Demo Arigato – Dragon’s Dogma

Capcom are releasing Dragon’s Dogma in a couple of weeks and to promote this fact the demo went live last week also.

I’ve finally had some time to play it and as a result, here’s what I think about it.

I’ve not heard too much about this game, I’ve got to be honest. I figured it’d be set in medieval time and involve killing demons and dragons. I was right. You run around in a group of 4 hacking and slashing at monsters. There a few neat ideas present though.

The demo has a couple of different options open to you. This first thing I did was to jump into the character creation centre. This was pretty much as you’d expect it to be. Scars, skin tones, height, age, pick their voice, etc.

What is somewhat interesting though is that you get to create a companion character called a pawn. As you’d imagine with a name like pawn, they follow you around and essentially follow your orders. As mentioned earlier, you are in a group of 4, so 2 randomly assigned pawns join your team.

These 2 extra pawns aren’t exactly ‘random’ though. They’re someone else’s. You see, pawns are able to jump between different people’s games and pick up experience and abilities whilst you’re not playing. So, for example, you’re done playing for the day and you go to bed. Whilst you’ve been away your pawn was summoned in someone else’s game, has levelled up a couple of times and has learnt the weak spot of several different enemies. This means that within the games you play you could end up with someone’s high level pawn and kick some dragon’s teeth in or you could end up with a completely new pawn that doesn’t know a thing. And get eaten.

You shouldn’t have too much trouble with getting eaten though as I found the pawns to be pretty smart and capable of handling themselves. I’ll be interested to see how this feature pans out in the full game as the effects of having someone else’s character appear in your game weren’t entirely apparent in the demo.

The rest of the demo was broken down into 2 really rather short sections. The first being a castle with tight corridors and moody lighting. You catch a brief glimpse of a huge dragon but end up fighting a chimera instead. Pawns work really well and simple contorls make fighting not very taxing but still pretty fun. The second area was a much larger field with a group of goblins to kill. Once the goblins were done a giant eagle thing dropped out of the sky and had to be dispatched.

One thing that excites me about the combat was the ability to grab onto the larger enemies. The eagle within the demo didn’t take to me grabbing on its leg and tried to fly about. This was bought to a stop once I climbed onto its wing and stabbed it repeatedly, sending it (and me) crashing into the ground). Think along the lines of Shadows of the Colossus’ giant killing mechanic and Monster Hunter’s roaming landscapes filled with baddies.

It strikes me as odd to not make this online. To be able to run around with a group of your friends and crawl all over a giant dragon together would have been sweet.

We’ll see.

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