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Dragon's Dogma Review

This is a discussion on Dragon's Dogma Review within the Game Reviews forum, part of the Trophy Guides, Reviews & Articles; Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom North American Release Date: May 22, 2012 European Release Date: May 25, 2012 Trophies: 42 | ...

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    Dragon's Dogma Review



    Developer: Capcom
    Publisher: Capcom
    North American Release Date: May 22, 2012
    European Release Date: May 25, 2012
    Trophies: 42 | 5 | 3

    Overview
    You have lived most of your life as a villager in the fishing community of Cassandis when one day a dragon attacked at dusk, killing dozens of your friends and relatives. After attacking without any effect, the dragon seems intrigued by you and instead of killing you, rips out your heart. Instead of dying, you wake up later finding that your heart is indeed gone but you are still aliveÖan Arisen. As you travel through the countryside of Gransys tracking down the dragon, you encounter a situation much larger and more complex than you could have ever imagined.


    Gameplay
    The combat system of Dragonís Dogma is fluid and requires you to constantly move around and react to snap decisions or you might find yourself swarmed by several enemies. While you need to constantly watch out for yourself, your pawns require you to direct their actions during fights. While fighting a goblin, the game will slow down and the camera will shift to your pawn holding down another goblin while yelling for you to finish it off. While the pawns could do with improved movement during combat, especially against creatures that have wide-range attacks, the lack of needing to direct your partyís every move is a welcome addition and allows for you to simply focus on keeping yourself alive.

    Dragonís Dogma allows you to switch combat styles through the use of unlockable vocations. There are a total of nine different vocations, or classes, that can be unlocked that enable you to choose from a wide variety of weapons and combat skills including the mystic archer, assassin, warrior, and sorcerer. Each of the vocations has a balanced style of fighting that allows you to pick whatever you want without feeling that you are playing an inferior class.

    While fights against goblins and bandits might simply require attacking them, fighting monsters 5-6 times your size involves improvising. Unlike most other RPGís on the market, boss battles in Dragonís Dogma do not occur in specialized locations or only during story quests, you can encounter many boss-type monsters in the wilderness that take several minutes to beat. You might run into a 30-foot tall Cyclops sleeping on the side of the road that wakes up and starts attacking you or you might be traveling down the road and hear the roar of a drake or gryphon swooping down on top of you. Bosses such as these require you to risk life and limb to run up close to them and grapple onto their body in order to scale them and attack their weak points. A gryphon will fly away and swoop down on top of your character or pawns but if you command someone to grab itsí wing, it will be unable to take off without crashing.


    Fights like these require coordination and teamwork

    Fighting is fun during the day but when night rolls around, it becomes challenging. When you travel down a road during the day, you can see the various enemies along the road with plenty of time to avoid them if needed. However, travelling that same road at night is a whole different story. More dangerous monsters will walk throughout Gransys and your eyesight is limited by the glow of your lantern attached to your waist that will go out if wet. Trekking during the night requires you to constantly plan where you are going to go because odds are you will need to fight tooth and nail in order to get there.


    Singleplayer
    The main concern that I had with Dragonís Dogma is the story, or lack thereof, during most of the game. The premise of the game is that the newly awakened dragon landed at your village and stole your heart and now you need to go get it back. For the first few quests, you travel to the capital of Gran Soren to see the Duke, who was the last person to slay a dragon. The problem is that once you arrive, instead of immediately talking to the Duke about how to fight a dragon, you are sent on several quests and errands that take you across all of Gransys. While I can see how several of these quests might help against the dragon and the monsters over time, the necessity of have a single person save every part of the kingdom seems a little bland. However, the story after confronting the dragon throws in a curveball that I did not expect since the whole premise of the game is killing the dragon. The twist that the dragon was only the beginning helped to expand the story beyond the simple quest you started out with.

    Another issue is the lack of a quick and reliable fast travel. Anyone who has played a game like Skyrim will know how necessary fast travel is when it takes up to an hour to run across the world. While the world of Gransys is nowhere near as large as Skryim, it is still large enough that fast travel would save several hours of travel over the course of the game. While there is no instant travel feature, there are items called ferrystones and Port Crystals. A ferrystone allows instant transportation to the capital or to a Port Crystal from any place in the game. While that is helpful, it does not allow transporting from Gran Soren to other parts of the world. The argument of the people against a fast travel system is that such a feature takes away from the immersion of the game by allowing the player to skip over large sections of the world once they have visited certain locations. I can see where they are coming from here; game developers put hundreds of hours into designed the world and they might want the player to see every inch of it.

