== DRAGON'S DOGMA ==
Dragon's Dogma is a role playing action game that is very similar to games such as the Elder Scrolls series and Two Worlds with one of the major changes from those games being that this one is a third person game. Dragon's Dogma was developed and published by Capcom with the game set in an open fantasy world full of different mythological creatures. This game isn't just an action role playing game because it also features a hack and slash theme with bits of horror mixed in. Dragon's Dogma is available for the PS3 as well as the Xbox 360.
=== STORY ===
One of the things I absolutely loved about this game was the excellent story. Not only is it slightly different but its also very easy to follow and enjoy. In a small fishing town called Cassardis, a dragon attacks killing almost everything that stands in its way. The dragon then sets his sets his sights on the hero of the game (the character you create can be male/female). After a brief battle with the fire breathing beast, the dragon rips out your heart and kills you but don't fear this is the start of the game. The hero is then revived as the Arisen and he must now set off on his journey in search of the dragon that stole his heart. Can you help the Arisen slay the beast, take your heart back and save the land before its destroyed.
=== GAMEPLAY ===
Dragon's Dogma is a fantastic game full of variety. There aren't a whole lot of customization options at the start of the game and your main characters appearance wont look too good. However later on in the game you will find suitable armor for your head, arms, body armor and more to make your character look fantastic. Also you have a choice to make at the start of the game and that choice doesn't make too much difference. The choice is basically the class of your character to see what kind of armor, weapons and more he can use. An example is a Fighter can use weapons such as one handed swords and axes. The classes are called vocation in the game and some of them include classes such as Warrior, Fighter, Mage, Archer or my personal favourite Assassin. Each vocation has different skills and a level which can go up. You will also learn new skills for each one and the vocation can be changed at certain towns.
The Dragon's Dogma world is quite big, not as big as the Skyrim world but one of the things that might annoy some gamers (myself not included) is that there is no fast travel in the game. There are items that can take you back to the main city or to the little fishing town but I do feel this makes the game last longer. Also upon returning to the city or fishing town after almost every mission is a good thing because there are notice boards scattered throughout them and these contain hundreds of different side mission which in turn lead to some fantastic rewards. The game features thousands of different items, weapons and more. There are even materials that can be found or even gathered of dead enemies that can be used to upgrade your weapons and current armor to make them stronger. you can also find items and mix them together to create new items such as potions which can become very handy.
One of the things that stands out to me about this game is the vast amounts of huge enemies that you find yourself up against. From dragons, hydras to a few one eyed cyclops that take up the whole screen but the more impressive thing about these enemies is the fact that you can literally go up to them, jump on them, climb up to their weak spots and slay them. Dragon's Dogma doesn't let you go through the game all on your own because after a few missions it gives you no choice but to create another character which is very loyal to you and follows you all over. This character is called a Pawn and you also have the choice of creating a male/female and their name, class, skills and more. through the game there are Rift Crystals in which you can enter and enlist your Pawn online for other people to use. This doesn't take the Pawn from you and basically lets you and possibly thousands use them at the same time. Along with this you are also allowed to recruit two more Pawns from other online players, great eh? However there is a little catch. Recruiting does cost Rift Points which can be hard to come by. If you have players on your friends list you can recruit their Pawn free of charge.
The combat in this game is brilliant and really well designed especially with the bigger creatures which are harder to defeat. The boss battles are even better and the bosses are even bigger it really is fantastic. There are many places to explore with a wide range of different enemies to defeat and some of the places you will discover include caves, shrines and even abandoned castles and more. Dragon's Dogma features everything an action role playing fan could wish for with its fantastic leveling up system which allows you to reach a maximum level of 250. Your Pawn can also reach level 250 but getting that high will take at least 3 playthroughs. Overall the game has a wide variety of gameplay features to keep you entertained for hours!
=== GRAPHICS AND SOUND EFFECTS ===
Dragon's Dogma is a beautifully designed game but the graphics aren't its main priority but this does not let the game down that much at all. The scenery in the game is breathtakingly good especially when you find yourself scaling up mountains where the view is beautiful. The game only really features one main city and a fishing town but they are deigned very differently. Also the many places you visit are very different to one another and it looks and works perfectly. The most impressive thing about the graphics are the wonderfully designed monsters and other enemies. The detail on the bigger enemies such as dragons and cyclops is really impressive. Overall the graphics are great for this game.
Now another part of the game that impressed me, possibly the most about the game is the sound effects. The sound effects are stunning and I cannot fault them at all. Enemies make the best sounds ever. The harpies in the game make my favourite sound which is quite creepy but really good at the same time. The battle sound effects are also great but the most impressive part of the sound effects is the thrilling music. I cannot describe just how amazing the music is. Its thrilling and changes depending what is happening in the game. If you are fighting a boss the music gets really intense and this certainly makes the game even better.
=== DIFFICULTY AND LONGEVITY ===
The difficulty of the game really depends how familiar you are with games like this because if you're new to this type of game then you might find it a little tricky to start with. The game also varies because it starts off a little tricky then seems like its getting easier but before you know it the game is getting harder again. Also different types of enemies pose different threats. If you are just starting or at a low level there isn't much point in trying to take on something that is about six times bigger than you. Also the less number of Pawns you have with you then the harder the game is.
