Dragon’s Dogma 2 review: More than just a pawn

dragon's dogma 2 talos

Dragon’s Dogma 2 could be defined as a classical role-playing game, but our review shows that it’s far more than that.

Sure, there are levels, loot, and experience points to gain here, but the moment-to-moment gameplay elevates the experience to another level. Many traditional RPGs focus on a crafted experience: go here, do that, and gain experience and gold. Dragon’s Dogma 2 provides that archetype, but many factors can branch these excursions into different and exciting directions.. 

Capcom’s newest RPG brings “emergent gameplay” to the forefront. The result is that no mission plays exactly the same twice, even when players reload to a prior save state.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 does a great job of keeping players on their toes; there is no save-scumming here due to the emergent gameplay, so each path taken feels unique and full of surprises. 

The Good:

  • An excellent open world filled with surprises.
  • Each class plays differently and offers a unique approach to the game.

The Bad:

  • New Game Plus lacks balance and is a missed opportunity..

Review Details:

Platforms available: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC

Reviewed on: Xbox Series X

Official release date: March 21, 2024

Dragon’s Dogma 2’s open world is a joy to explore

Dragon’s Dogma 2 keeps its story simple enough. The player controls The Arisen, who is meant to fight a dragon. The dragon chooses an Arisen by stealing their heart, making the quest personal for the players. There are plenty of characters to meet, take quests from, take on quests, and even romance in the game. The side quests are done well; players won’t feel fatigued even by typical fetch quests. That is partially because of good quest design and in part because players will become lost on their way and end up fighting bandits, goblins, and ogres. 

The story is there to push players forward, but the game’s real star is its open world. Our review of Dragon’s Dogma 2 found its world to be filled with hidden areas just waiting to be discovered, loot to be taken, and enemies to slay.

Firing a colossal ballista might open a new location for players to explore. Going off the beaten path is often rewarding, compelling players to leave the main quest and continue exploring the map. There is a wide variety of biomes, too, from thick forests to barren deserts.

There is interactivity with the environment, too. A leaking wall can be blasted open to bring forth a forceful torrent of water. Using the environment to advantage can quickly turn the tide of Dragon’s Dogma 2’s battles. Water is dangerous and can instantly kill anyone who wades too deep, including enemies. Tricking an Ogre to jump into a river is an easy way to gain free experience. Some classes also get special moves to navigate the environment more easily. The mage can levitate to reach far-off ledges. The thief can perform wall jumps and rolls to reach treasure chests. 

Traversing the world can be challenging. Clearing the hundredth goblin camp became tedious during our Dragon’s Dogma 2 review process, but most elite enemies test everything a player has. Enemies such as ogres, Chimeras, dragons, and griffins are challenging to take down, even at high levels. There’s a strategy involved in taking down these larger foes, and the payoff is usually worth the effort. The enemies hit hard, too; getting clubbed by an ogre and flying off a cliff is equal parts frustrating and hilarious. 

Dragon’s Dogma 2 has a deep combat system

Capcom hired Devil May Cry series creator Hideaki Itsuno to direct Dragon’s Dogma 2. Naturally, the combat greatly benefits from its direction. Overall combat is fast-paced, with plenty of unique moves to dish out damage, apply status effects, or reposition during battles. 

Take the archer class, for instance. The archer shoots many arrows: Cascade Shot releases multiple arrows simultaneously, like an arrow-based shotgun. Erupting Shot attaches an explosive, Spiral Arrow deals damage over time, and Deathly Arrow is a single-target power shot. These are just the basic moves an archer gets, as players can unlock many more. 

Similarly, other classes also  have unique skills. Thieves are agile and attack quickly, mages can use powerful magic, and fighters are tanky, dealing slow and powerful blows. Several more classes and vocations can be unlocked later in the game. The mystic spearhand, magick archer, sorcerer, trickster, warrior, and warfarer change how a character plays and add more moves to the arsenal.

In short, there are plenty of ways to play in Dragon’s Dogma 2. Combined with its dynamic environments and enemies, the game manages to keep things interesting.

Pawns are another significant aspect that differentiates Dragon’s Dogma 2 from other RPGs. Players can make a main pawn and hire two more from other players. Pawns and the main character can make a four-person team capable of taking down any beast in the game. Whether to have pawns with the same class or bring a more diverse team is up to the player. However, having at least one healer among the gang is beneficial. bottom line: Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a massive RPG that encourages exploration and rewards players for it in exciting ways. 

Score: 9/10

Author image

Written by Bilawal Bashir

Bilawal is a software engineer who loves video games, comic books, and anime. But he will never love pineapple on pizza. In over two decades of gaming, he has only broken two controllers. His work has also been featured by TheGamer and WhatIfGaming.

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