    Without the inclusion of a fast travel method such as mount like horses, the player must either run or sprint to their goal. While sprinting is arguably several times faster than running, it is a double-edged sword. Sprinting takes up stamina and as you use stamina, you can visibly see your character start to stumble and falter. Once the stamina bar is depleted, your character will stop and catch their breath for several seconds as the stamina bar starts to regenerate. While this helps to increase the realism of the game, the fact that sprinting is tied to the stamina bar makes the game seem artificially larger than it is.


    Multiplayer
    The multiplayer in Dragonís Dogma works differently than in other games. Instead of an online community with other players, you summon their pawn. Pawns can be recruited by talking to them as they wander throughout Gransys or by entering the dimension known as The Rift through special stones. The Rift is a lobby where you can search for a pawn by sorting through criteria such as level, gender, vocation, and fighting style. A neat feature about this is that while higher-level pawns require Rift Crystals to be summoned, if you have friends that play the game you can summon their pawns for free. Another positive feature about the pawn system is that anytime you sleep at an inn you might receive a message informing you that your pawn returned. When another player hires a pawn, they gain experience and knowledge on how to fight certain monsters or complete quests. So if your pawn is hired enough times, you might be fighting an unknown monster that your pawn will tell you how to easily kill.


    The Rift allows you to pick and choose who you want to team up with

    The online systemís main feature besides the pawn recruitment is the creature known as the Ur-Dragon, who can be fought either at the end of the game or during any time in a New Game Plus run. This secret superboss has approximately 15 times the health of the strongest offline boss in the game, is many times more powerful, and every time it is defeated it comes back stronger and tougher. If you have fought some of the more difficult bosses in the game, you might expect this battle to take a very long time. Fear not, because this is where the online aspect comes in. Everyone who goes in to fight the Ur-Dragon works together to bring it down. As more players attack the Ur-Dragon in their own realms and do damage to it, you will see it decay and rot as its health decreases every time you re-enter then arena to fight it again.

    Sure there are a few things that could be improved with the pawn system such as better A.I. and the ability to use more than 6 spells or abilities. While I understand why your character can only use six, there is no reason why your pawn canít simply use everything you train them for. Another minor issue is that you cannot upgrade your pawnís equipment. While it makes perfect sense that if you try to un-equip a pawn the item is sent back to the player, trying to improve the pawn by upgrading armor to the max level should be allowed.


    Technical
    While the opening theme may seem a little cartoonish, after a dozen or so times it began to grow on me. Besides that small issue, the music and soundtrack of Dragonís Dogma is full of fantastic tempos and themes that fit perfectly. If you are trekking through a dank cave or dark mine, the music will become organic sounding with echoing notes and hollow chords in the background. Boss battles are not immune to this; fighting against a gryphon or a Cyclops will change the normal travelling music to a fast-tempo orchestra that gets your blood rushing as you fight to take down the monster and survive.

    The game runs smoothly for most of the time. The only exception is when fighting large creatures such as the Dragon and Ur-Dragon when they cast spells that impact a large area. During moments like these I can visually see the framerate struggle for a few moments before picking back up to normal again.

    Something that bugged me was the many comments the pawns make throughout the adventure. In order to make them seem more lifelike, Capcom gave them dozens of phrases to say that help to express your location through the eyes of someone who has either never been there or knows where they are. While this feature is nice, it gets highly repetitive and annoying after a while when your pawns say the same thing over and over again without any variety. The worst part is that if you do not turn off pawn text in the options menu, you will literally be unable to see through the left side of the screen due to the almost constant pawn comments scrolling as you move through the game.

    Capcom put a lot of time and effort into making the country of Gransys a large and mysterious place with hundreds of areas to explore and many mysteries to solve. While this was great they did not put as much emphasis on the NPCs that you interact with. Instead of having the level of detail of your character and pawn, they seem to be created from templates with only a few variations. While I could live with this based on the assumption that with a large open-world game such as Dragonís Dogma, they might need to do this to make the game playable, the fact that the NPCs lips do not match what they are saying really irks me. I could literally hear a shopkeeper talk and finish what he was saying and see his lips still move for several seconds.


