Dragon's Dogma

PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

March 27, 2012

It might be too much to expect Dragon's Dogma to be Japan's answer to The Elder Scrolls series, but I wouldn't be surprised if this RPG's world is at least half the size of Skyrim, which wouldn't be a bad thing. This JRPG already has a lot going for it, most notably by being one of the most detailed open world RPGs I've ever seen. Capcom's Monster Hunter didn't grab American audiences as much as Japanese gamers, but Dragon’s Dogma looks to be a more promising effort. The impressive art direction and monster designs will resonate with Western RPG gamers, as well as its familiar well-paced gameplay.

Indeed, not only do the battles look like they flow well, but they appear to be very involving beyond just straightforward attacking and spell casting. Capcom showcased a sequence against a fittingly large, laser-firing Golem in a demo that illustrated how to utilize the most of your environment; like finding and using a conveniently-placed mounted arrow gun. Not all the enemies will be as large as the Golem, but for those who are, you can look forward to some engaging Shadow of the Colossus-like mounting which obviously adds another welcome dimension to the combat.

This demo also included an introduction of the character creation mode, which appears to keep up with the kind of depth we’ve seen in RPGs of late. I give extra credit to games like Dragon’s Dogma that even allow you to pick your character’s stance and posture. Then there’s your main character’s motivation itself, who is seeking the dragon who stole his heart. No, this isn’t a romantic tale (I think); a dragon literally ripped the heart out of the hero. Yet by some miracle, this heartless warrior lives on as an “enlightened one” and whose destiny is now tied to that dragon.