Is Dragons Dogma The Monster Hunter Of Today, Or Should This RPG Be Forgotten
Platform : Xbox360 / Playstation 3
Publisher : Capcom
Developer : Capcom
Score: 9 /10
For years I have been pondering why capcom have been reluctant to release the Monster Hunter series onto the bigger platforms such as the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. It's such a popular cult game with a huge fan base but noooo, no Monster Hunter for the hardcore market. Finally Capcom have released Dragon's Dogma promising a 'near monster hunter experience', but does it have the balls to take on that level of content in which Monster Hunter can provide.
The story of this lengthy title begins with your home town of cassardis is attacked by a colossal dragon with a serious issue of pink eye. The Dragon makes cannon fodder of the townsfolk in which you take up arms to take down the vile beast. In this hopeless attempt you are struck down and to take things further the dragon rips out your heart. You are then told by forces beyond your knowledge to go seek out this dragon and take revenge. The story is a little wayward in how it's told to you, a lot of key information misses you as Dragons Dogma attempts to cram as much story down your throat using local towns folk, journal scriptures as well as key cut scenes. I think the main problem with this is, left to survive in the world on your own and I spent a good three or four hours wandering the wilderness pretending to be Aragorn regardless of any key quests which I was given.
Why was I wandering the wilderness you wonder? Because this game is HUGE! The map is humongous with an abundance of different dungeons, cities, villages and various locations which harbour the nastiest of enemies. As you wander through the green lands and mountain tops you are savaged by countless enemies which include: wolves; rouges; goblins; spiders; the undead oh and the odd chimera here and there. These miscreants of the land drop valuable resources in which you need to craft and improve your armour which, becomes a massive tool later in game. Gone are the days of wandering into town and asking the local blacksmith "Good sir! Fashion me a blade equal in might to the fabled lightsabre". Sure you can buy bog standard weapons but they all need to be upgraded before they become any real use.
The character creation system is immense overflowing with a wealth of juicy RPG goodness. When you begin your character obviously you have a jackpot visual tweaks for your character, but once that sortie is over you choose your class. As you begin you can choose from three vocations (jobs/classes) which are Fighter; Strider and Mage. Once you reach the required level then you will be able to have a advanced vocation. For example the 'Magik Archer' is a advanced form of the Strider in which the player utilizes magic power on his/her bow. To add to this, if you ever get bored of your current character class, you can always change it at any time you want. This is the kind of customisation that we love to see in today's RPG's.
The gameplay works and it's exactly what I expected from a game which will constantly be compared to the famous Monster Hunter, but can I just quickly get a few things off my chest. Pawns are noble men and women who aid you in your travels sent from the powers above, they are incredibly infuriating. Oh yes, in-fact I would have been much happier if they did away with the whole pawn system and let me play the game on my own. They are constantly in your face blabbering about any issue which they may think is of importance. While talking to key characters you would miss the plot line as your pawn would express "Oh look! A Rock! We could use this in our adventure", oh and the popular "Watch your footing around the sea". This is the kind of information I don't need when I'm exploring a 'SEA-SIDE' town. I even looked to see if I could turn off their constant quibbling, but to no avail, thank you Capcom for this burden of annoyance.
The second thing I have to rant about is boss battles. Now it's very impressive when you are forced to face a hydra of great height and might, but it's slightly concerning when said hydra either loses one of its head in a nearby cliff, or simply falls through the ground. The mysterious land of Dragon's Dogma has some many mysteries which can only be explained by poor attention to graphic detail. The fighting system works well and is very entertaining, just simple issues with graphic glitches burden the entire experience, which is a shame because on the whole Dragon's Dogma is a delightful visual package with an immense amount of visual content. Enemies are brilliantly animated and the boss monsters look fantastic.
The multiplayer system isn't so hot as the only features it gives you are the ability to trade and share pawns, but like I said I found them to be more of an annoyance and having more of these guys walking around my world, just does my head in. A lot of players may hate Dragons Dogma as Monster Hunter was a heavy co-op experience. It's mind boggling why they didn't include any kind of co-op feature but hopefully in a future DLC, or maybe a future title, we will see the addition of multiplayer.
In conclusion Dragons Dogma is a great game, but it could have been an amazing game. With little annoyances here and there, it drags the entire experience down. However if this is the true future of RPG games on home consoles then we can't wait to see more. I would highly recommend any fan of the RPG genre to pick up Dragon's Dogma, for those of you who like to rent games, don't bother as this game is simply too big to enjoy in such a short amount of time. It's like a project, the more effort you put in, the more you're rewarded.
Padraig Balch is the Editor-In-Chief of Chaos Hour. This rare-tech type editor can be found in the long grass of Damacia or Tamriel.
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