Capcom has answered my prayers and finally released Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen on the PS4. This title first came out on the PS3 and Xbox 360 a little over 5 years ago in May of 2012 as simply “Dragon’s Dogma”. The game was so beloved that Capcom. in typical Capcom fashion, had to release an enhanced version the game in the form of “Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen” with more content. The game also got a PC release a few years back and now it is on the PS4.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platform Available: PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Price: USD $29.99
This review is based on a review code provided by Capcom.
The game introduced us to a Japanese-Western Action RPG with strong emphasis on action with epic encounters and gigantic creatures to fight. Combat was always satisfying and felt realistic. Sword and Shield users were always heavy, rogue-like characters were always fast. Even how the game treated magic was impressive. There were a lot of things the game did right in terms of gameplay that playing it again, after completing the game multiple times, still feels fresh and new.
Combat was mostly defined by your vocation and your pawns
The Vocation is basically the games class system. You start off with the basic archetypes: Fighter, Strider, and Mage. They then branched out into advance or hybrid vocations. Advance vocation are stronger versions of the Fighter. Strider, and Mage, turning into Warrior, Ranger and Sorcerer respectively. Hybrid Vocations are arguably the more entertaining choice as they mix the classes together. You have the Mystic Knight, Assassin, and the Magick Archer. These hybrid classes might not be as strong offensively as the advance classes but they make up for it for having the more interesting skill set. That said, each vocation is distinct from one another and no matter what your choice is, the game will always be fun. Luckily you wont be locked into your choice as you can switch vocations as often as you like in the game.
Pawns are the games, well, pawns. They are your NPC party members who accompany you in your adventure. Each Arisen, has one main pawn. You have control on how your main pawn looks and plays. They have access to all vocations except for the hybrids and they basically serve as your second character. You then can hire 2 more pawns to serve as companions. You can either hire pawns you meet on your adventure or hire the main pawn of your friends. This is the game’s version of multiplayer.
A lot of people since 2012 have been saying that the game is influenced by Dark Souls as it is a Japanese Western RPG. I have to strongly disagree. The game is very much inspired by monster hunter. Not only is Monster Hunter a Japanese Western RPG from the same company, The game’s animation and the way the environment looks is very reminiscent of Monster Hunter. Since MH is a coop heavy game, I would have strongly preferred the game to have some form of Coop. What we got was the Pawn system. It is not direct coop but some fun stories can still be shared. I remember talking to a friend about his pawn. I hired his pawn often as it was a very powerful pawn. I eventually fought an enemy that had the ability to enthrall pawns. I still remember how time slowed down as I noticed the pawn run towards me with murder in her eyes.
With everything going right in terms of gameplay, the game itself falls a bit when it comes to narrative and questing. Quests were long and could sometimes fail for something you did not know you did not do. I remember one quest where I was escorting a merchant and while we were traveling the land, a griffin came in out of nowhere and snatched him up. This was not part of the quest, it was not scripted, it was just a random encounter I was not prepared for and it cost me the quest line. That aside, the game still had a few interesting narrative ideas the overall story was not bad.
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen has nothing new to offer for those of us who have played the game before. The combat is still fun and all but if we are looking for new content, you won’t find it here. While not much has changed between the Dark Arisen that was released on the PS3 and the Dark Arisen on the PS4, the jump in technology is clearly visible. Frame-rate is more stable and the character models and textures, while dated, have improved. For those of you who only played the initial version, this might be a good time to see what Dark Arisen is all about.