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PAX East 2012: Dragon’s Dogma Hands-On Impressions

by on 04/06/2012
 

Dragon’s Dogma, a game going mostly under the radar with a release date fastly approaching that also grants players exclusive access to a Resident Evil 6 demo. I was instantly drawn to this title because I am a huge fan of medieval/fantasy action combat games. I had the chance to play this on the show floor today and enjoyed what I experienced thus far.

Imagine it like Dark Souls except there is more customization, more fantastic creatures, and you don’t die every four feet. The full game features not only customization for your character but also a sidekick character called a “pawn” that allows you create an NPC that can complement your play style. Even cooler is the fact that you can share this pawn with your friends or use a friends pawn and earn experience/money from doing so.

Obviously as it is a show floor demo I didn’t get to see the customization in action, but rather they throw you into a game. The game placed me and my three party members in an open landscape with a castle in the distance, I was intrigued by the castle so started making my way towards it. It didn’t take long before I came across a crew of bandits on the road, I was hesitant to draw my weapon at first and then the bandits made that decision for me as a battle commenced.

Players were fighting everywhere and the AI was intelligent enough not to gang up on the main character or have my team AI watch me fight as they barely fight, it was surprising how happy I was to see that.


As I kept fighting with my warrior-like character swinging my sword with X and doing power swings with Y I started to utilize the magic capabilities for my character. I held down a trigger to put my shield up and was granted some spell options, I hit X on one of the options and I start casting a fire spell that ends up turning my shield orange and glowy.

I don’t really understand what I did at first and just think it gave me a defense boost towards fire damage or whatever. As the battle waged on I put up my shield to block a charging opponent and as they swing my shield creates a fiery burst that throws them backwards and kills them. I let out a “wow” and continued forth.

I found myself wandering the vast landscapes and enjoying the world around me. At times I had Lord of the Rings moments where I had myself and my diverse party traveling together and taking on foes, it was a great feeling and I could really see myself sinking hours into the game.


My playthrough ended though with a fight with a griffon (or at least I think that’s what it was). The boss-type enemy had my party and I surrounding it while trading blows until I finally put it down with a swift swing of my blade. I have seen gameplay videos though and realize that this griffon is nothing compared to some of the foes you have waiting for you in the full game. The gameplay video of the drake that I embedded below are some of the bigger bosses you will find yourself fighting and I hope when that day comes I am much more prepared.

The gameplay wasn’t super hard and with time to get your feet under you it becomes a lot easier. That being said it was still very challenging so if you were a fan of Dark Souls you can still get gain that experience.

Overall this is a game that shouldn’t fall off your radar, it offers an experience that is very rare in this online shooter era that we are in. All it takes are a few good studios to realize that they can improve on the action-RPG to usher in a new era of gaming. Could this be the first step?

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