Dragon’s Dogma (Xbox 360 & PS3) Preview
The open world game has become a huge genre for the Western audience, whether it is game´s like Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or more realistic fare like LA Noire, fans spend a lot of extra time outside of the main storyline playing those games. It is usually because the world the player inhabits is full of extra things to do such as quests and has many NPC´s to talk to. Capcom wants to enter their own brand of fantastical action into the open world realm with Dragon´s Dogma.
Dragon´s Dogma is more of an action game than the RPG world that the renowned Skyrim inhabits. It does still include Dragons, Gryphons, and magic like Skyrim though. Capcom released a demo for the game last week and even though it is kind of on the short side players can still get a sense of what to expect from Dragon´s Dogma.
The demo gives players the option of choosing between two missions. There is a prologue mission, where a group enters a dragon’s lair and it seems a character named Arisen is attempting to meet his final trial of slaying it. Even though the dragon is visible and says a few words to the characters, the characters wind up fighting a snake, goat, and lion chimera monster instead. This is how the adventure in Dragon´s Dogma begins, similar to EA and 38 Studios recent release “Kingdoms of Amalur,” where players have to follow a short semblance of a storyline, until the world opens up and there is room to explore. The prologue mission is here to show players how to play the game, a tutorial of how to work with a full leveled team, and how the storyline will work.
You control one player, but you can also issue commands to your pawns using the D-Pad. Pawns are A.I. allies that player’s gain along their adventure. All of the characters follow fantasy type vocations such as an archer, mage, warrior, and so on. During the fight with the vile beast, players will see many of those vocation attributes in action, such as a healer that creates a circle, where you can stand and receive health. After the beast is defeated you are taken back to the main menu screen.
Capcom says there will be huge stray bosses like a Cyclops or a gigantic Hydra all throughout the open world.
In the demo, players also get to tinker with creating a main character and one helper Pawn as well. The creation system gives players the freedom to create almost any kind of fantasy character they can think of, but make sure it is someone you will want to use, as the other mission available lets players control their created character.
The second mission is called a “country mission” and is similar to a quest players may complete during the open world portion of the game. I chose a rogue that has a dagger and bowand arrow for weapons. The trigger buttons combined with face buttons allowed me to do special attacks specific to the vocation I chose. This is also the mission that grants players the chance to see what is special about Dragon´s Dogma. Aside from commanding your various pawns, (which are pretty smart in their own right) players can also jump on the backs of enemies to attack them. In the Country Mission, your team is asked to defeat a Gryphon. I was able to jump on the Gryphon a few times and attack his face directly. I think you have to admit it does provide a unique way to attack the beast. The Gryphon was visibly upset at detecting my presence and knocked me off him quite a lot as well. Since the Gryphon can also fly, players can grab a hold of his feet and fly into the air with it, so I was able to hack away at its legs to take away some health. Probably the coolest thing was holding onto the Gryphon while I shot at some Goblins that were attacking my comrades on the ground. After defeating the Gryphon the demo again takes players to the menu screen and that pretty much ends the demo.
Capcom says they do not really want to compete against games like Skyrim or Kingdoms of Amalur directly, instead they want to focus on creating a game everyone on both the east and west coasts of the world will enjoy. Their hope is that this demo and the full game itself will peak interest in the game and generate a following of its own. Even though at first glance it may seem Dragon´s Dogma does not try anything new, I would beg to differ. It certainly does try to create more of a team around the player, instead of making it a solo adventure. The fantastical grotesque monsters are a sight to behold and Capcom provides many ways for players to attack them.
We can only hope that there are plenty of things left to uncover in this open world adventure when it hits store shelves on May 22, 2012 for Xbox 360 and PS3.