Home Reviews 5/5 Review Dragon’s Dogma 2 Review

Dragon’s Dogma 2 Review


“Take up arms, Arisen”… Ever since that line was uttered in the first Dragon’s Dogma, I was hooked.

Like the first, Dragon’s Dogma 2 sees you take the mantle of Arisen. The Arisen is an individual that is chosen to do battle with the Dragon; a colossal beast seen as the harbinger of destruction. Those who attempt to defy the Dragon are sometimes selected to become Arisen, by having the Dragon rip out and consume their heart. Once this happens they are linked by fate and the Arisen cannot die, save from in combat, and will continue to live as long as the Dragon does.

The purpose of the Dragon and the true meaning of what it is to be Arisen is something many are unaware of in the world of Dragon’s Dogma. The first entry explores this relationship and reveals much of the dynamic between Dragon and Arisen. However, the second takes place entirely separate from the events of the first game.

Dragon's Dogma 2 review
How will your Dragon’s Dogma 2 adventure play out?

With that said, the kingdoms you visit are reminiscent of the first. The first major city you will come across is Vermund. A fortified city with a bustling populace that is broken into several districts along class lines. There are smaller settlements scattered throughout the forest and mountains, and Vermund isn’t the only major city you will visit. And throughout the world all manner of man and beasts will stand in your path.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 continues and expands on the Pawn system which was a prominent feature of the first game. Pawns are beings that assist the Arisen in their quest, traveling across the “rift” to assist the Arisen of other worlds. However, they lack true emotions and wills of their own and exist only to serve the Arisen.

It’s a rather clever system that explains why I can throw them at an ogre and have them continue to follow me without question. Although some of their dialogue could get rather sassy. At times their repeated dialogue lines get to be a bit overbearing, and a toggle that adjusts the frequency of their chatter would be welcome.

But their input can also be incredibly valuable, while many times they will mention chests or points of interest in the world, they will also lead you to objectives if you so choose. But Pawns don’t just automatically know where everything is or what to do. The more a Pawn travels with their Arisen, discovering the world, the more they can assist.

As a gameplay mechanic, this means Pawns learn the more you play. Every quest you complete is a quest your Pawn becomes capable of assisting with. Every chest you discover is a chest that your Pawn will mention when an Arisen is nearby it. The real reason this matters is that your Pawn is available to everyone else playing Dragon’s Dogma 2, and vice versa. A high level Pawn isn’t just strong, but It’s also likely to be incredibly helpful with quests and exploring.

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Pawns are front and centre

And the more your Pawn is used, the greater the benefit to you. When they are journeying independently of you, they collect rift crystals, which can be used to buy special items. The better they perform, the more crystals you get.

It’s a system that benefits everyone, and even if you don’t play online, there are “Capcom” Pawns that will serve in place of actual player’s Pawns.

You have your main Pawn who is fully customizable, and you can recruit an additional two for a fully party size of four. Each Pawn can have a unique vocation, or you can choose to double up if you want a magic or fighter heavy focus. Some abilities even allow you to perform special moves or abilities that allow for greater teamwork. The fighter class for example have an ability that makes them a springboard for their ally to quickly climb large enemies. Mages and sorcerers on the other hand can assist each other with casting spells so they cast quicker during combat.

I love the Pawn system, and the small interactions they have with each other and the Arisen are fantastic. I was unreasonably happy the first time I walked by a Pawn right after battle, and we high-fived as they told me I was awesome. It was completely unexpected, and those little details are what make a good game great.

While you can play without recruiting additional Pawns, they are incredibly useful in all situations, and if one Pawn fell in battle I’d make sure to recruit another as soon as possible.

Backing up a bit to customization, it’s no secret that Dragon’s Dogma 2 has a great character builder. Not only is your character highly customizable but so is your Pawn. The other great thing about the character customizer is that you can get an item by trading rift crystals to edit either yourself or your Pawn at any barbershop. Eye color, face structure, and even character voice can be changed during your playthrough without too much hassle.

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The variety of Dragon’s Dogma 2

All games should have some kind of option like this. After all, no one wants to spend thirty minutes in a character customizer, then go through the tutorial and realize they hate how their character looks and be forced to either redo everything or suffer through it. It’s a quality of life feature that I wholeheartedly welcome.

But for as good as the character customizer is, the real bread and butter of Dragon’s Dogma is the combat. There is just something satisfying about scrambling around on a beast ten times your size, as you stab them repeatedly. The combat of Dragon’s Dogma 2 uses the same principles as the first game, and I am completely fine with that.

I love jumping at ogres and dragons, grabbing them, and climbing up to their head where I can attack them repeatedly. This is what you could do in the first game and I am so glad to have a modern, touched up version of the combat I fell in love with a decade ago.

The vocation system, AKA the character class system, makes a return too. At the beginning of the game you are given a choice of the first vocation you want – fighter, archer, or mage. Each has their obvious focus, and as you play you unlock new skills for that vocation. Completing certain quests will unlock new vocations, and you can easily swap between different vocations at any tavern.

