When I played Dragon’s Dogma about six months out from release I didn’t like it. I found the controls confusing, the combat perplexing and was left feelingly mildly dazed by the game. In fact I walked away from the game with a feeling almost identical to the one I get when I manage to block an overzealous striker’s shot with my face, although I will admit that it was less painful.
All of this means it was probably a good thing that we gave the game to Dan for review; an article from me that simply said “I don’t understand” may not have been all that useful. With the game coming in at 7/10 it’s reasonable to say that Dan wasn’t the game’s biggest fan either, although he certainly found more to like than I did.
So just what did Capcom’s newest RPG do to earn that score? Well Dan was particularly enamoured with two aspects of the game, the boss battles and the game’s Pawn system. On the boss fight front he didn’t go into too much depth, being content to call them “pretty damn awesome.” He did add that he enjoyed the way that Capcom had thrown in random encounter boss battles if you strayed off the beaten track, something that does sound relatively interesting.[drop2]Now, onto the Pawn system. This is probably the most interesting area of Dragon’s Dogma, although you can take that away if you simply boil it down to the phrase “AI companions”. Sure, there’s customisation in both looks and attack patterns of you main Pawn, one you’re given towards the beginning of the game, but that’s not all the unique.
No, what makes the Pawn system special is the ability to hire your main Pawn out to other online players. They’re still in your game, but they gain experience and knowledge of the environment with your friend at the same time. It’s an interesting concept, and feels like a fresh take on the use of online capabilities.
Obviously with a 7/10 score the game was going to have some issues, and amongst those were the dull characters. Dan complained that he wasn’t really able to form any sort of bond with his main character, finding him “just a bit lifeless,” and noting that “The same can be said of the majority of the characters I came across.”
He also found some performance issues with the game, citing “a fair amount of pop-up and some pretty major slow-down in places.” He also had trouble with the camera, complaining that “The camera can also completely lose the plot in some of the more intense battles, switching to some ridiculously obscure angle or zooming in far too close.”
Overall though, what Dragon’s Dogma did best was to excite for the possibilities in Dragon’s Dogma 2, something Dan commented on in his concluding remarks:
Dragon’s Dogma feels like the start of something big. It thrills and frustrates in equal measure, and whilst it’s not up to the level of those at the top of this genre, one can’t help but wonder what a Dragon’s Dogma 2 could be like if Capcom act on all the lessons learned from this game. An exciting thought indeed.
With Dan’s thoughts on the game well covered, it’s time to ask you what yours are. Whatever you think of the game, it’s time to have a bit of a ponder and write down what your experience of the game was in the comments below. Once you’ve taken care of that, remember to select a rating from the Buy It, Bargain Bin It, Rent It, Avoid It scale. Oh, and if you feel like having your comment included in Monday’s verdict article you’ve got till Sunday afternoon.