I am so late with this =_=”” Dragon’s Dogma came out early some time this year back in May (me thinks). I played Elder Scrolls beforehand so the first thing that came to my mind when I saw Dragon’s Dogma was “This looks like a ripoff” partially because a) there’s a dragon, b) your role in the game is to kill this dragon, which is like Skyrim, and c) it is a roleplaying game with mythic beasts and fantasy creatures to slay and kill etc so yeah, everything points to “Wow this feels a lot like Skyrim” Honestly, it’s not. The plot and premise is completely different. A review on Amazon mentioned that Dragon’s Dogma map is almost as big as Skyrim. That’s not true either, but that’s not the main point here. Dragon’s Dogma is a game that is completely on its own, and it is one of my favourite games at the moment. It has its equal share of difficulty and its really fun.
I saw a forum debate about Elder Scrolls vs DD… although it doesn’t seem very fair. It’s just like saying PS3 vs Xbox?? I think its great that there’s another dragon-slaying, monster-killing, epic-questing game out there. It just means it caters to everyone. If you don’t like Skyrim then you can play DD. If you don’t like DD then you can play Skyrim. There is something for everyone 🙂
I’m almost finished the game, up to the final battle and so I have decided to share some of my thoughts; here is where I rant about why I think Dragon’s Dogma is cool:
1. The Plot
Yeah, so apparently this giant red dragon came out of nowhere, attacked the peaceful village you lived in and began whacking the shit out of everyone. You were the only brave but poor wee soul to grab a sword and stand up to it and start stabbing at its ankles to get it to stop its angry rampage. The Dragon saw your potential, bested you, but instead of killing you as expected, it ripped out your still-beating heart, swallowed it, but somehow you’re still miraculously alive (this heart-being-ripped-out-of-your-chest thing totally defies human logic and scientific/medical fact) and now you are connected to the dragon. What do you do? Embark on a mythical quest and try and get it back!
I am a sucker for stuff like this.
2. Create your own character!
Yeah I know, Elder Scrolls has this too, but Dragon’s Dogma makes designing your own character fun because your characters actually look decent and pretty and you can see them in action during cutscenes! They don’t speak, of course, which is a bit of a shame because I’d prefer to know my character can actually speak rather than nodding or going ‘Urgh’ in almost every scene. The only time I have heard them talk is the voice sample during the Create-a-Character screen and even then they say “Steel yourself for combat”. Riiiiiiight. So yes, in DD you can design your own character as well as your
slave “Main Pawn”, who is basically your permanent pack mule. Good news is you can choose their voices, too.
You can choose if you want to play as a kid or a wheezing old geezer. Same for your Main Pawn, you can choose to create kids or old fogies. You can choose their skintone, left and right eye colour, hair colour, make-up colour. You can choose their posture (“Manly or ladylike” lol), their stature, their arm legth, how big their nose is or how thin and small their lips should be. It’s pretty neat, and it means you can have a whale of a time in customization just to make that ‘perfect person’. And there are plenty of armour to choose from, so DIY galore!
I made my main character a female and her Main Pawn was a guy. You can also name your character and your Pawn. At the moment, my Main Pawn is called Etienne.
If you feel like showing off your glorious Arisen and Pawn, the Gran Soren Pawn website has a gallery consisting of other people’s pawns and characters. They all look so pretty. I’ve also seen some Dante look-alikes skulking around.
3. The monsters are badass.
Especially the Hydra. The Chimera looks great, too. The ogre’s pretty crazy and the zombies are downright disturbing! The monsters in this game actually look tough and menacing and mark my words, they will kill you, so never bite more than you can chew in this game. Another point is that you can grapple enemies and climb around them so make way for EPIC boss fights that will have you dangling off a Cyclop’s hand trying to whack at it with your dagger. It’s a nice touch. Although fights are EPIC, I don’t consider them as epic as Nier boss fights. That’s another game I will have to blog about later even though I played it 2 years ago.
The dynamics are interesting, too. Wolves will try to bite you and drag you away. Zombies will try to surround you. Cyclops will squash you if you try to climb their back and hack at their necks. Ogres will chew on you if they grabbed you, and the Hydra –will- eat you if you unfortunately get caught in its mouth and didn’t wiggle the analogue stick in time.
4. The Goblins
So to expand on the monster point, Goblins are also hilarious in almost every aspect. Every time you run past them in the field they’ll point at you, alert their other little goblin buddies and scream in this little high pitched voices “Stupid human!” or “Whoooohaaaahhaaaachaaahhaaayaayaaya!” and chatter loudly in their little goblin language before attempting to kill you. For enemies, they are very good for LOL-factor. I can’t believe I’ve listed them here though.
5. The Pawn System
The pawn system is enjoyable because you can basically change your party members whenever you want. Just touch a riftstone, enter the Rift, choose, rifle around, check their skills, level and vocation and click summon. You can also choose to hire Mages, Warriors or Rangers or whatever else you need to aid you in your travels and to form a well-balanced party. These pawns belong to other users (if you are online) so that means your Main Pawn can also go off on their own merry way and help others around the world too. They can be rated by other users based on Appearence, Battle Helpfulness etc (which is why you should try to make your pawns either attractive or hilarious) and they can bring back gifts for you too (but they’ll give you crappy gifts like a Rock or Moldy Apple because everyone online is so cheap).
Sooo, you can change your party around and you can even hire stronger pawns using the currency ‘Rift Crystals’. In general, there are no strings attached.
