damn this game is good. If only it had just a little bigger map to explore. The healing system can also be too easily exploited if you have enough money. I hope this will turn into a series, we need more stuff like this.
Man , Most of the users don't play RPG games ... but what i prefer is RPG games because it has unique of gamplay other than all the type of games
Dragon Dogma is one of my favorite RPG game after Monster Hunter 3 (all the series)
yeah Dragon Dogma rules ..... :) :) :)
In my opinion this game should get 9.0 out of 10
yeah " Hunt or Be Hunted " lolz
they should make the stones used to summon pawns double as warp points so that u can move around the world a bit more freely
@Cell_kl That would completely water down the exploration aspect .. DD is one of the very few games today where exploration still feels dangerous, exhilarating and fun .. any means of easy fast travel will ruin that like in Skyrim.
Game deserves at least an 8.5. One of the best RPGs out there (and I've played them all), if your undecided buy it now. Dont ever listen to IGN, an absolute joke that they gave Kingdoms of Amalur 9 and Dragon's Dogma only a 7.5. Thank God for Gamespot!
@nixonjd Yeah, I've seen IGN give games way too many shady scores. Gamespot usually sticks pretty close to the user score which I think reflects pretty accurately how good a game is, unless of course that game is getting a lot of hate from a minority (like Mass Effect 3 and Diablo 3).
Truly the best RPG ive ever played.I ve played Demon Souls, Dark Souls, Final Fantasy games, Zelda games, Xenoblde Chronicles, White Chronicles, tried Skyrim but the combat was awful so stop after 15 hours and probably more. Dark Souls used to be my favorite but DD open world setting to explore, character and pawn customisation, pawn companions, sidequest, enemies and awesome creatures you fight made the experience a truly RPG adventure!
Why get a RPG nut to review an arcade action game or beat-em up release?
Mr Van Ord enjoyed this game because of its RPG content - anyone buying this game and not expecting a decent RPG needs an education in gameplaying.
I got Dragons Dogma and its a great game - the review is fine if a little spoiler orientated - but I forgive Mr Van Ord's enthusiasm - he is pasionate for this genre - and I prefer this to the usual mix of non-plused reviews.
See, Mr Van Ord has reviewed action games in the past and his seemingly lack of love / appreciation for the genre has also surely affected the overall scoring in those reviews - imo the choice of reviewer in respect of genre is crucial to the gamesplaying public..
With a dedicated game site like GS, the leading editor should be the one deciding who is right for reviewing titles ie. specialists in said genre.
What i'm saying is considering the reviewer's gaming preferences should be a given.
My biggest gripe with this game is the lack of fast travel. I'm a good 30hrs in completing every sidequest i can find and having to walk the entire length of the map is a chore. The Ferrystones don't help as they only transport you to Gran Soren, I'm hoping at some point I will get to choose where I want to be taken too. Also the game goes into meltdown when too much is going on, everything to slows way down, you'd think the 4GB install would help the issue but nope.
But I am enjoying it, even though it doesn't sound it XD
@TwinSnakes1989 Many people think lack of fast travel is actually a plus here .. everytime something new or unexpected might happen one the way .. and there are many side-distractions that you could spend hours exploring ... you just need to actually plan you travels well so that you complete multiple quests in one journey ... it makes you feel like you and your pawns are a real band of adventurers who go on long perilous journeys and need to plan and stock well before they go on .. the escort missions are some of the best and hardest in the game and a fast travel system would destroy them completely.For example .. i met a Chimera in a thick forest near the Bandit castle in the south .. i explored the place before and found nothing but lizard-warriors .. so when i had to go there again i went there with confidence that there is no real danger there .. only to find a Chimera sitting there relaxing .. and i only realized what it really was after it was breathing down the neck of my Arisen .. not to mention it was already dusk and our party had 10 lizard men all around us plus the raging Chimera .. i had a blast with that fight .. with fast travel that battle wouldn't have happened at all since i explored that area before.
@TwinSnakes1989 I've heard that making the xbox display in 720p and not 1080p will fix the slowdowns in some cases. If only this game had a similar quick travel system as Dark Souls had. Skyrim's system was way too easy and almost sucked the enjoyment out of exploration for me.
Wow this game looks great. I've seen the name around before but never really bothered to check it out. It looks like it has some great combat for an RPG, more akin to a 3rd person action game. I might get this. Hopefully they releases some updates to take care of some of the shortcomings, like adding warp points and such.
@Dark_Metamorphosis No, please no warp points .. they would completely dilute and ruin the exploration and adventuring aspect of the game like they did in Skyrim.
- Player Reviews: 66
- Game Universe:
- Dragon's Dogma (X360, PS3),
- Dragon's Dogma: From a Different Sky - Part 1 (X360, PS3),
- Dragon's Dogma: From a Different Sky - Part 2 (X360, PS3),
- Dragon's Dogma: From a Different Sky - Part 3 (X360, PS3),
- Dragon's Dogma: From a Different Sky - Part 4 (PS3, X360),
- Dragon's Dogma: From a Different Sky - Part 5 (PS3, X360),
- Dragon's Dogma: From a Different Sky - Part 6 (PS3, X360),
- Dragon's Dogma: From a Different Sky - Part 7 (PS3, X360),
- Dragon's Dogma: From A Different Sky - Part 8 (PS3, X360),
- Dragon's Dogma: From A Different Sky - Part 9 (PS3, X360)