Dragon’s Dogma is was released in late May of 2012. It has been compared to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Shadow of the Colossus, Monster Hunter, and Devil May Cry. It is an action rpg that follows the a character whom you create using the pretty detailed Character Creation interface, and their quest to slay the Dragon. This will take you all across Gransys, with plenty of adventures and fun along the way.
Dragon’s Dogma has a well constructed open world element to it. It allows the player to spend time exploring as well as completing the many available side quests. The lack of fast travel is strange. The player is able to use ferrystones to return them to the capital, though sometimes they are consumed in the process. Being an explorer myself, I didn’t mind too much. I just walk everywhere, fighting plenty of monsters and getting plenty of loot.
The player is able to store any items and equipment they aren’t using, which is incredibly useful, especially with upgrading weapons and armor. While you cannot craft armor, you do use materials you find throughout Gransys to improve your existing gear.
The game is purely a single player experience. However, each player creates a “pawn” that will follow them throughout their adventures. They control this pawn’s development as well as its equipment and skills. This brings forth the only real online interaction within the game. A player is able to have three pawns in his party. To get to three, the player is able to recruit pawns that other people have made. These pawns aren’t taken away from the player who made them and the creator can receive items and rift crystals (which can be used to recruit higher level pawns) in return.
Each member of the party will have a vocation. This vocation determines that character’s stat growth, skill set, and weapons. For example, a mage will have low health, attack, and defense, though they will have high magic and magic defense. While they will be able to use magic, they will not be able to use, say daggers and a bow like a strider or a sword and shield like a fighter. There are nine vocations in total, though pawns can only become one of the first six. Each vocations plays extremely different from the others, and out of all the ones I’ve played, they’ve all been enjoyable (though the ranger and warrior are my favorites).
Combat is incredibly detailed and well formulated. Each creature you encounter has different weak spots as well as tougher spots of the body. You have stamina that drains as you use skills. There are different status effects, known as boons or debilitations. Each creature also has different responses to each of the elements. For example, Chimeras and Griffins are weak to fire. However, it goes much deeper than that, with stagger resistance, attack frames, timing, and much more going into how much damage you do and how much you receive, as well as if you you’re sent flying or not.
The boss battles are the highlight of this game. Cyclops, Ogres, Griffins, Cockatrices, Chimeras, Dragons, and more inhabit Gransys, and each one takes very specific strategies to bring down. The ability to climb over these massive beasts allows for not only new levels of interaction, rather than simply attacking the beast’s legs, but also new strategies.
I’ve dumped a lot of hours into this game, and I’m nowhere near stopping. Not only is there a lot of story content to begin with, there is also an open world to explore and tons of side quests, plus the ability to start a new game plus. I would highly recommend this game. While it can be frustrating when your pawns do stupid things, it’s one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played in a very long time.
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