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Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen (PC) Video Game Review
Like Many Before It..
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is one of those games that offers nearly nothing new but still manages to feel fresh and unique. Dragon's Dogma, the vanilla version of Capcom's action role playing game, was originally released in 2012 to a generally positive reception.
The game's combat was given high praise by pretty much everyone and the sheer size of the world offered was another positive most critics brought up. Dragon's Dogma proved to be a viable entry into the overcrowded Action RPG genre and Capcom, finally, had something to be happy about.
More importantly than how well it was received, Dragon's Dogma became the fastest selling new IP of the previous generation in Japan. Capcom say Yen signs everywhere and quickly started to work on a re-release of the game, entitled Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen.
This new version included everything released for the original game and a brand new area to explore. Capcom also used the opportunity to fix a crucial issue that most gamers/critics had: A lack of a fast travel system. This allowed players to not be boggled down by hours of travelling, were the same monsters/groups would respawn in the same location time and time again.
Dragon's Dogma was a welcome upgrade on an already decent game. For a very long time, it seemed like PC gamers would never get the opportunity to experience this beautiful game, but finally Capcom has decided that there is still money to be made from this IP.
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen PC Trailer
Learning from the masters: Dark Souls and Shadow of the Colossus
This is the definitive version of Dragon's Dogma. Enough work has been put into it so that it does not feel out of place compared to other 2016 releases. The game, simply, appears fantastic. It runs smoothly (if your PC can handle it) and the detailed character designs of the dragons and the vast catalogue of bosses came to life in front of your very eyes.
The combat and companion system are the only real reason to play Dragon's Dogma. The combat is very similar to Dark Souls, with the gamer being required to carefully memorize the movement of their enemy, learning the pattern before diving head first into the battle for survival. It is very satisfying to take down a Boss that had bested you time and time again for the last half hour: To finally deliver that finishing blow.
Dragon's Dogma is also influenced by the King of Boss Fights: Shadow of the Colossus, with the player giving freedom of how they attack the bigger than life targets, climbing their back and swinging at their heads is just as viable as slowly ticking at their ankles. One downside of Dragon's Dogma is the lack of a lock on system; which makes losing sight of the target incredibly easy and frustrating.
Although the combat is enjoyable, the pawn system is were Dragon's Dogma actually comes into its own a bit. The idea of having a companion accompanying you on your journey, to fight alongside you and offer wisdom during those cold harsh nights, is nothing new. BUT Capcom created one of the best party systems in the last few years. Dragon's Dogma gives you the opportunity to create your own pawn, one that compliments your character and levels up with you, and then they are uploaded to an online hub, so other players can also use your pawn.
In turn, you can summon up to two pawns, created by other players, to join your party. It is a fun system that allows a never ending stream of different companions to choice from. They do have a habit of saying the same obvious drivel over and over again, but Dark Arisen allows the gamer the opportunity to switch that off.
The story itself is serviceable and features quite a few cool moments. It isn't all that exciting to watch, but it is often relegated to the sidelines, so it is not too distracting. The side quests are fine, for the most part, although they do fall short of something like The Witcher 3. The world is huge and impressive, but since Capcom decided to go with a more realistic design, it can often be a bit dull to walk through.
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is a game that a lot of action RPG lovers have been waiting for. Ever since Dark Souls made the jump to PC, quite a few have been wondering whether Capcom will offer the same opportunity.
Well, here it is, in all its glory. But this is far from a perfect game. What it does well (combat, pawns, boss battles), it does almost flawlessly. But, like when it was originally released, one can help shake the feeling that this could have been even better. Hopefully, we get a sequel that improves on it in every single way.
Still, at the price it is being offered (£23.99), you honestly can not go wrong.