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Dragon’s Dogma 2 Review – The Ideal Sequel for Devoted Fans

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to its predecessor, which was released more than a decade ago. Although the first game received mixed reviews from critics, it gradually gained a loyal fanbase. The game’s popularity continued to grow, especially after the release of the Dark Arisen expansion, which added new content and improved various aspects of the game.

The launch of Dragon’s Dogma 2 comes at a perfect time. When the original game was released, the genre was still developing, and the Dark Souls series was gradually establishing its audience. Dragon’s Dogma arrived as an open-world action RPG with large-scale boss battles similar to those found in Shadow of the Colossus. Initially, the game suffered from performance issues on the PS3 and Xbox 360, which affected its reception. However, later versions of the game addressed these problems, significantly improving the player experience.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is an ambitious open-world action RPG that builds on the foundation of its predecessor. It introduces a variety of dynamic elements and an engaging gameplay loop. Although the game is not perfect, its imperfections do not detract significantly from the overall gameplay quality. The sequel maintains the design principles of the original, which may seem outdated to some players. It challenges players to rely on their intuition to navigate the game, providing minimal guidance. Additionally, it abandons the conventional fast travel system in favor of a more traditional approach, which surprisingly does not diminish the gaming experience.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 takes place in an entirely new world, although it has been hinted to be parallel to the original. The game is essentially a retelling of the first game’s story but with a proper story structure this time. The cutscenes, locations, enemy variety, and the size of the world map have all been massively expanded in scope. The story revolves around someone who gains the nickname Arisen. This title is only bestowed upon those who have been chosen by the sacred Dragon, which steals their heart but gives them powers to enter and summon pawns from the rift beyond. They are tasked to pursue the Dragon and get their heart back. However, Dragon’s Dogma 2 provides a new twist to this fabled tale.

The story of Dragon’s Dogma 2 starts with the main character, Arisen, who is a customized avatar, escaping from a slave mine and arriving in Vermund, a city mostly inhabited by humans. Vermund is Battahl’s neighbor, a country ruled by the beastren. Although Vermund and Battahl don’t have a good relationship, the arrival of Arisen marks the beginning of a new conspiracy within the kingdom of Vermund. The queen of Vermund has placed a false Arisen in this position, and this person seems to be part of a bigger picture that becomes clear over time.

However, the first few hours of the game were challenging to get into because of the dated design elements. The minimap is confusing, with an abundance of icons placed on it. You can’t zoom in and out on the minimap, and the world map itself appears to be divided into two different sections. One section shows a bigger view of the full world map, while the other opens up in locations such as dungeons, cities, or small towns. It took me some time to get used to the UI in the game, and I don’t feel like it is the most intuitive when it comes to an open-world action RPG.

One of the modern quality-of-life implementations is auto-save, which is quite frequent. This means I was never afraid of losing my progress even after dying because I could just load back to the nearest save point, or even from the nearest inn/camp when I rested there. This does come with a drawback, which is called “loss” in the game. Each time you die and choose to restore from a save point, you will permanently lose a part of your life. The only way to gain it back is through resting at a camp or inn.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is not as difficult as Elden Ring, but it still offers plenty of challenges. When we first start the game, we have the freedom to explore its vast world map. However, we may encounter enemies that exceed our current power levels. The game’s open world features all kinds of monsters, but they can usually be classified into two main types: mini-mobs and mini-bosses. Mini-mobs are found throughout the open world and have designs that may be familiar to players of the first game. As we progress through the game, the variety of enemies also starts to change.

Mini-bosses are truly epic in the game, ranging from Griffons to Cyclopses and Dragons. These bosses usually respawn in the open world and can be fought for a good amount of experience points. The main boss fights in the game are not very frequent, but they are tough opponents. Most of these have been shown in pre-release media, but there are also some surprises that I won’t spoil. I didn’t encounter any of the main boss fights in my first 15 hours of gameplay because I was so focused on the side quests while neglecting the main story. The game has a lot of content available at any point, including huge and well-designed side quests that are spread across multiple phases. Most of these quests offer a neat reward at the end.

The side quests in Dragon’s Dogma 2 are exceptionally well-crafted and are tied into the narrative. Some of them are even timed, meaning that if you miss them during a certain point of the story, you will lose them forever. These side quests offer a lot of lore and are not just simple fetch quests. Each quest has a unique twist to it, so while you will still be fighting monsters, escorting NPCs, or gathering items, you will have some motivation to do so. The backstory for them is well-written and designed, and I was always eager to learn more.

