Dragonís Dogma (Xbox 360) Review
Posted by Mark Salmela on 06.11.2012
Capcomís epic RPG tale is finally here. How does it shape up? Find out inside.
Title: Dragonís Dogma
Rated: M for Mature
Dragonís Dogma is Capcomís big fantasy RPG set out to compete with the likes of Skyrim and Dark Souls. Dragonís Dogma manages to borrow a lot of elements from the likes of Skyrim, Dark Souls, Monster Hunter, and even MMOís while not feeling like a complete rip-off. Dragonís Dogma sports a unique story with interesting gameplay elements.
Looking at the comparisons to other games, Dragonís Dogmaís character classes are best compared to Dark Souls. In Dragonís Dogma you start off by picking between a mage, ranger, or fighter, but youíre free to customize your character and progress as you choose throughout the game. If you want to be a mage but use your magic to attack from a far, itís very easy to hone your skills to your liking and make your own sort of hybrid mage archer class or assassin fighter who attacks from a far like a ranger but can be deadly at close range. Unlike Dark Souls, and more similar to Skyrim your character levels up passively by fighting in combat, so you donít have to worry about constantly micromanaging your character like Dark Souls. Each character class does have its own special ability, such as fighters being able to survival falls from larger heights and mages being able to temporarily levitate.
One of Dragonís Dogmaís best strong suites is the combat. Unlike certain games where it can feel like youíre swinging at air, you have a sense of connection and weight when you strike something with your sword in Dragonís Dogma. While thereís a lot of repetition in the enemies you fight the boss battles are very epic, with large scale bosses that have multiple forms to defeat before the encounter is over. In a time where boss battles can feel tacked on or feel forced itís nice to see a game that has meaningful and more importantly memorable boss battles.
Another feature of Dragonís Dogma that manages to make it stands out is the use of ďpawnsĒ. In Dragonís Dogma you have 3 party members that assist you in your journey, and you can change out 2 of the 3 party members at will with various other characters that have different strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. These pawns that you can hire and fire at will are actually the customized characters of other players that you can bring into your game. Itís a good customization skill that can keep your party from getting stale. As for the AI of these pawns, they arenít useless by any means but they wonít do your job for you. Youíre going to need the aid of your pawns in battle, but you canít rely on them to do all the work for you.
The story of Dragonís Dogma starts out so well, and then is basically abandoned for the majority of the game. You play as the Arisen, the chosen one sent to rid the world of an ancient dragon who has reappeared into the world. In one of the opening cutscenes your character tries to take on the ancient dragon, only to be killed, and have your heart ripped out by the ancient dragon and eaten. So youíre not only trying to save the world, but save your own soul and get your heart back. Itís an interesting tale, but unfortunately the majority of the game is made up of random quests until the story is finally revisited around the last handful of hours. Also, everyone in Dragonís Dogma speaks in the faux olde-English, filled with everyone saying ďyeĒ and ďaughtĒ. Itís a very mixed bag. Some might say it helps with the immersion, but on the other hand it starts to get really annoying. They should have taken a route similar to Game of Thrones where they spoke some old English with ďmah ladyĒ, but didnít beat you over the head with it.
One of the big problems with Dragonís Dogma is the quest system. Most of the quests in Dragonís Dogma are very repetitive and uninspired. Most of the gameís towns are very shallow, with hardly any people in them. Also, most of the wilderness is filled with your standard fantasy RPG enemies such as orcs, wolves, and trolls. The actual quests themselves often have your party going down the exact same paths that youíve traveled many times, doing the same sort of quests over and over again. Even though the world of Dragonís Dogma is large, youíll spend a lot of time backtracking through the same areas, which gets annoying and only makes boring quests even worse.
Another issue I have with Dragonís Dogma is how the game can be so unforgiving at times, yet tries to help you way too much in others. Youíll encounter areas filled with enemies ready to kick your ass and cause you to lose almost an hour of progress, yet in other aspects the game tries to hold your hand. For example your pawns never seem to shut up about the most obvious of things. Hearing one of your pawns say ďItís weak to fireĒ is completely useless and annoying when itís talking about the same goblin youíve killed a hundred times over the past 5 hours. Youíre already well aware the goblin is weak to fire, mainly because it said the same thing the other hundred times you fought it. The game is trying to inject personality and make your companions seem human by saying things like ďWhat a large treeĒ in the middle of a forest, but then you realize it says it every time you walk by that specific tree and it makes your pawns feel completely robotic.
The final issue with Dragonís Dogma is the large amount of graphical issues and various bugs in the game. Thereís no chance youíll complete a play through of Dragonís Dogma without encountering at least a handful of issues. Clipping is everywhere in this game, and donít be surprised if you not only clip into various enemies, but you become stuck in their geometry as well. Framerate issues are common in areas with lots of enemies or lots of things going on, and some enemies wonít even pop-into the game at all. There was one moment in particular where out of the blue all the pawns ran off and started hacking at the air, only for an enemy to pop in a full 30 seconds later after it died and nearly killed one of the pawns.
- Great combat system
- Passive leveling up system that removes the micromanagement
- Epic boss battles
- The ďpawnĒ companion system is fun and unique
- Lots of surprises in the main quest
- Repetitive enemy types
- Boring quests
- The story is largely abandoned for the majority of the game
- Lots of graphical issues and glitches
- The dialogue is annoying
Yeah, I can take that thing.
Dragonís Dogma had the potential to be an epic RPG, but is plagued by issues. The world of Dragonís Dogma is large and vast. The story starts off Epic and makes you want to play the game. The combat is fluid, and the pawn system is great. But itís issues such as the sporadic framerate, glitches, repetitive enemies, and boring side quests that keep Dragonís Dogma from reaching its full potential. If youíre a big fan of real-time, open-world action RPGs Dragonís Dogma is worth a look, but itís nowhere near as good as some of the epic RPGs that came out last fall.
The world is huge, but character models look bad and the scenery is hit or miss. The framerate is also inconsistent.
The pawn system is a lot of fun and the combat is great, itís just too bad the quests couldnít be more imaginative.
The Japanese guitar tearing up the title screen will catch you off guard, but itís quickly replaced with ďGeneric Fantasy Orchestral Music Soundtrack Number 2Ē. Itís completely forgettable. Also, the voiceovers can get annoying.
Dragonís Dogma will take dozens of hours to complete, and thereís enough variety between the classes to make them worth exploring.
There was the potential to be a great RPG, but itís severely hurt by glitches, repetition, and boring quests.