It was either before or during a holiday of my freshman year of college, I had downloaded the demo of Dragon’s Dogma on my PS3 (RIP Sonny 3, hopefully someone’s playing you in the afterlife) and I got to try out the different classes. I fought a griffin. I shot arrows. I slashed up enemies. My grandmother called it demonic. It was a fun time. So of course when the game came out, I went and bought the game (by that point it was the summer before my sophomore year). I know that I say that Kingdom Hearts II is my favorite game, and yes most days that’s true, but my ranking is interchangeable usually fluctuating between Tales of Abyss, Kingdom Hearts II, .hack//G.U. (just the entire series), and Dragon’s Dogma (which sure for a few people this might be a trash list. also let’s just add Persona 5 in for the culture).
What I’m trying to say here is that Dragon’s Dogma was a fun game. It frustrated me early on because, unlike Skyrim, the game didn’t scale the enemies to your player’s level, so there were areas you weren’t supposed to go to yet, but it was still a sandbox. When I first played, I didn’t take the hint about difficulty and kept trying over and over again until I decided to run from battles that were over my head. I mean the first time I went into the Everfall and faced an ogre, I…got wrecked. I only won because the ogre went for a dropkick and went too far off the edge. It took a pawn down with it, but the exp was mine for the taking. Then there was the Ancient Quarry quest where I fought three ogres and that was a struggle bus. There was the canyon you needed to traverse in order to get to Blue Moon Tower filled with armed bandits who were way harder than I thought they’d be. I went through the first playthrough without using portcrystals or ferrystones. This game was a struggle. It stung. It, for a while, tested my gamer ability, but I kept playing because overall I loved the game. So of course when the game was ported to the current gen, I couldn’t pass it up.
Overall I’d say the changes from last gen to current gen are very minimal. The graphics got a slight boost and overall became a bit more crisp and a bit brighter. Unfortunately the game didn’t get the 60fps treatment and was capped to 30fps. That might be upsetting to plenty of gamers, but for me I don’t really mind. I enjoy the game enough at 30fps and it’s current framerate is great because it doesn’t suffer from those framerate lags of the previous generation. 60fps is great and all, but I don’t count it as the end all be all of gaming. If the game is fun, it’s fun (and it’s not like you’re paying $60. it’s only $30.). The game still suffers from the flaws of it’s older gen version though, some enemies still pop up from nowhere, the “Nameless Terror” quest still has that bug where one of the enemies doesn’t show up sometimes, and other small flaws, but since I love this game, none of that ever mattered to me.
I’d say that if you enjoyed this game when it was on PS3 and 360, you should probably buy the game again unless you have the PC version. As for newbies to the game, you should get it. Back when the game came out it was compared to Skyrim. And when the Dark Arisen expansion came out it was compared to Dark Souls and I’d say it’s a nice fusion of those two properties plus other wonderful factors. You can climb onto enemies or grapple them. You can manipulate how you travel across terrain. And when you face the Grigori for the first time you’ll understand the epic ambition of this game. Does it always meet that ambition? No. But you get a grasp on it.
Dragon’s Dogma allows you to play the game multiple times (mainly because the point of it all is that you’re cycling through lives because each Arisen serves a purpose and history repeats over and over with slight changes). Understanding the lore that’s hidden in small dialogues and easily passed over references is what makes the game so great and if you want to figure out the narrative of this game you have to work for it, which makes it rewarding (though it’s not as hard to figure the narrative as Dark Souls). By your second playthrough you’ll understand the cast of the game, and sometimes you’ll want to go a different path than you did last time. You might explore the land more or try to romance a different character or find a quest you didn’t know existed in your first playthrough. This game is a means of exploration and discovery and I recommend that you play the game and try to find out as much as you can because this game is such a gem to me.
If you’re new you might be wondering what’s the best approach for combat (since there are so many classes you can use), and there are three approaches to leveling up in the game. One is two choose a class and switch things up as much as you want because really your stats don’t matter and you just want to enjoy the bloody game—I mean you don’t have to write a thesis about leveling because this is just a game and nothing will be that serious. The second is extreme min maxing based off of leveling up different classes so your stats are offensively the best they can be. The third is just being balanced and trying out different classes so that your stats can ultimately just have a balance to them. When I played on PS3 I used the first approach. On PS4 I used the third. And because I love myself I’ll never do the second.
So play the game. Maybe you’ll love it as much as I do. Maybe you’ll hate it. Or maybe you’ll just be okay with it, but I know that maybe, if only for a second, you’ll enjoy it. And hopefully in the future we’ll get a sequel. I leave you with my favorite song from the original game. Later days and remember, wolves hunt in packs.
P.S. Never look at the comment section of a certain characters’ Dragon’s Dogma Wiki pages. It’ll make you doubt people. It’s a bad look for gamers. You can find it here. If you explore the wiki you’ll also find other weird and shameful comments.