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Customer Review

62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern RPG with an old school challenge, May 24, 2012
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= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Dragon's Dogma - Playstation 3 (Video Game)
It's been a long time since I've played a game where I truly felt that I was adventuring, D&D style, in a dangerous world. The combat is weighty, visceral, and exceptionally diverse and offers a real challenge (but not frustratingly so like Dark/Demon souls). Each encounter becomes epically cinematic as you and your pawns (companions) work in tandem to block strikes, grapple with foes, climb giant monstrosities to access their weak points. At one point one of my AI teammates used his shield as a springboard to vault me up onto a giants arm, where I then clung swinging my sword, holding onto the beast as he thrashed. He stumbled over to the edge of a cliff turning the tactical jump I just made into a grave mistake, as now I didn't have ground underneath to land on if he shakes me off. During a caravan escort quest, a harpy swooped down and grabbed the guard next to me, carrying him to a nearby cliff and dropping him. These weren't a scripted events, they were ordinary encounters and mob mechanics that turn seamlessly cinematic.

The environment has a few features that some people will hate, but I've been longing for. Darkness is truly dark - you need to ensure that you and your party have light sources (lanterns and oil for instance) before heading down into the unexplored, and those light sources can be influenced by the environment. Fighting in the water? Your light is going to go out and no amount of turning up the gamma will make it so you can see! Along those lines nighttime is also not something to be taken lightly. You need to plan your quests and travels so that you won't be caught outside when darkness falls, because not only will you not be able to see (even with light sources, it's realistically dark), but it's supremely dangerous. Getting caught out at night becomes nerve wracking as you strain to hear dangers that you can't hope to see, and try not to get lost as you seek some sort of shelter. It gives an old school feel of real danger and panic that I've really missed in games.

Character creation has you customizing every aspect of your character, not only in basic appearance and hairstyle, but in actual size, weight, bulk and musculature. This all plays into how your character performs - a smaller light character will be more nimble, a bulky sumo character will be good at knocking foes down. Even your posture and stance can be customized, you can realize the stooped and wizened wizard you always wanted (for you or your pawn).

The pawn system surprised me the most, I didn't think I'd become so addicted to it. Essentially, you make one main pawn for yourself - this is your constant companion on your journey, able to be designed with the full range of options as you yourself were built with. You equip them, they level with you, and most importantly they learn with you. As you do quests, fight monsters, and have conversations you direct their progression. Are they protective of the party and will help teammates above all else, or do they aggressively attack opponents disregarding everything else. Do they like to scout ahead or do they prefer to stay near the leader. If you show them how to do something (take restorative healing items), they'll learn how to do it themselves. These pawns and their AI are probably the most lifelike NPCs I've encountered in a long time, and the fact that they can be quite talkative just adds to that as they'll comment on anything and everything as you are exploring/adventuring.

You can have up to three other pawns with you in a party, but you yourself only make the one. The others you can hire are the ones that other players have made to be their main pawns. Your pawn doesn't go anywhere when another person uses them in their party, but instead a copy of them is used and then the quest and monster knowledge that they learn with other players, is retained. Your pawn will be out learning whether you are playing or not. I didn't expect to enjoy this feature so much, but seeing that my pawn is getting use by dozens and dozens of players, who send gifts and comments back with it showing it was useful to them, is a great feeling - not to mention that my pawn then has new insights into various enemies or hazards in the world that helps me dramatically in my own game.

The only real negative I'm finding with the game is the weaker main story (it's on par with Skyrims main plot), some occasional performance issues during busy fights, and the predictability of some areas. That is even though it's an open world, when you've been somewhere enough, you begin to learn what might spawn where. Since combat is so much fun it's not too much of a drawback though, and it will take you some time before you explore the entire world enough to begin predicting where things are.

Overall this is an amazing RPG and one that I'm obviously enjoying immensely. If I had to compare this game to something, I'd say it's some amalgamation of Dark Souls, Skyrim, Monster Hunter and Shadow of the Colossus. The few negatives about the game are easily forgiven and forgotten in the face of how much dang fun it is.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 28, 2012 6:07:20 AM PDT
L. Doll says:
Great review, very informative!!

I've been playing the game over the past few days and your review taught me a couple of things I didn't figure out for myself yet. Thanks. Definitely 5-stars!

Posted on Aug 31, 2012 7:45:35 AM PDT
N. C. Hill says:
This is a good review, you've completely sold me and now Im busting out the billfold!
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Location: Ridgefield, WA United States

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