Title: Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
Genre: Action, Role-Playing
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: Mature 17+ Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes, Violence
Release Date: Out Now – 23/04/19
Price: £24.99 – Rapid Reviews UK were very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
What the Developers say
Set forth, Arisen. Your journey begins now.
The critically acclaimed action-RPG Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen combines exhilarating and deep combat with the freedom to explore a huge open world. Enter the high-fantasy setting of Gransys, a land where dragons, chimeras, and other fabled monsters roam. Choose between three different starter vocations, which you can further develop for a total of nine unique vocations. Use a dynamic combat system to wield devastating skills and magicks to tackle deadly foes. Embark on your epic adventure with three AI companions, known as Pawns. These partners fight independently, demonstrating prowess and ability that they have developed based on traits learned from your playing style. Share these Pawns online and reap rewards of treasure, tips, and strategy hints for taking down the terrifying enemies. Pawns can also be borrowed when specific skills are needed to complete various challenging quests.
I’m going to start this review off in a manner befitting of Capcom’s latest behemoth offering on the Nintendo Switch, go and buy Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen NOW.
If for some reason you are still here, then let me take five minutes of your time to divulge exactly why this expansive, detailed and beautifully crafted open world role-playing game is worthy of your attention.
Since it’s development and release in 2012 on the PS3 and Xbox 360, Dogma has seen enhancements and re-releases on all major home consoles. The most recent variation, entitled Dragons Dogma: Dark Arisen, released again on PS3 and 360, as well as on PS4, Xbox One and PC. This seems as pertinent a note as any, and provides the clearest indication that there is something truly special on offer here.
Gameplay and Replayability
Billed as an action RPG, Dragon’s Dogma is so much more than that. With an open world that is as vast as it is homely, a combat system which is as complex as it is simple, and a storyline as expansive as it seems all too short, DDDA has created a balance that I am still struggling to comprehend.
Starting with opening scenes and fighting sequences I do not wish to spoil for the reader, all I can say is that it starts well. Very well. So well, in fact, that before the ‘prologue’ ends, I was sold. I know, for many a gamer out there, that they will be too. It introduces the gamer to all the best parts of DDDA right from the off, of which there are many.
Combat is one such element of DDDA that Capcom have mastered. It rewards strategy, but not the kind that has you waiting around for the right moment. It chucks you straight into the action and asks you to determine quickly, in real-time, when it’s best to hold off and when to all out attack. The weapons are varied and well-developed, offering pros and cons for their use. You can also upgrade them over time and can feel the effects immediately. I opted for a bow and arrow that was complimented by daggers, and was able to enjoy the perks of both in battle.
Another excellent feature of DDDA is the customisation options, which are seemingly endless. There are so many different options for your character, from clothing to weapons and equipment. Finding the right combination takes time and experimentation, but as I stated earlier, it is a complex concoction which is simple to use.
It is during this customisation segment that I wish to make reference to a fantastic mechanic that exemplifies all that has gone into this game. The pawns, your accomplices in battle, can be spoken to at inns throughout the land. During these conversations, your pawn asks if you are happy with their current approach to situations you encounter. Your response then alters the way they behave. This was a natural and interesting way to introduce this concept, and one I place great value on.
Opportunity is the final gameplay element I wish to discuss, and it is because DDDA offers so much. You can barely walk for more than 5 seconds without encountering an NPC, and it is entirely up to you whether you wish to engage or not. Doing so will provide you with voiceovers and engaging discussion, or offer side missions and quests to complete. There is a wealth of missions for you to choose from, and you will never be left without something to do in this incredible land.
Audio and Visual
Now, whilst I speak highly of all that has been achieved here, there is no hiding from the fact that DDDA is essentially a seven-year-old game. Every effort has been made to optimise this for the generations of console that followed, but it is not without its hiccups: the most noticeable of which is the texture pop-in. There is many an occasion where assets appear on-screen after the rest of the scenery is populated.
Personally, this did not distract from what an outstanding achievement this game is. I may be going out on a whim here, but I am certain I won’t be alone in saying that I did not purchase my Nintendo Switch for graphical brilliance. I wanted gaming experiences that would stick with me long after the credits rolled, and I am certain that Dragon’s Dogma will do just that.
DDDA could be, quite possibly, the greatest handheld gaming experience I have had the opportunity to play. It is a sprawling and detailed world, full of history, energy and intrigue. With an outstanding number of hours of gameplay here, it is a serious package. All this, and that is before I mention it’s incredibly modest price of £24.99.
I have to disclose at this point that, selfishly, I am yet to finish the game. It is an experience I have enjoyed wholeheartedly, and I do not wish for it to end. Therefore, in the coming weeks, Rapid Reviews will be covering more of my time with the title so that our readers can realise its full potential. Until then, I implore you to enjoy the journey with me and make that purchase.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase Dragons Dogma: Dark Arisen on the Nintendo eShop at the following link: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Dragon-s-Dogma-Dark-Arisen-1530267.html