    Trophies
    The trophy set for Dragonís Dogma is fairly straightforward. There arenít any difficult trophies apart from the one that requires you to kill the end game superboss, the Ur-Dragon, either online or offline but that is to be expected. The other trophies included are mostly story and exploration based along with a few trophies for completing a certain number of quests, collecting a set number of equipment pieces, or doing a particular action such as equipping a male pawn with a womanís dress. While some of the trophies may seem to require grinding, it is not as bad as it first appears and you will be able to get most of the trophies by the time you finish your first run through the game. Getting all of the trophies is impossible unless you start a New Game Plus. However, starting a new game can be rather useful due to the inclusion of several new board quests that have extravagant gold rewards.


    Closing Thoughts
    Despite all its faults, Dragonís Dogma is a shining example of what a RPG could be if the time and effort were put into making what players wanted and not what could make the most money. While it is certainly rough around the edges, the gameplay is solid with fantastic and fluid combat, easy to access and use online pawn recruitment system, excellent and appropriate music and orchestra numbers, fun character and equipment development and a large, engrossing world. While it is not the best game on the market, it is still a great game to buy and play.


    Gameplay: 9/10
    The overall gameplay is solid with only a few negative remarks to be made. Chief among them is that while the pawns have excellent combat learning skills and know how to fight monsters and bosses, they still tend to stand around and get hit rather than dodge. I have fought some bosses where I spent more time reviving pawns than doing damage.

    Singleplayer: 4.5/10
    The singleplayer story was great at the beginning and towards the end but for most of the game it was almost as if it didnít exist. You would think with a dragon attacking the countryside the leader of the country would want to see his or her savior as soon as possible instead of sending them off for weeks doing errands.

    Multiplayer: 7/10
    The online pawn system was fun to use and allowed for the recruitment of pawns with different fighting styles and vocations. While I would have preferring summoning the playerís character to use instead of their pawn, there was nothing really wrong with the system in place. The online feature I wished it had was the ability for you to upgrade a pawnís equipment as a gift to the player.

    Technical: 8.5/10
    The technical aspects of the game were fantastic. While there were a few negative things like framerate dropping in high intensity fights and the pawns comments throughout the game, the rest of the game was great.

    Overall: 7.5/10
    Last edited by Shemhazat; 06-06-2012 at 03:50 PM.

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    Good review Shem, I was looking into buying this before it released but things came up

    The whole Ur-Dragon thing sounds like a pretty cool idea though

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    Nice review, Shem. I played the demo and was seriously underwhelmed with it to the point that I couldn't comprehend what it is that people love about this game so much. In hindsight, your review feels just and it likely isn't as bad as my first impressions told me it is, though I do not plan to pick this title up.

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    Thanks for your review Shemhazat. I don't completely agree with all areas of your review but that is my opinion. You pretty much nailed the faults in your review but some of the faults you considered faults, i wouldn't consider faults to be honest. For a game this size, i personally think Capcom had a real decent attempt at a western RPG and nearly got it right.

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    Impressive review. I was going to buy it but I now will eventually rent it. Thanks for the money saver

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    Nice review Shem.

    I was thinking about now getting this game after playing the demo (which was boring to me), but now I have a better picture of what the game is like to make a final decision on whether or not I'll buy it.

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    Nice review man, but the lack of quick travel would infuriate me so i dnt think ill pick it up anytime soon unless they include it in a patch

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    Have gotta get this game once it drops in price. I do agree with Ac3 tho, not having the ability to quick travel must really be annoying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ac3dUd3- View Post
    Nice review man, but the lack of quick travel would infuriate me so i dnt think ill pick it up anytime soon unless they include it in a patch
    There is fast travel, it just requires a little more work than most other games in the genre. I am on my second playthrough and i can fast travel nearly anywhere on the map. Capcom have got this game right in that regard.

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    Gonna consider buying this game if it ever hits the bargain bin.



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    I have to completely disagree with the single player 4.5 score. This game is at least a 9.5/10 overall in every aspect. Also, there is no multiplayer. I know the pawn system is online and all, but there is no real multiplayer aspect of the game. How can you even rate a multiplayer part?

