It’s finally here, Dragon’s Dogma!  I’ve been waiting for this game ever since it was announced, and the preview clips kept peaking my interest.  Now that it’s here, I can honestly say it’s not what I expected, but then, what did I expect?  Honestly, I don’t know.  All I knew was there would be a good character creation menu, a focus on combat, and a pawn system.  Well, now that I have the game I’m glad to say all that is there and there’s a bit more to it.

I went straight to this game from Skyrim, which I have 93 hours on.  I was used to the level scaling and never really having a sense of fear.  What I should have done was put Dark Souls back in my PS3 the week before getting Dragon’s Dogma.  True, it isn’t nearly as hard as the Souls games, but it’s no push over.  Actually, I rather like the difficulty.  It encourages careful exploration, and makes it more fulfilling as you have to gradually explore the map rather than have free reign from the beginning (which you do, but it isn’t wise to go into harder areas, as you probably will die, or just end up running through it).

So far I’ve traveled through mines, forests, castle ruins (where a band of female bandits ruled by a man hating leader decided to have at it and take me down [only after a few tries and a bit of planning was I able to take down {with the help of my pawns} the bandits and their leader]), caves, and the main city of the game.  Yes, it all sounds dreadfully generic, but something about it has a charm of something familiar yet foreign at the same time.  I’ve only traveled at night once during a mission, but it was interesting to see different enemy types come out (and often with higher difficulty levels).

Now, the pawn system is interesting.  There are two ways to summon pawns, which seems to be ignored in many reviews.  The first is the most covered way, and that is to go to certain stones (I forget what they’re called, so I’ll refer to them as summoning stones) and touch it.  Once you do that your character is transported to a realm where you hire other player’s pawns.  These pawns don’t level up, so you’ll change pawns often throughout the course of the game.  Another way to hire pawns is simply by walking around the world and talking to them as you cross their path.  I was surprised to see pawns walking around the game world, but it does make it easy to pick them on the go (though, the summon stone worlds allow more freedom for what type of pawns you want and have a section for the highest ranked pawns).

Two pawns can be summoned, as one of the pawns will always be with you (and you get to create him/her).  My main pawn is a female mage, and somehow I need to figure out how to make her stop getting killed so much.

Creating the main character and pawn can be extensive, but I didn’t go too far into it.  My main character is a strider (bows and daggers, much like Legolas in The Lord of the Rings), and due to my current obsession with Battlestar Galactica, he is named Gaius Baltar.  Similarly, my pawn mage is a blonde female called Caprica.

Really, the worst part of the game was the introduction sequence.  It really went on longer than I would have liked, and it took about an hour or two to actually be able to go into the full world.  However, once that happened, the game really opened up, and without the game recording how long I’ve been playing (I hope I might just not have found it yet, as I like to know how long I play RPGs) I’d say I’m around seven or eight hours in.  I’m not sure if I’ve done more than one main story quest yet, but I think I’ve done around eight or ten side quests (the rest has been exploring and doing my own nonsense).

Is this game for you?

If you like exploration, having to think out if you can go somewhere or not, looting (which I’ve yet to really find a lot of in terms of weapons and armor), and action (which this game does well, and is a nice change from the more methodical approach in the Souls games) then there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy this game.  Sure, the graphics and character models can be lacking at times, there is pop in, and zooming in on objects can bring up some sub par textures, Dragon’s Dogma provides something that is often forgotten in adventure and RPGs, a fun challenge (the key word being fun, which it truly is).

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