Dragon’s Dogma: First Impressions
So, over the past few days I have been spending some time playing Dragon’s Dogma on Xbox 360. I know I don’t usually cover console games in my reviews, but with my laptop practically useless and my girlfriend about to use every waking moment to play The Secret World on closed beta, it seems I might have to start reviewing console games on a more regular basis. Anyway, I wanted to do this first impressions review to give you guys an idea of what to expect from this title, because I got very carried away hearing about all the cool things in the game and had to discover all the issues after my purchase. Therefore, without further ado, I give you my first impressions of Dragon’s Dogma:
The first thing you see after the Introduction is a prompt to buy the DLC’s. This made me want to kill kittens. I hate Day 1 DLC it’s stuff that should be in the game on launch. If you had time to make it before you released the game, it should be in the game. Especially if it is something like extra hairstyles, which as it happens is indeed a DLC for Dragon’s Dogma. Already. The game has not even seen it’s second week yet! Cutting out bits of the game and claiming that it is extra stuff is a horrible practice that is just taking gamers for a ride after they have already paid full price for a AAA title. So yeah, that annoyed me.
Next came the rediculously out of place music at the menu screen. It sounded like I was playing a Sonic game or something, not an RPG with dragons and monsters. Things started to get a little better with the Character Creator. It is pretty detailed, you can edit all the usual suspects, alongside height and weight, which will actually effect how much you can carry and how agile you are in the game, which I found pretty neat. The creator helps you out by providing models of the different classes, showing the optimal height and weight for each in turn. However, you can be as skinny or fat as you like, and as tall and as short. Yes, you can be child sized if you really, really want to.
Now, I’m not going to go into specifics about the game content itself to steer clear of spoilers, but if you buy this game be prepared for a paper thin story. Really it is just an excuse for you to do quests and kill things, thats about it. Those of you wanting to really immerse yourself in a story or world should probably go back to other games. That being said, there is a large variety of quests available and the *sigh* DLC’s allow you to download yet more quests if you run out. The quest tracking could be better though. Quest details don’t seem to always update with new information, and sometimes their location on the map is inaccurate or non existant.
Why would I want to quest if the story isn’t immersive? Because the monsters in this world are amazing. Think Monster Hunter when you imagine the creatures in this game. The creature AI is also pretty good as far as I can tell. I jumped on the back of a troll and started hacking away at it, at which point it decided to throw itself backwards and roll on the ground to get me off of it. It also tends to target the opponent it fels is the biggest threat, so strategy and tactics are often needed in combat situations.
I’m also pretty happy with the way combat seems to work so far. It’s pretty fluid, combining Devil May Cry style, fancy maneuvers with Shadow of the Colossus which allowed you to climb on the larger enemies or hold the smaller ones in place while you and your allies wail on them. Obviously I will do a proper review which will go into detail about this kind of stuff at a later date.
Two final things from my experience so far that I want to mention because they are pretty big things. Thing the first; Pawns. These are basically your companions, you can have up to three of these and one of them is your ‘main pawn’ which you design yourself using the Character Generator that you made your character with. The other two come from either the game’s defaults which roam around the world or from other players, using the games’ only online feature to borrow their creations to help you on your quests. I love this idea, I enjoyed creating my own, as I’m sure you guessed and I really like how well their AI works. Aside from their constant yelling anyway.
The second thing to mention is Fast Travel, or lack thereof. The game world is huge, but to get anywhere in the world you have to run, or jog when your stamina is depleted. There are no mounts and no way of swiftly moving about. This gets old really quickly especially since mobs respawn with each day cycle. Going from one place to th next and back gets frustrating when you fight the same things constantly and all they do is use up the precious half hour that is your in game day time.
So there you have it. A mixed bag of my first impressions, which will be expanded upon at somepoint in the near future by a full blown review of the game when I get a bit further along. Enjoy!