Now the length of the game really depends on if you are a fan of doing everything? Because to completely complete the game fully you are looking at a couple of playthroughs. If you just want to do the main story and nothing else then the game will last about 20 hours. However if you want to do a lot of things such as explore the game, do side missions and the main story missions then you're looking at a possible 80 hours which is fantastic. There really is a lot to do on this game and it will keep you entertained for hours upon hours!
=== PROS ===
*A massive game with absolutely loads to do such as missions and exploring.
*Great graphics, superb sound effect and some of the best music I have ever heard in a game!
*A wide open world with lots of mythological creatures small, big and even bigger!
*Excellent combat allowing the player to get up close and personal by climbing on their enemies and slaying them.
*In my opinion a better game than the award winning Elder Scrolls V Skyrim.
=== CONS ===
*Side missions can seem a little repetitive at times and lead to you going back to places you've already visited.
*Some of the boss fights can take a very very long time and may seem you're fighting for a lifetime.
*Quite a complex game at the start with the vocations and skills.
*Not being able to fast travel will become annoying for most gamers especially the backtracking.
*Not much in terms of multiplayer other than using other players Pawns to help in your game.
=== FINAL THOUGHT ===
So if you are a fan of Skyrim or any other Elder Scrolls game then I urge you to give this a try because it really is a fantastic enthralling game that will have you hooked for hours. Also if you like a game with a fascinating storyline then this would be right up your street. Dragon's Dogma is definitely a game I would say is very underrated mainly because its a Japanese based game and not too many know about it. However Capcom made it and I do feel they very rarely let their fans down.
Dragon's Dogma is an 18 rated game because of all the blood and violence in the game but without those it wouldn't be as good. I bought the game back on release day for around £35 from Asda but the game can easily be found in most game shops or online for around £10 now. However there is also an add on for the game called Dragon's Dogma Dark Arisen which also comes with the full game and features around an extra 20 hours of gameplay and can be picked up for around £15. Its definitely worth paying the extra little bit of money for so much more.
One of my all time favourite games that I would give a very solid 9/10!
Review also on Ciao under the username: MrBrightside1987!
This game is an amazing game. The pawn system featured is innovative, genius and a welcomed change to boring AI companions. The pawns seem to genuinely learn from how you fight and, the longer your team is together, the more seamless your fighting. (kind of like a well oiled machine).
Dragon's Dogma is an action-RPG which utilises a hack-and-slash fighting system and pawn network. The hack-and-slash element is fairly bland and straight forward, but is brightened up by having powers and moves that are more effective against certain foes than others thrown into the mix to make each battle more tactical than simply button mashing. The game also has a great level of depth in terms of enemies, locations, quests and items.
Enemies are an especially challenging element. This is becuase many different things can have a factor on them, such as wether it is day or night, what area you encounter them in, your fighting style, the pawns you have with you and the level you and your pawns are. If one of your party members is a considerably lower level than the others, than smarter enemies (such as bandits) will actively go to attack them. Enemies also tend to prioritise killing magic classes over rogue classes in an effort to stop them healing the group. if you are facing a group of bandits with an archer in their group and you are using ranged tactics, then their archer may either prioritse you over team-mates or wait until you are pre-occupied with someone else before launching their attack. Day and night mainly affects how many, how often and what type of enemy you face.
Quests can vary from escorting quests (which can be extremely hard) to hunting animals and enemies like rabbits and goblins. Other types of quests include ones where you have to journey deep into a dark place to rid it of a great evil, ones where you simply have to clear out an area and ones where you have to collect certain items or ingredients.
Another good feature is the spoil feature. This means that, if you pick a fresh carrot, for example, and just have it in your inventory, then it will slowly go off and the benefits will be less potent and certain produce will even produce negative effects, such as poison, if consumed after spoiling. The only way to combat this is through putting said ingredient into an air-tight container. This element might not seem big enough to warrant inclusion here, but the fact that produce spoils instead of having no expirery date shows the level of thought put into every part of Dragon's Dogma.
This game also features a fun way to fight the bigger foes (and these can get BIG and HARD). This takes the form of mounting and climbing up the enemy to get to weak points and unleash eight bells of hell on the creature. This is fun and endearing method of fighting, as you have to judge when to climb, when to attack, where to attack and climb and when to jump off to avoid being flung or crushed.
The game also has no fast travel system. Though most people will groan at this, it has been done tactically. This is because the outside world takes on a sinister and evil moniker at night, with hordes of enemies present around almost every corner and not having a fast travel system adds the intense desicion regarding wether to push on into the night to finish that quest and face all the horrible consequences (or welcomed XP, depending on how you look at it) or to instead retreat (no shame in choosing this tactic) back to the safety of a town and inn where you can sleep till the morn and set off in the [relative] safety of the daytime.
The game also features zombies, which Capcom does explicably well...