Dragon´s Dogma: Dark Arisen Review
Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Dragons Dogma: Dark Arisen. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.
Coming out mere months from each other, Dragon's Dogma has always lived directly in the shadow of Skyrim. If this were high school, Skyrim would be the ultra popular high school quarterback, who also happens to be an A+ student with a scholarship to Yale while Capcom's Dragon's Dogma is the plucky little brother who no one really notices. Fast forward a few years though and the little brother is finally blossoming in the form of a PC port that's not just the definitive version of this game but also makes it clear that this is one of the best action RPGs in recent years. Minor annoyances aside, Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is right up there with the likes of The Witcher series and yes, even Skyrim.
Originally releasing for the PS3 and Xbox 360 in early 2012, Dragon's Dogma always felt limited by the time it was released. While we were still a few years away from those consoles successors, it was clear that both Microsoft and Sony were flexing their biggest creative muscles towards the future and as a result, Dragon's Dogma and it's eventual re-release, Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen went mostly overlooked. Finally on PC, Dragon's Dogma is a collection of the original game and all of it's post release content. It's a package that unquestionably shines here mores than on any other platform it's been seen on before thanks to cleaned up graphics, a (mostly) steady framerate and a good amount of polish. You can tell that this is a game that's been around for nearly five years but there are times when you'll question that, especially if you're running on a higher end rig.
In Dragon's Dogma you'll start the game innocently enough, in the heart of a small village. Before long, a dragon appears and begins to wreck havoc, you try to take him on, stabbing him in the hand, the Dragon eats your heart and the two of you become linked and you spend a good amount of time searching for your scale covered foe. If you're looking for a sweeping and epic story, you may want to look elsewhere as that's pretty much all the motivation you'll get to progress through Dragon's Dogma; you're a guy who wants to kick a dragon's ass. This is a game though that thoroughly believes that the journey is worth more than the destination and as long as don't put too much emphasis on why you're doing things (the game is pretty much filled with fetch quests), you'll find a good amount of fun filling the world of Dragon's Dogma.
While the people you meet and what they ask you to do won't exactly make your journey memorable, the combat of Dragon's Dogma is a far different story. It's surprisingly deep and remarkably fun and practically requires you to think about each battle as you would a boss battle. Unlike many similar actions RPGs, you'll have to approach each battle differently or you'll find yourself dying, and doing so a lot. Some enemies have unique weaknesses to different weapon types or magic and some are completely invulnerable unless you've got the right equipment. This, combined with just how fun the combat is makes leveling up your character a lot of fun and experimenting with different types of attacks becomes a reward of sorts for the time you've put into the game. I felt like a complete badass less than halfway through my time with the game and I couldn't wait until the next battle.
That's unquestionably true for the game bigger battles with creatures like cyclopses, demons and of course dragons. These battles are handles with such gravitas and spectacle that they quickly became my reason for playing Dragon's Dogma. These beasts tower over most anything in the game and in a nod to the classic Shadow of the Colossus, you'll have to climb on top of these beasts, seek out their weak spot and attack. I love facing giant enemies in games, the bigger the better and Dragon's Dogma more than delivered in this regard. It's incredibly rewarding to take down one of these giant beasts, especially when they're attacking a village or causing trouble elsewhere in the world. The PC version of the game is also able to handle these creatures a lot more, there are some stunning animations here, and I often let more damage occur than I should have to innocent villages just to watch these monsters move. Sorry villagers!
Of course, all of these battles are easier if you have help and Dragon's Dogma employs a unique pawn system to help you out. Pawns are essentially party members who have sworn their allegiance to you but it's perhaps easiest to look at them as party members in most RPGs. Where the pawn system differentiates though is that your fellow players will design your party members. Each player will design one pawn that's as customizable as their main character and while you're at a town and rest the character get's saved and can be used by other players who can leave you supplies and good in appreciation of your pawn. It's a good system but it's not without it's flaws. These characters are strictly how they were built and don't adapt their style for any reason, meaning that in the game's biggest battles they're going to fight how they were originally created to, regardless of the enemy type.
After years of being overlooked, Dragon's Dogma is finally getting the attention it deserves. It's not the sweepingly epic RPG you may expect, but it's a fun game with some great combat and even better enemies to use it upon. This PC version is unquestionably the definitive version of the game and though there are still some slight annoyances here and there, it does address a number of the problems set forth by it's console brethren. The main quest may still be a bit underwhelming but the monsters and creatures you'll run into along the way are mor than worth the price of admission.
Joe started off writing about video games for small fan sites when he realized he should probably do something with his communications degree and didn't want to get into the grind of daily reporting. Joining the team in late 2008, Joe is the featured game reviewer for Cheat Happens, producing up to 10 CHEATfactor Game Reviews per month.
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