Dragon’s Dogma Preview
Xbox 360 | PS3
Dragon’s Dogma Box Art
System: PS3, Xbox 360
Dev: Capcom
Pub: Capcom
Release: May 22, 2012
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes, Violence
A Decidedly Western RPG From Japan
by Angelo M. D'Argenio

What do you get when you combine the open world RPG elements of Monster Hunter with the soul-crushing difficulty of Demon's Souls? You get Dragon's Dogma, the newest action RPG coming out of Capcom.

While you can certainly see JRPG elements present—massive boss battles and extremely cinematic events, for example—Dragon's Dogma is a decidedly Western-style game regardless of the fact that it is coming out of a Japanese studio. The game features a wide open sandboxy RPG world with lots of quests to partake in alongside your near-endless level grind. Your character is a blank slate rather than a canned spikey-haired youth, and your time in this fantasy world is best spent in whatever fashion you deem appropriate. Feel like saving the world from dragons? You can do that. However, you can just as easily spend all your time slumming around taverns searching for leads on that perfect suit of golden armor.

We first got a chance to play Dragon's Dogma last year when we were introduced to the game's stamina-based battle mechanics. You see, the monsters you will be fighting in Dragon's Dogma are huge. You'll face Gryphons, Manticores, Dragons, Hydras, and more. They all tower over your measly mortal body, and swinging your sword only puts a small nick in their massive life-bars. Instead, you will have to use the right skills at the right time in order to disable your opponents. This makes every battle in Dragon's Dogma feel a bit like a puzzle, which is a fairly new thing for Western-style RPGs.

Dragon's Dogma Screenshot

Several new gameplay elements have been revealed since then. For example, you will not only be able to create your main character, but you will also be able to create a "pawn," which will follow that character around and aid them in battle. However, the rest of your party will not be made by you but will instead be made by other Dragon's Dogma players. By entering a Rift, you will be able to add two more party members to your entourage. The party members you can choose from are all pawns from other people's Dragon's Dogma games. The game automatically assigns a cost for hiring the pawn based on how much they have leveled. Not only that, but pawns gain experience, levels, and loot while participating in other people's adventures, and they bring all of that back to your game the next time you start it up.

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The three main classes in the game are the warrior, mage, and strider. Warriors have a variety of close-range offensive skills as well as a series of defensive skills that focus on bracing yourself for the opponents' attacks. Using a warrior's attacks will allow you to position yourself around the enemy and strike at its weak points to deal the most damage possible. Mages are masters of both offensive and defensive magic. You'll use them frequently to keep your party in good health while making sure your sword strikes do the most damage possible. The final class, the strider, is sort of a combination between an archer and a rogue. Though they have few hit points, they move extremely fast and can attack your enemy from many angles and distances.

Dragon's Dogma Screenshot

The A.I. in Dragon's Dogma has been shown to be rather competent. You can give your party members orders to alter their behavior, but even when left to their own devices they get the job done. During fights with smaller and weaker enemies, your party members will either fan out and destroy them one by one or keep your opponents at a distance to allow you to score the finishing blow. During epic boss battles, your party members will play a game of attrition, with mages constantly healing you and striders continually staying out of the line of fire while pelting your foes with arrows.

In fact, your A.I. companions do well in battle even without you. You will find many battles where the optimal strategy will be to leave your companions to keep your foe busy while you set up the final blow. Sometimes this comes in the form of activating a gigantic siege weapon that kills the opponent in one strike. Other times it's merely using your striders as a distraction while you climb up on your opponent's back. Either way, the competency of your A.I. companions allows you to experiment during battle, ending them in epic ways that you probably wouldn't see in a more straightforward Western RPG.

Dragon's Dogma Screenshot

In fact, all of Dragon's Dogma seems to be pushing the "epic" feeling of a fantasy quest. You will frequently be put in unique situations that have to be handled in ways other than spamming the attack button. For example, sometimes you'll have to protect caravans from ambushes. Your A.I. companions will sound the alarm if they notice something before you. Sometimes you'll be tasked with exploring a graveyard, but if you go at night, zombies will arise and attack you. The world around you changes in a dynamic way, and your quests change along with them. It certainly breaks the tradition of Western-style RPGs where you simply click the "win" button over and over again.

In fact, all of Dragon's Dogma seems to be pushing the "epic" feeling of a fantasy quest. You will frequently be put in unique situations that have to be handled in ways other than spamming the attack button. For example, sometimes you'll have to protect caravans from ambushes. Your A.I. companions will sound the alarm if they notice something before you. Sometimes you'll be tasked with exploring a graveyard, but if you go at night, zombies will arise and attack you. The world around you changes in a dynamic way, and your quests change along with them. It certainly breaks the tradition of Western-style RPGs where you simply click the "win" button over and over again.

By
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Contributing Writer
Date: March 27, 2012


Game Features:

  • Highly Stylized Action Combat - The creators of this game were responsible for the action hits Resident Evil 4 and Devil May Cry 4.
  • Fight With Ability - The soul of combat comes down to how the game is played, where you strike the enemy, and how you react to their attacks.
  • Accessible Depth - Bringing an unprecedented level of depth to the action genre, every decision has an effect on gameplay in an intuitive way that does not require micromanagement. The weight of your weapon, the material of your armor, even the length of your legs will play a role in how you fight your battles without interrupting the flow of the action.
  • Epic Adventure - Dragon's Dogma is built from the ground up as an action experience for consoles with a continuous, epic storyline that stands alone in style, scope, and substance.
  • Open World - Utilizing Capcom's proprietary MT Framework engine and the groundbreaking graphical styles and lighting effects used in Resident Evil 5 and Lost Planet 2, Dragon's Dogma expands the environment to create a vast, richly detailed world, ripe for exploration.
  • A Rich Population - In addition to interacting with hundreds of fully-voiced NPCs, you'll be able to fight a large variety of creatures, from goblins to griffins and dragons. Each enemy requires a different strategy and provides a unique experience.


  • Videos / Game Trailers
    Dragon's Dogma - Griffin Battle Trailer - click to enlarge
    Griffin Battle Trailer

    Screenshots / Images
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