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    I have to disagree about the fast travel for an entirely different reason. You can actually do things between places. Skyrim is a big, barren, empty field with almost nothing to do. In Dragon's Dogma you constantly have the opportunity to fight. It is your choice whether or not you do so, but the choice is still there. A fast travel is not needed when there are things to do, unlike Skyrim where you can travel for 5 minutes real time with nothing to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lasombra View Post
    I have to disagree about the fast travel for an entirely different reason. You can actually do things between places. Skyrim is a big, barren, empty field with almost nothing to do. In Dragon's Dogma you constantly have the opportunity to fight. It is your choice whether or not you do so, but the choice is still there. A fast travel is not needed when there are things to do, unlike Skyrim where you can travel for 5 minutes real time with nothing to do.
    ill agree that the world of dragons dogma is more populated than skyrims in terms of monsters but skyrim has way more little niches and side quests to do, just by travelling in a way you havent been might unlock several new quests, dd doesnt have that, all quests are either in towns or by notice boards, id say overall i like the fast travel system in dd better because you actually have to work for it and seeing as how there arent much more than 150 locations in the world you have to explore almost the enitre map to get the explorer trophy

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    Quote Originally Posted by ferretbusiness View Post
    ill agree that the world of dragons dogma is more populated than skyrims in terms of monsters but skyrim has way more little niches and side quests to do, just by travelling in a way you havent been might unlock several new quests, dd doesnt have that, all quests are either in towns or by notice boards, id say overall i like the fast travel system in dd better because you actually have to work for it and seeing as how there arent much more than 150 locations in the world you have to explore almost the enitre map to get the explorer trophy
    Yes that is true but can you play skyrim for 80+ hours and not get one crash or game freeze? That is how long i played Dragon's Dogma for and i did not get one issue at all!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timeless-Enigma View Post
    Yes that is true but can you play skyrim for 80+ hours and not get one crash or game freeze? That is how long i played Dragon's Dogma for and i did not get one issue at all!
    played skyrim for around 100 hours and i think i had 2 maybe 3 freezes, i have never had the problems with bethesda games that others have talked about, the worst one was fallout new vegas but that was also done by obsidian so i wont blame bethesda for that, i will agree that dogma does run very smoothly even when multiple spells are going off, in seventy hours of dogma i had minor lag a few times but no freezes

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    Damn, I was hoping to get this game.

    A 7.5/10 isn't bad at all.
    But the Single Player was slacking?
    I thought it was really good, everybody has been saying that at least.

    I'll probably wait for a $30 price tag.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferretbusiness View Post
    played skyrim for around 100 hours and i think i had 2 maybe 3 freezes, i have never had the problems with bethesda games that others have talked about, the worst one was fallout new vegas but that was also done by obsidian so i wont blame bethesda for that, i will agree that dogma does run very smoothly even when multiple spells are going off, in seventy hours of dogma i had minor lag a few times but no freezes
    I experienced framerate issues bigtime in Skyrim and constantly. However DD and Skyrim are actually quite different games but in the same kind of genre. I hate to compare both games because i think both games are great. DD is far from perfect but it deserves praise because it is a decent game. Maybe Dragon's Dogma 2 will topple Bethesda's next elder scrolls or fallout game?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timeless-Enigma View Post
    I experienced framerate issues bigtime in Skyrim and constantly. However DD and Skyrim are actually quite different games but in the same kind of genre. I hate to compare both games because i think both games are great. DD is far from perfect but it deserves praise because it is a decent game. Maybe Dragon's Dogma 2 will topple Bethesda's next elder scrolls or fallout game?
    The only times that i experienced any noticeable lag or frame rate issues in Dragon's Dogma is during fights against the Dragon or Ur-Dragon when I was stuck underneath them as the prepared one of their large area attacks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shemhazat View Post
    The only times that i experienced any noticeable lag or frame rate issues in Dragon's Dogma is during fights against the Dragon or Ur-Dragon when I was stuck underneath them as the prepared one of their large area attacks.
    Actually the only time i got slowdown in framerate was when the game was auto saving. So i would say Dragon's Dogma is perfectly fine and has no issues with framerate at all. Fighting the Ur-Dragon does have slight framerate issues but nothing constant that affects gameplay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iToxicityHD View Post
    Damn, I was hoping to get this game.

    A 7.5/10 isn't bad at all.
    But the Single Player was slacking?
    I thought it was really good, everybody has been saying that at least.

    I'll probably wait for a $30 price tag.
    Get the game if you want to. Don't buy or not buy it based off of a review.

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