Now Dragon’s Dogma is available for everything there’s no excuse for not giving it a try


I will say it. Dragon’s Dogma is one of the best RPGs of the previous console generation – and everyone should at least give it a try.

Obviously, I have to be clear about what I mean by that statement. Caveats abound; Dragon’s Dogma is not Skyrim. It’s not Mass Effect 2 either. In fact, in many places it’s a bit of a hokey, uneven, uncertain mess – but it’s also brilliant, brimming with strong ideas and a brave attitude.

That courage was probably needed when developing the game. Capcom knows how to make a great game, as has been proven over the past two years with the thrilling revival of Monster Hunter World and Resident Evil. But even then, a game like Dragon’s Dogma was a huge stretch. Capcom made arcade games and narrative thrillers on rails, not sprawling open worlds. Capcom hadn’t really done a major RPG since Breath of Fire sadly flew into the sunset – it always seemed like a weird anomaly.

What an anomaly, though. The game didn’t really find its feet until its expanded and improved second release, Dark Arisen, but in that aftermath there’s something really special and unique about the big-budget open RPG space.

At the heart of Dragon’s Dogma are pawns. You not only create your protagonist character, but also their pawn – an AI sidekick summoned from the ether to aid you in your adventures. You can also recruit two non-custom tokens – and these come from the internet, borrowed from other players (pre-made tokens are also available for offline players). In addition to accompanying you, your pawn can go on the Internet to join other players. As part of this process, pawns learn from their experiences – so your pawn might come back with knowledge of an enemy weakness you weren’t aware of and such. The next time you face this enemy, he will warn you.

This is just one of the unique ideas hidden in Dragon’s Dogma, a game that, at first glance, looks a bit like an Elder Scrolls book. It’s so much more, though. Ultimately, this is a game that’s more than the sum of its parts, with things like the pawn system and your ability to climb over enemies and sever parts of their twisted bodies working together to create something something unlike anything else. The feeling when the boss music swells with orchestral flair and your pawns work to help you is hard to match.

Dragon’s Dogma isn’t easy to put down, especially in 2019 when, in many other ways, video games have evolved. Those who invest the time will be richly rewarded, however, with the game twisting and heading towards an ending that isn’t really an ending, somehow managing to never be engrossing and entertaining even though its framework, built by developers with little RPG experience, creaks under the weight of its formidable ambition.

As of last week, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is now available on Nintendo Switch. That means it can now be grabbed for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and latest-gen machines. There are no more excuses. Anyone who still has a taste for a good open-world RPG should give this unique gem a shot. It’s equally at home on Switch – while performance suffers, Dragons Dogma’s easy-going approach to exploration and short but intense enemy encounters are ideal for on-the-go play.

In the meantime, I ask myself the same question as all those who have fallen under the original spell of this game: when will Dragon’s Dogma 2 be released? With director Hideaki Itsuno now done with Devil May Cry 5 and still interested in a sequel, the answer to that question is hopefully coming soon.

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