I’ve bounced between several vocations, and I’ve enjoyed all of them so far. I don’t want to spoil any of them though, so I’ll leave the late game ones a surprise.

The actual combat has been expanded on too. Instead of just climbing on enemies, there are new ways to interact, both with enemies and the environments during combat. The cyclops is a classic enemy from the first game that you quickly encounter in Dragon’s Dogma 2, so it’s going to be my punching bag for a bit.

Dragons Dogma 2 review 4

However, a defining feature of Dragon’s Dogma’s combat are the giant enemies scattered throughout the world. Traditionally the way to fight them would be to climb on and attack weak spots. Cyclops have a large eye perfect for stabbing, so obviously that is what you want to target.

However, you don’t need to approach each fight the same way. Enemies can be staggered, even the biggest, baddest dragon, so there’s no way a cyclops can stand up to a sustained barrage of attacks. After wailing on one for long enough, they may begin to lose their balance. This is the signal to get even more aggressive with your attacks, until you knock them over and bring them down to your level.

If you are a more passive fighter though, you can wait until they attempt to stomp on you before running up to their planted foot, grab it, and pull it out from under them, achieving much the same result. But the most strategic fighters may opt to lure the cyclops to a rickety bridge before cutting away at the supports, sending their foes plummeting.

Enemies often have different ways to be fought and the enemy AI, as well as the environment, offers a variety of creative ways to undermine your foes. Destroying a bridge with a horde of enemies on it is incredibly satisfying. And I don’t care how many signs I see that talk about how hard it is to build a bridge, I’m going to keep doing it. In fact, I even managed to knock a cyclops off the edge of a broken bridge once and to my surprise he grabbed the other side of the gap in an attempt to save himself. Of course, all that did was give me and my party a way across, before I threw a boulder at him and caused him to fall to his doom.

The details that go into the combat and the way things interact in Dragon’s Dogma 2 is incredible and even on a new game plus playthrough I am sure there are many new things to discover. 

Even more basic enemies like the slimes can be interacted with in unique ways. I was set on fire by a goblin while exploring a cave and ran into a slime. Thinking nothing of it until I noticed the slime start to boil. Suddenly, the cave was filled with a fiery explosion as the slime died, and I unlocked the ability to fly really fast into walls.

Dragons Dogma 2 review 5
Dragon’s Dogma 2 is magical

The unique grappling combat, the many systems that work together, and the satisfaction of toppling a massive enemy all come together for an unforgettable experience. In fact, it comes together so well that Dragon’s Dogma 2 is the epitome of what action RPG combat should be.

The quest system and gameplay loop is another defining feature. Many of the quests have different outcomes. NPCs can die, quests will change based on what decisions you make, and you can even miss objectives altogether if you progress the main story too far.

But don’t fret if you do something wrong or miss a quest. Without getting into details, Dragon’s Dogma 2 does have a new game plus loop, and there is a lot of content that you will miss if you focus primarily on the main quests. But take in runs you will – I took just over 24 hours to finish my first playthrough of the game, and am now several hours deep into another.  

For all the praises I can sing about Dragon’s Dogma 2, there are a few shortcomings. Chief among them are dropped frames when in major cities or when numerous animations are playing at once; this is more of an issue when running several mages and sorcerers. Performance overall is solid, but I did manage to crash the game for the first time after around 27 hours of playing, happening while fighting a dragon with a party stacked with sorcerers. Thankfully, the autosave is pretty generous, and I loaded back a stone’s throw from the fight. All it meant was having to take in that battle from the beginning.

However you play, Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a game that is about the journey more than the destination.

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That be a dragon!

The fast travel system is limited to ox carts with defined locations and the use of ferry stones, which are also limited items that can teleport you to very few defined locations. There are port crystals which can be placed to create custom travel locations, but these are incredibly rare, and you still need to travel to the location to place it.

But exploration is most definitely encouraged in Dragon’s Dogma 2. The world is packed with caves to explore, enemies to slay, and seeker’s stones that are hidden around the world, ready to collect to prove your adventurer spirit.

After multiple tens of hours playing, you may still find yourself unable to put Dragon’s Dogma 2 down – one more quest, one more fight, and then an hour or two has passed. If you liked the first game, or if you are looking for an action RPG with epic fights, then Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a must-have.

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Grew up playing the Nintendo 64 where I fell in love with the Legend of Zelda series. As I got older though my console of choice changed, first to PS2, and then finally to the Xbox 360, which I've been playing on for over a decade now. And since my first day booting up my Xbox, I've upgraded consoles and even built a gaming PC. Because at the end of the day I just love gaming.
dragons-dogma-2-review<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Incredibly fun and satisfying combat</li> <li>Beautiful world that is packed full of content</li> <li>Wide variety of combat styles</li> <li>Great character customization</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Framerate drops</li> <li>NPC voice lines repeat a little too frequently</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Capcom</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S, PS5, PC <li>Release date and price - 22 March 2024 | £61.99</li> </ul>
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