A report on the Xbox Live Games with Gold titles available for November 2014.
4 Things I Would Love To See In Dragon’s Dogma 2
We know Dragon’s Dogma 2 is in development, but few details beyond that have been leaked by Capcom. I was pretty high on the first Dragon’s Dogma, and fell in love with the game’s combat, the pawn system and the world of Gransys in general. However, it wasn’t perfect, something that series creator Hideaki Itsuno has discussed himself. A few weeks ago, he told VG24/7 that only 60-70% of the ideas he had for Dragon’s Dogma made it into the game. Clearly, he has plenty in mind for the sequel, but we’ve put together a list of four things that could really push the series over the top. Make no mistake about it; if Dragon’s Dogma 2 is done right, it could be one of the best RPGs ever. The core concept really is that good. Obviously that’s getting way ahead of things, so let’s focus on improving the sequel.
An Improved Story
If there is one clear weak point in Dragon’s Dogma, it’s the story. Don’t get me wrong; the lore of the game is fantastic, but the crap you have to go through to absorb it all can be mind-numbing sometimes. After the neat set-up, you are forced to undertake myriad fetch and escort quests until the entertaining finale. The post-game content is miles better than the main quest, but unless you are willing to do some extensive research, you will miss the best part of Dragon’s Dogma’s mythos. The story behind the Seneschal, the Everfall and the link between the Arisen and the Dragon is a fascinating one, but Capcom missed an opportunity to tell the story in a way only video games can do: interactivity. Sure, your pawns fill a bit of that tale in, but after awhile its easy to tune them out. In other words, while the universe they built is intriguing, the way the tale was told left something to be desired. For the sequel, a more cohesive plotline could do wonders for the game, while hopefully building off what is already here. A good place to start would be the wooden characters and stilted dialogue.
A Bigger World
One of the best best parts of Dragon’s Dogma is exploring the world. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is the best part of the game. The first trip from Cassardis to Gran Soren is an engrossing, wonder-filled experience. Everything is new, and every fight feels like your life is on the line. Rounding the corner of the mountain pass and seeing Gran Soren in the distance, and all the land beyond, made me giddy, as the scale of the world really is fantastic. Every side path and errant cave is brimming with possibilities, and thanks to the terrific combat, it rarely feels like a slog as you make your way through the world. However, the game loses a bit of its wonder after you’ve seen everything. After leveling up a bit, it isn’t terribly hard to explore the entire map, which left me with a sad hollow cavity where my heart should have been. I wanted more exploration. I wanted more punishment for trekking into places I shouldn’t be yet. Hopefully a Dragon’s Dogma sequel will play of its strengths more this time, and world exploration should be high atop that list. The thought of adding a giant, seamless world to compliment Dragon’s Dogma’s many excellent systems is an enticing one.
This one is a freebie. With the current pawn system already in place, live coop with a friend is the next logical step. I’m already using my friends pawn anyway; why not let him take control of his own pawn while we’re playing? The basic structure could remain the same: You can’t level up or change equipment, you can’t use items and you can’t stray too far from your Arisen. Sure, that presents a few technical problems, but nothing we haven’t seen from other titles. Limit each Arisen to one player-controlled pawn at a time, and you have the makings of a fantastic cooperative experience. More than anything else, this is the one feature I would love to see make its way into the sequel. Just having a teammate who can heal properly would go a long way, and the strategic possibilities of two teammates working together is a very exciting prospect.
More Enemy Variety
As fun as the combat was, it’s hard to deny that, after a certain point, you want to fight something different. The thrill of taking down a Golem or Drake remains intact throughout, and the terrific postgame helps a bit in this regard, but there is only so many times you can take down a goblin before fatigue sets in. The unique enemies are fantastic, and really the regular enemies are too, but you end up fighting an awful lot of wolves, goblins, harpies and saurians. Later on, you fight direwolves, hobgoblins, snow harpies and inky saurians. While certainly tougher, they are for the most part glorified palette swaps. I would like to see more of both types of enemies: regular and minibosses. A few more varieties of each would go over really well, especially if the map is expanded. Hopefully they will also find a way to force you out of your comfort zone, because fighting strategies between foes are too similar as is. While were at it, let’s go ahead and add more bosses while we’re at it. Outside of a handful of story battles, there are few unique big baddies to worry about. More quests (or even better, sidequests) that end in unique boss fights, the better.
Again, the first Dragon’s Dogma is excellent, but with a few tweaks it could become something really special. If you haven’t played it yet, I suggest you do so (the full game with a huge expansion, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, can be purchased brand new for $40). If you have, is there anything else you would like to see make its way into the sequel?
I may know of a way that co-op could be improved from what you've said. Instead of just summoning in a pawn that the pawn's owner can play as, i'd rather be able to summon the player's actual character and his own pawn. With each player taking control of their own pawn to help with the co-op and with each player only having to control one pawn, there could be more commands one could do with them during certain situations.