Dragon’s Dogma. There has been an abundance of fantasy-driven roleplaying games in the last year or so, so why should you take notice of Dragon’s Dogma? It’s being praised as a blend between western and eastern styles, which will likely make it successful both in the US and in Asian markets as well. It’s an open-world game, meaning you can travel as you please, and it’s boasting a unique combat style that allows you to approach enemies in many different ways. You can climb up enemies and attack them in different areas, based on their weaknesses.
When this demo came out for the PS3, I immediately started downloading. After Skyrim and then Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, could we be in for a third treat? Or would this fail to live up to expectations?
The combat seems innovative. Crawling over a chimera and slashing away at its goat head was kind of satisfying. I’ve heard that later in the game, you’ll be able to use flying monsters to travel the land and even drop from them onto other monsters. I appreciate the sentiment of being able to approach battles in different ways. The attack buttons were simple enough to easily grasp but I hit a roadblock when trying to use my secondary weapon. There is likely a learning curve here and the short demo tutorial didn’t cover all the basics we needed to know.
I also appreciate a fantasy RPG that brings in all sorts of big baddies. In games like Dragon Age, Skyrim, and even Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, you don’t often get to face massive and unique monsters. You encounter a troll and then you’ll run into trolls for awhile after that. In Dragon’s Dogma, the fights against the chimera and the griffon were definitely memorable and I look forward to finding all of the big monsters scattered through the game.
What doesn’t work?
For one, the demo is incredibly short. There are two “quests” to do. The first is a tutorial that walks you through the first dungeon and then you face off against a lion-headed/snake-headed/goat-headed chimera. The second quest plops you down in a field, just as a griffon (a giant pissed off eagle basically) is attacking. Both of these maybe took me 30 minutes total but it didn’t feel like much.
And while the art is a blend of styles, it seems a little generic. And during combat, the neutral-toned colors blended into each other. On several accounts, I lost track of which character I was or where my character was on the screen. The action was a little too hectic and uncontrollable. Maybe once I’m playing the game off of the disc, the game will look a little more crisp.
I also didn’t get a good sense of how the class system works. In the opening tutorial, I imagine that I played as a warrior (as I had a sword and shield) but in the griffon attack, you’re armed with a bow and dagger. I tend to play as mages, so I’m curious how that style would be different.
The demo didn’t convince me that this is going to be a great game. I like the ideas and I hope they all come together, but the demo was kind of scattered and didn’t do a good job of showing you what the game can allow you to do. I’ll still rent Dragon’s Dogma when it comes out but the demo hasn’t impressed me that much. Let’s hope the final game surprises me.