Published on April 30th, 2019 | by Zorbz
REVIEW – Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
Summary: Another port for the switch that you might not know you wanted, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is a lengthy action RPG that will keep you entertained for hours on end (Provided of course that you like backtracking).
Concept: You are the Arisen, a warrior who has his heart ripped from his body by a crazy large talking dragon and actually somehow survives…without a heart. You are basically touted as the warrior who will save humanity against the dragons along with the aid of some ethereal warriors known simply as pawns. It’s quite a vague premise, but like most fantasy RPG’s you’ll be doing a wide variety of quests, from taking out mythical creatures to aiding people in fetch quests and escorting people to safety. A lot of the missions are quite repetitive in terms of side quests, but despite this I was still enjoying my time due to the awesome albeit time consuming combat.
Graphics: Having only briefly played Dragons Dogma on the Xbox 360 for its original release, I can’t directly compare the visuals on a minute detail level; however the characters, world and textures all seem to remain intact. It does look similar to something in the vain of Skyrim with the medieval fantasy aesthetic but played from a third person perspective with a very moody washed out colour palette. The open world is very drab as it is quite empty aside from a lot of trees, stones and random boxes scattered throughout with the occasional building/castle which are pretty unspectacular too. Dragons Dogma on Switch does run at a smooth fast paced 30fps, which for a port on the switch is really impressive considering the scope of the world. There is quite a bit of pop in however, especially grass and shrubs as you’re traversing which doesn’t really take away from the experience, however occasionally enemies will spawn out of nowhere which can be a real pain, especially if they’re enemies you’re not strong enough to deal with and get caught up in an unwanted fight. While the characters and NPC’s are quite ugly and unappealing, the monsters and creatures on the other hand have some really great and unique designs and are the real show stealers of the game in the visual department.
Gameplay: Fluid action based combat is the show stealer for Dragons Dogma, whether you’re playing as a warrior with shield and sword in hand or the much quicker assassin or the staff wielding mage, all of it feels fluid and a hell of a lot of fun. Like ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ you’re able to clamber and climb up some of the larger beasts and bosses to get the advantage over them targeting specific areas of their body. This particular works well when a warrior has climbed a beast back and is slashing away whilst a mage shoots spells and an assassin is hurling arrows. Working together with a party that is spread across several traits puts you at a real advantage in battle, although be prepared for some really long battles and having to aid your pawn companions frequently. The difficulty is not for the faint at heart and whilst not on the same level as the ‘Dark Souls’ series, it still provides some good timing and patience to take down certain enemies. Levelling up and honing your skills for particular skillset is also really fun and the way it is setup you’re able to change classes as often as you like. This really helps break up the monotony considering most of the game outside of battles is just constantly running between particular spots in the open world until you finally unlock stones to be able to set up your own quick travel sites. Be prepared to have a lot of spare time when playing through this game, just as a nice PSA.
Sound: The music is fantastic, with subtle tones in the over-wold to some eerie music when you’re in saves and such to some epic battle music when a fight ensues. It really blends well with whatever you happen to be doing throughout the game. The voice acting can be pretty average but I’m still glad it’s there so you’re not forced to read constantly, especially in handheld mode as the text is super small and a struggle to read.
Awesomeness: The one standout thing for me in DD:DA (what a weird abbreviation) would have to be the ability I mentioned earlier to switch class types frequently and really find the one that works for you. Being able to lose a battle against a strong enemy and think ‘maybe this isn’t the best class for me’ is so rewarding because you don’t feel stuck in the choice you made at the start of the game. It’s also great being able to choose what class your pawn assistants are that accompany you and change them up regularly. My only frustration with the pawns however is the fact that they don’t level up, so you constantly have to change them up as you yourself level up. There’s a great deal of items and weapons to find/unlock/upgrade as well as a range of character augments and skills to unlock. There’s always so much to do and is a real treat for fans of grinding.
Final Word: All in all this is a quite dated game, but if you never got around to playing it last gen then I really recommend giving Dragons Dogma: Dark Arisen a shot, especially if you enjoy deep action RPG’s that you can play for hours and hours on end. Definitely a welcome port for the Nintendo Switch
Out of 5 Bugs!