For example, in one of the early side quests, I had to find a missing boy who was taken away by a mob of wolves. I had to gather clues by talking to NPCs and then go to the location where he was taken away. I had to figure out how to find his location using the hints given by NPCs, switching to nighttime, and then following a set of glowing flowers to the den of the wolves. The game is full of side quests like these, but there is a major flaw that hinders their true potential. It is related to the dreaded yellow circle and the minimap.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 doesn’t hold your hand at all, which means that you have to pay attention to every little thing that is shown in the game. If you miss something, you will be left clueless. You might have to search for guides just to figure out some of the main story missions, and almost certainly for the side quests. I had no idea that we could instruct our pawns to run to a location that is tagged in a side quest, and this is a literal life-saver as browsing the world map itself is a very unintuitive and cumbersome job.

To add to the frustration, the game sometimes puts you in a location with a yellow circle and tasks you with talking to NPCs. The only way I was able to pass these was by talking to essentially everyone. To make matters worse, the action button for this is tied to the dash button, which means there were plenty of times when I accidentally ended up dashing instead of talking to NPCs. Additionally, you don’t see the names of NPCs until you talk to them, which becomes an issue when you have to talk to specific NPCs only. However, the developers had anticipated this issue, and there is an in-game encyclopedia that keeps track of each NPC, their name, and location, which comes in handy in case you have forgotten about them.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a game that rewards players who spend more time in it. At first, the game may seem frustrating, but as players level up their party members, they can explore the world map. There is no traditional fast travel, but players can use an item called a Ferrystone to teleport to any location with a Portcrystal. They can also place mini Portcystals at any location and travel to them. These items can be obtained in shops or through sidequests and missions.

The game’s open world is full of secrets, such as optional dungeons, secret caverns with upgraded gear, and sidequests that trigger once players reach a certain point on the map. There is even a secret location based on the world of Elves, inspired by The Lord of the Rings, which is one of the coolest moments in the game.

The combat feels like an extension of the first Dragon’s Dogma but with more gameplay variety added to it. There are fewer vocations this time, with the game opening up with four vocations and then adding more later. Players can switch between vocations by going to a town and talking to the guild master. Skills can also be unlocked this way, with some powerful skills tied to sidequests.

The main party consists of up to four characters, with the player controlling the main character and having a main pawn as support. Only these two characters gain experience points and can level up their vocation ranks. The other two party members are usually pawns that can be found roaming the world map or through Rift crystals. Hiring a high-level pawn is usually the way to go, as the main party members level up while lower-level pawns do not receive the same benefits.

I had a great time playing as both a Fighter and an Archer. Each class has its unique playstyle, but I found the Warrior class to be somewhat restrictive due to its slower attack speed. The Mage class, on the other hand, was a lot of fun to play with its magic-based gameplay. However, the Thief class stood out as the best in the game, with its rapid offensive capabilities, even though it lacks defense. This trade-off proved to be advantageous against mobs, but for certain battles, I preferred to switch back to my Fighter build, with a main pawn serving in a ranged support role.

The game has a crafting system that allows you to combine items to create new ones. Additionally, I noticed that the game pays attention to detail by allowing food items to gradually go bad over time. Weapons and armor can also be improved by collecting loot that is found during exploration or by defeating monsters. Although the main character can only carry a certain amount of weight, it is possible to increase their capacity. Any item can be conveniently stored in storage, making it easy to take on every journey outside.

Despite the game’s vast scale, I did not encounter any significant bugs, which was a pleasant surprise. There were occasional minor issues, such as my pawn getting stuck on obstacles or accidentally falling to their death, but these did not detract from the overall experience. The pawns in this sequel are markedly improved over those in the first game, offering a wider variety of dialogue. They now make comments on ongoing missions and side quests, providing helpful hints or guidance. It creates the illusion of playing an online game, even though it is an offline experience.

However, one area of disappointment was the PC version’s performance, particularly in Vermund, a crucial location in the game. Unfortunately, I struggled to achieve a satisfactory level of performance, and even adjusting the settings to lower quality did not offer much improvement. I hope that post-launch updates will enhance the game’s performance. Visually, the game is appealing, though not without its imperfections. Instances of clipping were noticeable, especially when monsters engaged in combat in forested areas. Nevertheless, the fluidity of the animations contributes to making the battles feel more dynamic and engaging.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 Game Information

  • Price: $69.99
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Platform: PC (Reviewed)
  • Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher
Score
9.5

Summary

Dragon's Dogma 2 is an impressive sequel to the cult classic game. It features an ambitious open-world and a more engaging storyline that combines nostalgia with innovation. Although the game has a few design quirks and occasional performance issues, especially on PC, it compensates with a rich narrative, an expansive world, and an engaging combat system. Players who are willing to dive deep into its universe will find it a rewarding experience. While it does not redefine the action RPG genre, it successfully captures the essence of adventure and exploration, making it appealing to both veteran and newcomer players.

Total Rating

9.5
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Salal Awan

Salal's main hobby is photography but he is also interested in learning the latest about Technology including Smartphones and PC Hardware. He is the co-founder of Twisted Voxel and always on the lookout for the news.

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