‘Dragon’s Dogma’ stands the test of time


This cyclops I met in a cave got shot in the eye with a fire arrow. He didn’t like it too much. Photo credit: Ulises Duenas

Capcom celebrated the fifth anniversary of Dragon’s Dogma by remastering the game on Playstation 4 and Xbox One. While this remaster doesn’t add a whole a lot to the game, it’s still a great excuse to play through this cult classic again, or for the first time.

“Dragon’s Dogma” has a pretty generic fantasy setting with goblins, knights, dragons and characters along that line. What sets the game apart is the story, which is heavily inspired by the manga, Berserk.

The story starts with the player’s character being attacked by a dragon who steals the main character’s heart. The protagonist is revived and then told that his or her destiny is to slay the dragon that is wreaking havoc on the land. The story deals with themes of destiny, free will and defiance. As the story escalates, it gives the game an epic feeling that matches the setting very well.

Even though the story is interesting, the world as a whole doesn’t feel very fleshed out. Side-quests don’t give much context to the setting and characters. When I cleared a tunnel of ogres, it didn’t feel like I did anyone a favor except for the man that asked me to do it. When I used a crystal to revive a villager’s son, it seemed like no one but the father cared that I performed a miracle. If I kill all the giant lizards hanging out in a well, I would like to know why they were there to begin with.

The biggest draw of Dragon’s Dogma is its gameplay. This game has a unique blend of RPG mechanics and engaging combat that encourages experimentation. There are nine classes called vocations and as the game goes on, the player can retain certain bonuses learned from prior vocations as they switch to another one. Not only is switching classes a fun way to keep gameplay fresh, it’s a great way to make your character well-rounded.

Combat in the game is fast and using all the different skills available keeps it from feeling stale. The most fun I’ve had with the combat came from fighting large monsters like chimeras, ogres, hydras and others. These fights can last as long as 30 minutes, but it’s very satisfying when the final blow is struck.

The game is open-world, but has a very limited fast-travel system. This means that a large part of the game is trekking from place to place on foot. This can get annoying but the combat and random encounters keep it exciting. There were various times when I was on my way to a quest but got ambushed by a gang of goblins or a chimera. It’s those moments that made the game feel like a real adventure.

Another unique thing about “Dragon’s Dogma” is the pawn system. Early on in the game, you’ll create a sidekick for your main character called a pawn. Pawns can be customized and shared online and most of the game is played with three pawns at your side. A pawn’s personality and tendencies in combat can also be customized, but the process is slow and somewhat random.

There really isn’t another game out that offers what “Dragon’s Dogma” does. It’s a game that took years to cultivate a niche fan base and although it has its flaws, I still have a great time playing it five years later. For all the things the game does right, it’s the flaws, both small and large, that keep it from being a five star game.

[Final Score: 4/5]


RPG: Role playing game. Usually defined by being able to level up your characters or members of your party.

Manga: A Japanese comic book.

Chimeras, ogres, hydras: Big monsters often used in fantasy settings. See links for more details.

Fast-travel: A way of instantly teleporting from one part of the game’s map to another.

Ulises Duenas can be reached at [email protected] or @OrionUlisesD on Twitter.