The best way to describe Capcom’s Dragons Dogma would be to call it a Hardcore Action RPG, harder than Skyrim, easier than Dark Souls, and with similarities to both.

After the helpful, action-packed tutorial in the prologue, you are introduced to the main antagonist, the Dragon. Its massive figure is not the only thing that strikes fear into the player, subtle things like five fingers on each hand and eloquent speech giving it humanesque characteristics, make it eerie and even more formidable. The Dragon steals your heart and challenges you to take it back, marking you as ‘Arisen’, basically what the Dovakiin is in Skyrim. After this encounter however, the game takes off to a slow start.

Like most modern RPG’s it features a vast open world. Without the ability to use mounts or instant fast travel, the exploration can get pretty repetitive. What keeps the navigation fresh is the Ambush Quests you will often encounter. These repeatable quests pit you against giant enemies like the Chimera, Griffin and Cyclops. The bigger the monster, the more fun you will have bringing it down.

The main selling point of DD is the combat system and epic boss fights. Remember that scene in Return of the King when Legolas climbs up and subsequently executes the Mumakill? That’s what fighting something big is like in DD. For example, armoured, the giant Cyclops is a formidable foe, but climb on its back and make it try to swat you and it will dislodge its helmet, exposing its eye, which you can then climb over to and hack away at. It’s combat like this that makes DD so original and replayable. With the huge list of powers and abilities, even fighting the smaller enemies is intense.

DD features a wide variety of classes and the ability to instantly change class back and forth adds a unique level of experimentation. Unhappy with the direction your character is heading? Instantly change class with little to no penalties. Getting the right balance of offense and support is imperative in progressing in DD.

Another unique thing in DD is the Pawns. Pawns are your constant companions throughout the game. Your main pawn is fully customisable and you level it up just like your own character. The 2 support pawns that accompany you are rented online, they don’t level up making them disposable which is initially a pain but eventually you will come to enjoy the diversity in your party. Your main pawn can also be rented to other players online and not only does it gain loot and experience, it also remembers routes it travelled, monsters it encountered and even quests it took part in. Offline players will obviously not be able to rent their pawn to others, but the game contains thousands of pre-made pawns to hire.

With the gapping plot holes and forgettable characters, DD really falls down story-wise. Just when you think you have it all figured it out and start to get into it, it flips it on its side and goes in a completely different direction. However the vast amount of side quests and monsters to slaughter will take your mind of it.

The focus on realism and attention to detail is another high point of praise in DD. Walk under a stream of water and your lamp will go out, you will also be vulnerable to ice and lightning until you dry out. In some high places, strong winds will blow and the lighter the player the more of an affect it will have. DD also features a dynamic night and day cycle. Packs of wolves, among other things, will roam the world at night making travelling more difficult.

DD comes shipped with access to the Resident Evil 6 demo and that alone is reason enough to buy it. The game also features the ability to take screenshots in-game and instantly upload it to Facebook and Twitter, though this will interest a small percentage of gamers.

While the story was a major disappointment, Dragons Dogma is still unique and thoroughly enjoyable. Featuring a gigantic environment and ever-changing combat, you will undoubtedly sink hours into this fantasy powerhouse.
Dragons Dogma Box Art
Review Score : [starreview tpl=16] Title : Dragons Dogma
Format : Xbox360
Developer : Capcom
Publisher : Capcom
Release Date : 05/22/12(US),05/25/12(UK)

[starreviewmulti id=1 tpl=20]

*Capcom provided with a review copy on Xbox 360.