Published on June 13th, 2013 | by PJ Douglas0
Review: Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen
“They say dragons never truly die. No matter how many times you kill them.”
It takes a lot of bravado to release a dungeons and dragons game onto home consoles in the wake of Skyrim and Dragon Age, it takes even more bravado to admit you made some mistakes first time round, then re-release the game with an add on that addresses the flaws at a bargain price into a bustling retail marketplace full of high end similar games and come out on top, but somehow Capcom have pulled it from the bag yet again.
Originally released just over a year ago Dragon’s Dogma was Capcom’s entry into the hack and slash, dungeons and dragons world we seem so obsessed with (after zombies obviously) and it manages to dazzle us not with a deep plot, amazing graphics or sweeping orchestral soundtracks, but simply by being absolute balls to the wall fun!
The plot revolves around you as an ‘Arisen’ who after a battle on a beach of your home town where you get your heart literally ripped out and eaten in front of you by a dragon, you come back and must journey around to avenge and fight said dragon (so maybe you are a zombie?). You do this in a third person exploration style of gameplay, with either magic, swords or archery being your main choice of attack and using spirit helpers known as ‘Pawns’ to get into some meaty hack and slash real time combat.
Alongside the main quest are several smaller quests such as ‘kill X number of enemies’ ‘Find X’ and so on which reward you with experience to level up attacks in classic skill tree style with your characters equipment and skills being transferred into others games as their ‘Pawn’ which is in a weird way multiplayer without multiplayer.
But the main draw in the game comes with the boss battles, no longer content to just hack away at the shins of towering beasts you can climb up them to their heads, shadow of colossus style, and stab them in the eyes / neck / weak point “FAW MASSIV DAMAGE!!!111!”. This ‘Grab’ action also works well on enemies, picking one up to throw at another, or using your allies or parts of the environment like some confused Hulk to smash around as much as possible.
But what makes ‘Dark Airsen’ different from the standard game? Well firstly it’s a standalone game containing the original, not DLC so if you want it, you have to buy it, although the £20 price point makes this an attractive prospect. Secondly those with existing saves from the old game are given a load of in game currency and new armours to play around with, and finally the main point is ‘Bitterblack Isle’ a new area to explore End Game with ultra high level enemies that will swiftly remove any arrogance you had built up slapping about low level goblins with weak spells as you and your crew fight to your last breath to try and find new armour and weapons hidden amongst the new and powerful enemies just lining up to take you to school via the humiliation express.
Overall the game is a great mixture of the exploration and open ended mission style of eastern games with the hack and slash style we have come to love in the west, overall it’s a fantastic guilty pleasure game to pick up, and at such a low price point you’d be mad not to give it a go if you’ve ever wanted to clamber up a dragon and punch it in the face. And who doesn’t want to do that?
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
– Mike Tyson
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen
Summary: A great example of substance over style and a bargain at it's current price, go slay some beasts!