Posts Tagged ‘Dragon’s Dogma’

More about the video game Dragon’s Dogma (Capcom, 2012).

As with most games any more, you have great freedom to choose what your character will look like. Characters can be male or female without penalty, and can appear of any race and age. So you could make your character look like a Tolkeinian dwarf or a small child or a grizzled old woman. You also get to design your main pawn to your liking. None of this affects gameplay.

Another feature that’s become common in fantasy games is that you can hire other pawns up to a total of four (including Arisen and main pawn). If you are online, you can use other people’s main pawns. I’ve found it very interesting how some people dress their pawns. (A fighter in a g-string. Really?) You can give equipment to your pawns and have them carry things for you. On the down side, they continually make inane comments like “Tis a grand fortress,” and there’s no way to turn off the repetitive chatter.

Although you can tailor your character’s appearance, there are only three character classes: Mage, Strider or Fighter. These can move up, if you wish, to Warrior, Sorcerer and Ranger. Each class has only a limited set of attack skills to choose from, and they don’t stack up. If you change classes, you select new attack skills from a new list.

There are no secondary skills. I missed being able to choose from a wide array of skills, the way you can in games like Oblivion. None of that “warrior with a bit of magic” in this game.

Allegedly, Dragon’s Dogma is an open world where you can wander anywhere, gather materials to craft items, and explore caves or ruins. I found the landscape pretty small compared to games like Skyrim. Most locations are related to various quests, so you can’t just wander around exploring ruins and such.

The story aspect is also fairly limited. You have one main quest and a number of side quests which you pick up at message boards in the inns and taverns. Characterization of the NPCs is cursory. More frustrating for me, there are no dialog options for my character to say all the snarky or heroic things I wanted to say. Perils of a novelist playing video games, I suppose.

That said, the main plot does have a payoff in a climactic scene where Grigori (the dragon) poses a really interesting, lady-or-tiger challenge for the Arisen. You make your choice and pick up the pieces. My decision led me to another big confrontation where my choice affected the direction of the game. Indeed, the first time I clicked the wrong button and ended up transforming my character into a dragon, which flew off to afflict the land. Not the ending I intended! I like this approach, since in so many fantasy games you just cut people down, take their stuff, and go on without a thought.

All the above may sound like I’m down on this game, but I’m not. Though it isn’t as good as Oblivion or Skyrim, I found myself planning my next character as I approached the end of the game. So it will have replay to keep me busy for a while, and I’ll pick up some of those quests I passed on the first time. I know there’s an expansion, called Dark Arisen, and I’ll probably pick that up at some point.

Dragon’s Dogma hasn’t been a bad way to spend my summer, all in all.

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This is a video game that has been out for a few years, but it’s new to me. (I always buy games a few years later; it saves money, plus if I get stuck, I can find hints online.) Dragon’s Dogma a fantasy adventure released by Capcom in 2012. The original game is in Japanese, and you can see this in small ways, such as characters who bow or make “namaste” hands when greeting each other. The theme song also contains cultural references such as the wind pushing someone toward their destiny, which are typical for anime song lyrics.

The setup in this game is that a simple fisherman or woman is working in their village when suddenly a dragon swoops down to wreak havoc. After a cut scene, in which the fisher person has his or her heart cut out and swallowed by the dragon, that person awakens and proceeds on their journey as “Arisen,” a warrior with magical powers. They soon discover a race of humanlike-but-not-quite-human Pawns, fearless and loyal, who can be enlisted in a quest to regain the Arisen’s heart.

The dragon character is called Grigori, and he’s everything you could want in a dragon. Huge, red, winged, fiery breath. At the same time, he’s a bit… not boring, but just what you’d expect. The only surprise is that Grigori is quite talkative. When you fight him, he supplies a constant monologue about how puny you are, how superior he is, and his philosophy that humans should accept their inevitable demise. This chatter, again, is typical for battles in anime, where foes often spend as much time debating philosophy as they do crossing swords. I guess this could be the “dogma” referred to in the game’s title.

Come back Tuesday, and I’ll tell you more about actual gameplay.

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