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Preview: Dragon’s Dogma
I look at this game and say to myself, “this is made by Capcom?” It just doesn’t look like something out of their normal portfolio. Dragon’s Dogma reeks of western success. From head to toe, this game is easily comparable to both Skyrim and Dark Souls. With exploration open to a large world and the difficulty of an old school title, Capcom looks to take a bite out of both cash piles come this May. Bound with exciting new features, Dragon’s Dogma may be the wonder hit of the summer, but why?
The world is huge. Mostly comparable to Oblivion, the size of the game means there will be plenty to do. Cruise through Capcom Unity’s YouTube account and you’ll see that the areas around the world are filled with enemies, objects, and rewards. You’ll be hard struck to travel a distance without running into enemies and some object or structure to take your attention away from the main road. Leaving the roads in Dragon’s Dogma means uncertainty. You don’t know what you’ll run into. In Skyrim you worried about Dragons but here you’ll be worrying about a lot more. Most of the enemy types found in the world are dangerous no matter what level you are. Even throwing the normal enemies and groups aide, you’ll be facing giants, drakes, hydras, golems, and a lot more.
Leaving the road also brings you close to another danger: the night. As time moves on in your travels, the sun will rise and fall. When it falls, that’s when Dragon’s Dogma is at its best. Nighttime is no joke. Most of the Skyrim-like feeling goes away and Capcom’s own blend of Resident Evil and Dark Souls makes its entrance when the sun finally leaves the horizon. You will have to rely on every source of light you can grasp – lanterns, spells, torches, etc. This light is the only thing separating you from total darkness. Complete and total darkness. Even stepping into a cave’s entrance during the day may trigger the darkness to consume you and your followers. Bumps in the night are more dangerous can you can possibly know. Your light source will only take you so far. You won’t be able to see what lurks nearby. I wouldn’t want to wake a sleeping drake in the middle of the night.
To counter this, Dragon’s Dogma have a very cool grasp of time and an actual need to sleep. When you take a quest from a town or city, it is generally a good idea to head to the Inn. Sleeping allows you and your followers to not only rest but get a full day’s travels as you begin the quest at the break of dawn (although, this isn’t required). This doesn’t mean you are completely safe. The woods and other areas are still filled with hobgoblins, ghosts, bandits, and even trolls. You can’t be entirely safe anywhere but inside a town. Always be prepared.
How would you like to tackle these challenges? Sword? Staff? Bow? Capcom gives you plenty of choices with nine vocations including the Ranger, Fighter, Mystic Knight, and others. Some classes are hybrids of two vocations so you’ll be able to mix and match to get the play style you want the most. No matter your choice, the story starts the same for every vocation and gender. You are visited by a dragon who proclaims you the “chosen one”. He isn’t very nice about it as he steals your heart and leaves you to die. Instead of passing on, you are reborn as the Arisen and set out to find this flying jerk who took your heart. Characters around the world react to your situation and you’ll gain followers are you progress.
The followers have their own system that, in its right, is exceptionally cool. Called the Pawn system, you’ll be able to enter other players worlds and check out their pawns. You can download them and use them in your own party. This has implications for the player you just downloaded off of. Not only do you get a cool new pawn, but your friend’s guy gets more powerful thanks to your download. They also bring over loot to other worlds to strengthen and help prepare players. This online system helps both parties out and allows players to switch up their parties with some new names, personalities, and skills.
Once you have a team of followers, you have to make sure their set of skills compliment not only you but also your current main quest. Are you going up against a horde of hobgoblins? Make sure to have plenty of fire or ice magics. Drakes? Well, just good luck to you. Either way, management of your follows and downloaded Pawns is important.
I don’t believe it is fair to simply look at Dragon’s Dogma as another Skyrim. This 3rd-person game takes the best of both worlds from Bethesda’s giant and From Software’s Dark Souls. It’s like if Alduin and Gwyn had a baby that went on to be a Jack-of-all-Trades. Could it be a master of all, though? Come May 24th, we will get to see ourselves as we take control of our own Arisen.