What do dragons believe in, anyway?
The set-up for Capcoms new role-playing property may have you rolling your eyes dragons, fantasy world, legendary hero rising from unlikeliest of backgrounds, etc. but get to grips with everything it has to offer and youll find a fantastic game underneath.
Its a bold departure for the developer of the Breath of Fire series, and western RPGs have clearly been a key influence. Dragons Dogmas wealth of character creation tools, open world and real-time combat all shed the expectations of the typical Japanese RPG, and for the better. While three character classes are available initially, more open up as you progress, allowing constant development of your character. Battles are pleasingly difficult shades of Namcos daunting Dark Souls and preparing the right band of recruitable Pawns beforehand is key.
Its in these Pawns that Capcom has struck upon a perfect way to bring an online element to a single player game, without interrupting the solo experience. Every player creates their own partner, who can be recruited by others when youre not playing. Log in again and youll reap the benefits of their travels with items and gold. In turn, your own party can be expanded by adding up to two extra Pawns.
Visually, Dragons Dogma is a mixed bag. On one hand, its full of elaborate cities, brilliantly realised dungeons, monster designs that give God of War a run for its money and an aesthetic that beckons you to explore just that bit further. Yet on the other, the smaller details seem to suffer grass is a collection of flat stalks zig-zagging in the breeze, trees turn 2D when walking through their branches, and textures range from blocky colours to near-photo realistic. Distracting but not game breaking, though hopefully something a later patch can address.
A tough but ultimately rewarding title that balances familiarity with originality, and hopefully one that gets the recognition it deserves.