Dragon’s Dogma Demo Impressions
Dragon’s Dogma is a Capcom title I have heard very little about, yet I’ve been very eager to see it in action. Despite Capcom’s recent media woes, I am still very confident in their ability to create a unique and well developed gaming experience. While scouring the XBL game marketplace, I came across the demo for Dragon’s Dogma and in less than 30 seconds it was already in my download queue. What I discovered intrigued the mess out of me.
Upon starting the game up I was greeted by Capcom with your run-of-the-mill RPG title screen; wrought with spewing flames and a dragon crest in the title. At this point I felt a bit worried that this would be just another RPG. The main menu gives you three choices, “prologue quest”, “character edit”, and “countryside quest”; not unfamiliar with the role-playing experience I decided to personalize this one, so character creation it is then.
Dragon’s Dogma Character/Pawn = Customization +
The character creation mode for Dragon’s Dogma is a lot of what you would expect from a fantasy role-playing game. You have the option of male and female, short or tall, skinny or large, etcetera… But what really sets this game apart from the others is that once you are done creating your character you are given the choice to proceed “to pawn customization”. Having no idea what exactly a pawn is, I select it and I’m immediately brought to another character creation screen, completely identical to the last. Although this character is to be one of my personal followers in this experience. I finish creating my characters; a female player character and a male NPC pawn. I am then brought back to the main menu where I move onto the “prologue quest”.
Dragon’s Dogma Prologue: The Means to an Epic Adventure
The prologue quest starts you off with a default character named “Arisen”, he and his accompanying pawn are being pursued by a dragon, or “wyrm” who makes his presence very clear when he comes crashing into plain sight before the protagonist. Continuing on the way you discover a strange stone which, when activated, calls down two other companions. My first instinct was that I will have to decide between the three of them, though much to my surprise the trio began to follow me into the next few rooms. After dispatching several goblins of various sizes and difficulties, we are then introduced to harpies. The climax of the harpy battle is the opening of a gate in which several soldiers are hunched over exhausted. Followed by a meeting with a very large and very fearsome Chimera; part lion, goat, and serpent. An epic battle ensued; the battle was long seeing that the boss’s health bar was filled with two dots signaling two more bars to follow. I found that the pawns are very helpful, keeping me well supported and healed in this instance. There are also command abilities triggered by the control pad, which make pawns very user friendly. Together my group and I finish off the Chimera piece by piece and the Prologue ends.
My Character, the Dogma Ranger
The “Countryside Quest” is what really sealed the deal for this game. It starts off in a grassy plain with a bright sunny skyline casting our shadows on the ground. My group takes notice of a band of goblins reaping the spoils of a nearby caravan on the road and we jump into action. My custom character is introduced in the form of a ranger-type class with dual daggers and a bow. I make quick work of the goblins, utilizing the basic controls with the addition of weapon specific attacks. While holding the LB or RB buttons and using the basic attack buttons you can either do (LB) bow and arrow attacks, such as triple shots, focus shots, and an area volley attack; or the (RB) dagger combos that truly lay waste to your enemies. Out of the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of a large shadow, and then suddenly I’m knocked back by the force of a griffin landing not inches from me.
The Griffin and Learning to Fly?
My pawns start to attack the large beast as I run up and melee like I’ve never meleed before! In the midst of the chaos I mistakenly pulled the right trigger and a whole new concept opened up to me: real-time climbing on an enemy. When I tried to explain this event to Cory he asked if it was like God of War, my response was that it was more closely related to Shadow of the Colossus; I made my way onto the back of the creature and hacked away, repeating the process, after being thrown off several times, while my pawns set the griffin ablaze and took it down. I received plenty of experience points following the struggle, but I did not level up, so I suppose I will have to wait to witness the structure for leveling.
The Dogmatic Conclusion…
I believe Capcom has created a fantasy-action RPG that will successfully set itself apart from the droves of others in the genre, the demo painted a vivid picture, previewing what’s to come, yet so much more lies beyond the frame. I can hardly wait to expand my entourage of pawns, fight more behemoth creatures, and further explore the world of Dragon’s Dogma!