I just want somebody to hold.
We’ve seen the release of some very big fantasy RPG’s over the last few months, and while I’ve had a great time with Skyrim, Dark Souls, The Witcher 2 and Kingdoms of Amalur, there was one that was always at the back of my mind. Dragon’s Dogma had me worried at times, but cautiously optimistic all the same. It always looked great whenever a new video was released, but would it get lost amid the giants of the genre? Would it be good enough to stand out? Would it be different enough to matter? All of these questions seemed to melt away the first time I jumped on the back of a Griffin. Somewhere between hanging on for dear life with one hand and hacking away with the other, I forgot all about those other games.
You’ll start your journey in Dragon’s Dogma by creating a character via an editor that will give a few basic choices for those who want to get started right away, but also offers a full suite of deeper customization options for those who like to get detailed about how their character looks. You’ll also be creating a “Primary Pawn”, this character will be your main sidekick throughout the game and will play a big part in your battles.
Combat is, after all, what you’re here for. Dragon’s Dogma has some of the craziest action I’ve ever experienced in a fantasy RPG. The battles are often large scale affairs involving large numbers of enemies squaring off against you and your crew. See, you’ll have access to pawns other than your primary who can be summoned based on how the compliment your team. The battles are chaotic and fast paced and often involve tag teaming enemies with one of your pawns.
Teamwork is a big part of Dragon’s Dogma, which makes it a real shame this isn’t a co-op game, and you’ll often be given a chance to work with your pawns to pull of a special move or take advantage of an enemy’s vulnerability. Fighting will feel very familiar at first, you have a quick attack and a strong attack and can block with your shield, but the thing that sets these battles apart is the ability to grab onto enemies. In a small scale battle this may be as simple as restraining a goblin while your pawn finishes him off, but when you’re up against a large enemy grabbing on makes all the difference.
At one point my party came up against a Chimera, a fearsome creature made up of parts of other beasts. While my party distracted the head, I jumped on the monster’s back, turned around and hacked off it’s tail. This tail just happened to be a giant snake who was striking at my allies so taking out this part of the monster evened the odds considerably. By the end a number of us were piled on, hacking away, while the beast thrashed around in an attempt to dislodge us. Needless to say, I had to catch my breath when we were done.
Dragon’s Dogma may look like more of the same at first, but one battle will change your mind. The dynamic nature of the combat is like nothing you’ve played before. I can’t wait to get my hands on the full game on May 22nd. Still skeptical? Check out the full Chimera battle below.