Dragon's Dogma Preview
Capcom is trying something new with Dragon’s Dogma, and we’re not about to blame them for blending various genre elements; other developers have done this with great success. Their latest new IP isn’t really an RPG, and it isn’t really a strict action/adventure…yeah, it’s a little of both, and that alone is intriguing. While there’s a big open world to explore (ala The Elder Scrolls), you’ll still need to rely on your dexterity and timing for the combat sequences (ala any action game you’ve played recently). I mean, any game that lets you leap atop a giant griffin – while he’s flying – and stab him in the head repeatedly is worthy of attention; such action is the obvious influence of Devil May Cry creators Hiroyuki Koboyashi and Hideaki Itsuno. The rest really does have this fantasy role-playing atmosphere.
Four adventurers will head out on a noble quest (man, that sounds familiarly awesome) and much like the recently released Dragon Age II, there will be three character classes: Fighter, Mage and Strider. You can think of the latter as the agile rogue, capable of tearing up a battlefield with either dual blades or a hail of arrows. You will encounter foes as you progress through a large, engaging world and the battles will play out in real time. There should be a fair amount of strategy, especially where your party is concerned, and we like the idea of the various classes being both distinct and effective. And very much unlike Dragon Age, you’ll have to be on point with your attacks and special skills.
Some of the bosses you fight will feature glowing orange weak spots, which must be targeted if you wish to succeed. And occasionally, during combat, your allies will help you in a variety of ways: for instances, they may offer sage advice regarding the enemy in front of you, or maybe they’ll provide invaluable support. You’ll be able to recruit a great many allies (or “pawns,” as they’re called in the game), and you’ll be able to pick and choose your favorite. By now, you’ve probably seen footage of one pawn holding an enemy’s arms while you bash away at him; this is the kind of good stuff unique to this particular adventure. Also, although it hasn’t been confirmed just yet, it seems everyone is begging for four-player co-op. Hey, we’ve got 4 party members…why the hell not?
Dragon’s Dogma is an interesting title, if only because it really does try to do something new. I can’t say if it will appeal to the hardcore role-players, and I can’t say if it’ll cater to the die-hard action aficionados. It may not intrigue either, as the mix of elements might not be to their liking, but we have to applaud Capcom’s ambition with this one. We’ll have to learn more about the story, how we actually interact with the world itself (how much exploration will be permitted in that giant expanse of landscape?), and if we’ll actually have to execute regular action-esque combos during battle. But we’re sure those answers will come soon and in the meantime, we reserve the right to be enthusiastic about this fresh IP.
5/9/2011 Ben Dutka