6. The Night
Night-time in Elder Scrolls is still childsafe; you can see stars, rocks and trees and you can stumble around in the darkness and still get to your destination alive. Night time in DD is like “Whoa dude no you do NOT want to go out in the dark.” Not only can you not see a single thing that’s out there beyond the little soft glow of your lantern light, but the enemies are stronger and tougher and it’s the time where all the phantoms and zombies come out, crawling up from their earthly graves, moaning about their past lives and about how they don’t want to die. When you become stronger, you wouldn’t mind walking around when its night but generally, it still scary. Capcom weren’t kidding when they said they wanted the night time in DD to have a Resident Evil feel.
7. Change your vocation!
You can change your vocation, which means you don’t have to stick to just magic or swords as a Mage or a typical Fighter. You can be an Assassin, Ranger, Mage, Mystic Knight, Mystic Archer too!!! AWESOMENESS! Since I am a gamer who likes to get into the nitty gritty things when it comes to battle, I chose my female Arisen to be a Fighter and I had Etienne as a Mage (then Sorcerer).
8. The Pawns
Pawns can be quite hilarious. You can carry them over your shoulder and throw them, or when you leave your controller for a bit and you come back – you’ll see your Pawns curiously coming over to you and waving their hand in front of your face as though going “Heelloooo anyone in there?”. I remember when I was in the Ancient Quarry trying to clear it free of monsters and Ogres for some merchant who was too chicken to do it himself. I’d killed two smelly Ogres halfway inside and I was quite sure Etienne had enough. How right I was. When I neared the exit, there was another Ogre scratching its butt, staring blankly at us before charging at us full frontal, gorilla-like arms swinging, because I decided to stupidly hire two female pawns for that quest (and everyone knows Ogres fancy women, yes).
“OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!” Etienne screamed in his British accent, “An OGRE!!!”
Since I’ve mentioned the highlights, everything always has a downside so here is where Dragon’s Dogma unfortunately falls a little short on:
1. The Dragon looks gay
Have you seen it? It is nowhere as badass-looking as Alduin. It’s red and ugly.
2. You feel alone. So very alone.
When you start the game, there is no background to your character. You don’t even seem to have any friends (except from a girl called Quina), let alone parents. You don’t seem to have an age or birthday and you can’t even rest in your bloody house. You only recognise your destiny when you become known as the ‘Arisen’. Basically, during the first half of the game before you hit the Level 30+ mark, you will find yourself weak, defenseless and helpless. When it’s night, you find yourself terrified of leaving the safety of Gran Soren. Even when you are out in the wilderness and it gets dark you want to get the hell outta there and return to the nice warm city.
Even though you have three drooling slaves hurrying and scurrying after you and yapping on and on about how large that tree is, or how they accidentally drenched themselves by standing in the middle of the town’s fountain, you feel inevitably alone on your journeys becuase you are the only one with the brain. Also, half of the time, unimportant NPCs aren’t exactly friendly; they don’t want to talk to you, or reply back to you with one sentence like “Times are hard indeed” or they’ll plainly tell you to bugger off. However, those you have helped will say “Hi” to you as you pass them unconditionally. How nice 🙂
Also, when you travel around, you will notice the land is barren and empty; you will see ruins of previous inhabited buildings, remains and remnants of areas and camps which previously were used by humans and now inevitably forgotten and left behind. DD is so realistic because its true. Would you really expect to see people wandering around in dangerous places hounded by strong monsters? It makes you feel a little sad inside when you wonder what happened to these people.
3. It is difficult
Because there is limited ways of travelling, there are very little places, lack of rest stops, monsters can appear from out of nowhere and attack… and every escort quest will require you escorting some loser allllllllllll the way to Timbukfreakingtu! You will have to make a lot of your journeys on foot; you will have to backtrack and forth a lot. During the first playthrough of the game, there is only 1 port crystal in which you have carefully decide where to place. Gran Soren is the capital city and when you set out to different places to complete quests, it is a long trek. It is also equally tedious to return back to Gran Soren on foot. Most of the time you are running around Gransys and damn, everywhere and everything is just so, so, so far away…
4. You run very s-l-o-w, and you walk hunchbacked for some odd reason
Yeah, that too.
5. The affinity system
If only it was as simple and easy as Skyrim where you get a ring and propose to that lucky Nord or Elf or Khaljit or lizard man/woman or whatever other species you fancy, get married and then you move off to live happily ever after in a nice, cosy house in Whiterun or Riften. Nope, the affinity system here is so wacked up you can romance everyone, even the kids, I do believe. Giving NPCs items or doing their quests can raise their affinity for you without you even realising. Apparently the more you talk to a NPC the more their affinity goes up. So imagine seeing that Inn Keeper Asalam whenever you talk to him just to stay at his Inn, or to deposit items or to learn new skills and suddenly WHAM! He’s fallen for you, blushing like a schoolboy with that pink glow surrounding his head. Scary -shudders-
And almost every NPC is ugly. The only exception is Julien although his ‘accent’ makes me want to hurl.
6. Sometimes, your Pawns are so goddamn stupid
But most of the time, they’re not. They just tend to repeat themselves and talk over each other again and again and again. And they like to fill up those Empty Flasks (which you were saving for Spring Water) with Oil or Poison, without your consent. Gee, thanks.
Right, so that being said, I’m pleased DD is supposedly getting a sequel. I think it is a very promising game and should the sequel come out, please Capcom, make fast-travelling a little easier! And no more daft quests like “Find 50 War Bugles”. That was stupid =_=”” If there is a DD artbook, I want to buy it and hopefully I’ll write a review on it. Anyway, I am onto the final quest now. Time to slay the Dragon and reclaim my heart 🙂