Dragon's Dogma was a game I was looking forward to and it's a shame I haven't had the opportunity to write up a review until now. I've read some reviews and heard what my friends had to say on the game. Some was good. Most . . . not so great. Bummer. But, I had to find out for myself. As I've said before, I have made the mistake of writing off a game before I even played it, only to discover the game is phenomenal. After getting my hands on it, I can say this. Dragon's Dogma is a game for the hardcore RPG enthusiast . The rest of you may want to steer clear. And here's why.
Dragon's Dogma Trailer Youtube vid by CapcomUnityVideos
Dragon's Dogma: This Is How You Take Down A Dragon
Let's start on a high note. What Dragon's Dogma does right is the combat. To The Elder Scrolls and other RPG's wherein the player fights against fantastical creatures and monsters: THIS IS HOW YOU TAKE DOWN EPIC CREATURES. You can hack and slash at the legs and ankles of dragons and trolls all you want. Heck, you can even implement some quick time events; but to actually engage in the experience, to have control where other games would simply throw in a quick sequence where you just watch what you could be doing, Dragon's Dogma delivers what it promised: A revolution to RPG combat. Climbing and scaling massive monsters, drawing your sword, and stabbing them repeatedly in the neck never grows old.
No Fast Travel???
Unfortunately, I'm already running out of complements. Let's talk about the world in which you'll be journeying. It's massive. It's comparable to games like Skyrim, Red Dead Redemption, Just Cause 2, you get the idea. Only you can't fast travel. You don't even get a mount like in Skyrim and Read Dead Redemption. You'll be running from A to B and stopping about 30 times while your guy/gal has to stop and gasp for breath. There's some crystals to help you out, get you where you need to go, but these are few and far between. A game this massive needs a fast travel system. The option is needed for the 90% who will hate having to run everywhere.
One Save File???
There is only one save file. IN AN RPG. Sorry, I tell the truth. One save file. Make it a good one. Many defend the decision because you can pretty much acquire all the classes in one playthrough. Actually, it's a refreshing change of pace to be able to switch between classes to meet the situation. But I digress. As with any RPG, you'll have players who want to role play. Role play in an RPG. It's not rocket science. And you need more than one file for that.
Dragon's Dogma: SHUT UP PAWNS!!!
Let's talk about the Pawn system. It's nifty. Summon help whenever you need it. ANY TIME you need it. So hopefully they're not in the middle of cooking on the stove, taking a shower, sleeping, or on that date they've been looking forward to all week. What will drive you crazy is these guys never SHUT UP. You'll want to hit the mute button after hearing HARPIE! HARPIE! HARPIE! about fifteen times in one skirmish. Or take on a small group of goblins to have a Pawn inform you they're weak to fire. Thanks, bud, I heard you the first 2,349 times. Moron . . . Now, you can sit down a Pawn and basically tell them to keep their yak shut, but players shouldn't have to do this. I wonder if any of the developers ever sat through 10 straight minutes of this game while in development. How else could something so annoying slip by unchecked? HOW? The poor guys have short term memory loss. Why a Pawn has to make the same exact comment every time you stroll down the path by a beach, I'll never know.
Dragon's Dogma Won't Hold Your Hand
Now for some positive aspects. Dragon's Dogma is challenging. It doesn't hold your hand and guide you through every little detail. If you're not careful and recklessly rush into certain battles without some kind of a plan or strategy, you'll die. Just take comfort in that just about every way in which you can die, is pretty cool as it's something like a Griffin dropping your sorry carcass from 300 feet above the ground. SPLAT.
Dragon's Dogma Gameplay Youtube vid by CapcomUnityVideos
Customization and Leveling in Dragon's Dogma
Another thing Dragon's Dogma has going for it is its extensive customization. A staple for just about any RPG, but Dragon's Dogma actually delivers on the customization. Get the look you want and you can actually see it in cut scenes. There are a few classes from the start, and the rest are unlocked which further specialize your guy into the type of fighter you want him to be. As you level, you'll choose new abilities from piercing ice spells to clearing a whole area with a single swing of your sword.
Score of Dragon's Dogma
The score in Dragon's Dogma (No, not the stupid opening music that couldn't be more out of place) is gripping and adds to the experience. And with so many flaws, the score in this game is even more important than most others. It adds wonders to the atmosphere and the epic feeling you should feel when taking down immense fantasy monsters like towering trolls and tenacious Griffins. The tempo picks up during combat and finishes with a feeling of "Yeah, I'm a Bas@ss."
Let's talk briefly about the main quest. Don't get your hopes up. If you're looking for something that will blow your mind, your time would be better spent with another game. Unfortunately, Dragon's Dogma doesn't break any new ground when it comes to plot and story telling, and even the side quests are on the same level, which they shouldn't be, because they're SIDE QUESTS. Either way, most, not all, but most are boring. And the thing is, this game sets you up. The opening is fun and exciting, and I'd argue the last half hour or so are engaging as well. It's just not enough.
Dragon's Dogma Graphic Washout
The graphics are inconsistent. At times it seems decent, not something that will have you playing like you're under hypnosis, but decent in general. And the rest of the time, it's just a bland, washed out mess of textures and pop ins. All around, you can see amazing potential. The world in which you play has been done a disservice. It's a huge missed opportunity. It's like someone painted on the first layer of paint and forgot the second, third, fourth, and then rinsed the whole thing out even further by running what could be a beautiful painting under a faucet.
Dragon's Dogma Final Verdict
It's a shame really. I really wanted to like this game. It's pretty good in that I believe it's accomplished it's main goal of changing the way the player takes down bosses. But there is just so much wrong with the game that at least needs to be patched that prevents me, and I'm sure many others from enjoying what this game could have been. And I really think it could have been something so much more. Take some time to think of a plot that is actually interesting and engaging. Throw in the OPTION to fast travel. Dial down the constant chatter and exclamations of your pals, up the graphics a bit, allow for more than one save file, and what you'll have is a game that can stand amongst the other greats in the genre. Dragon's Dogma earns a 6 out of 10.