Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is an Open World Action RPG created by Capcom.
Set in the Duchy of Granys, you play the Arisen, basically the chosen one, and need to quest your way throughout the world in order to prepare for your destiny, which is to fight the Ur-Dragon…who also has your heart, literally.
This review will cover the PC version of the game.
In short, the easiest way I can explain Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen to you is like this. Imagine a unique mix of all the qualities between Dark Souls, Dragon Age and Monster Hunter that make these games great. That’s pretty much Dragon’s Dogma. You have party building and a lot of emphasis on planning. You have monster climbing and cool, unique and challenging monsters. The combat is really fun, and your abilities feel pretty solid, like there is actual weight behind your attacks. The story feels rather generic and that does seem to be the case until you reach certain critical points in the game, and all of a sudden everything ties together really, really well and you realize just how well written the whole story is.
Graphically, Dragon’s Dogma is rather visually appealing and although it can occasionally look slightly dated, it does for the most part look brilliant. I can imagine that it probably looked even better on release, from the standing point of graphics in 2011 (granted the game was ported to PC in 2016, it wasn’t changed all that much graphics wise). Partner the game’s graphics with a decent ENB and you’ve got yourself one hell of a beautiful game.
The combat of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is probably one of its biggest selling points. It is one of the few games that I have ever played where I feel like my attacks have weight behind them. It is also very challenging, but not quite so difficult as a Dark Souls game, so for those who like a tough battle, where preparation is important and your enemies are tough, but the fights aren’t all that frustrating if your head is screwed on properly, this is definitely an experience worth trying out. I thoroughly enjoyed the importance of each vocation (basically roles or classes), and how well they can play well together in party-based combat. You can also climb on larger enemies while fighting them, which is just so cool in and of itself.
Pawns are basically NPC party members for hire and the way Capcom went about them is awesome. They play an integral part in the world and story, and are kinda like if NPC’s were a real life . The player gets to create and build up a Main Pawn, and can hire the rest.
What is really special about them, however, is that if you enabled the game’s online features, you actually get to hire other players’ Pawns! What is even cooler, is that any knowledge they attain while fighting with you, they bring over to their Arisen’s game, which can be vital to a fight as a Pawn’s knowledge of a type of enemy determines how they fight them. Players can also gift a hired pawn with items to give their Arisen when you dismiss them. What is even greater is that it is entirely lore-friendly as well! It is a system that is well built, and encourages players to craft unique pawns who really bring something to a party.
Enemy design is amazing, especially bosses, which are both visually cool and can be very challenging, which makes many a boss fight feel truly epic.
As I stated in the introduction, from the outside Dragon’s Dogma:Dark Arisen seems to have a pretty generic story. A dragon that will result in the end of the world as everyone knows it has arrived, and only the player, as the chosen one can defeat it. However, the way that Capcom has written and designed the game’s story is amazing. How they crafted it in such a way as to explain the world’s lore, the importance of the Arisen, the Pawns and the Ur-Dragon all within the story, as well as to wrap it up nicely in a way that explains a lot of what seems like open-ended parts of story. Then it also sets the player up for New Game Plus in a lore-friendly manner. I must say that I was rather impressed at how well loose ends were tied and how well it wrapped up.
Although the main story itself is rather linear, choices that the player makes are still important, at least on a micro level. What NPC’s think of you can affect not just how they treat you, but also lead to rewards and game content previously unavailable to the player, and even affect New Game Plus! There are also a large multitude of choices in the game that are never expressly given to the player, but are there nonetheless and rely entirely on the player’s own urges and thinking skills. This was something I was rather pleasantly surprised by and really made the world feel real at times.
Although I am still enthralled by just how fun and well done the game is, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen does have a few, albeit small, issues. There are a few bugs scattered here and there, some more game-breaking than others and there are also quite a few exploits, although most are tied to specific areas or enemies. Probably one of my biggest pet peeves with this game is the way that some Pawns will say the same thing whenever you pass through a certain area, time and time again. To be honest, that’s not a bad problem to have if that’s my biggest problem with the game. I am sure there are other issue with Dragon’s Dogma but in my almost 100 hours of playing the game, I’ve either not encountered anything really bad or the game’s content is fun and good enough that I don’t notice them so much.
I definitely recommend picking up a copy of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, especially when it goes on sale. It is a very solid game overall, and has something in it for almost everyone. I hate giving a rating but if I had to, I would definitely give it an 8 out of 10.
I truly hope that this review has been interesting and maybe helpful in making your mind up if you were on the fence before.