Dragon’s Dogma is heavily inspired by Oblivion Dragon’s Dogma is more than just Capcom’s attempt to create a fantasy RPG in the wake of other games like Oblivion, but creative director Hideaki Itsuno does cite Bethesda’s game as a huge influence.
Largely an open world experience, the world of Dragon’s Dogma is absolutely massive, with a campaign that stretches well beyond the 30-hour mark, with at least 70 hours of side quests to complete beyond that.
As you venture through the world, you can harvest plant life, explore forests for crafting ingredients, venture into mysterious caverns in search of rare loot drops and more. When you look at it this way, yes, Dragon’s Dogma appear to be copying Oblivion to the letter.
While this is good news for fans of the Elder Scrolls series, it’s important to point out that Dragon’s Dogma is very much its own game. For starters, the action is incredibly enjoyable, drawing on Hideaki Itsuno’s experience as director of Devil May Cry 2,3 and 4.
You can see the influences in the special moves, such as air juggle sword swipes and dashing swords tabs that have been ripped almost wholesale from Dante’s own arsenal.
We’ll return to combat in a moment, but it’s also inspiring to see Capcom delivering a massive world that feels populated, rather than sparse. In the same vein as Oblivion, Dragon’s Dogma is full of people going about their daily lives, with errands and quests that need doing.
There is a real sense of a functioning world here – where everyone has a story to tell and that you, the hero, are helping to steer the world in new directions through your actions. In short, prepare to get utterly lost under the sheer weight of content on offer here.
Dragon’s Dogma has a class system that makes a real difference Anyone who has trudged through the crushing brutality of Dark Souls will know that choosing a character class is – at times – a life or death situation that will make your playthrough and approach to enemies drastically different.
The same goes for Dragon’s Dogma. There are nine classes – or ‘Vocations’ as they’re called here – on offer, and each of these really shakes up how your character and main Pawn reacts in battle.
Fighters are great at dishing out crippling melee damage, a well as using Dante’s move-set from Devil May Cry, mages are your typical magic casters, and Striders are nimble, as well as capable of climbing. Capcom has yet to reveal what the other Vocations are.
Take an early battle with a Hydra for example. As the Hydra has hard scales on its back, hitting it with the Fighter’s sword strikes will do very little damage, but Mages and Rangers can hit the weak spots on its many heads with little difficulty.
Striders are better at climbing, so they can shimmy up one of the Hydra’s necks and lop a head off no problem, while the Fighter’s poor grip means it can only climb a short way up before being thrown off.
We tried this battle as a Fighter and found it very difficult, but after a while a cut scene triggered that saw an NPC throw an explosive barrel into the mouth of one of the Hydra’s heads.
As the Hydra swallowed the barrel, our Fighter could climb up its underbelly a little bit and stab the barrel, blowing one of its heads clean off. As this cutscene would not have happened if we were any other class, you can start to see how varied the game becomes when playing as a different Vocation.
This makes for massive replay value, but best of all you can switch between any of the nine Vocations whenever you wish, giving you the chance to approach each battle with a suitable move set. You can also change your main Pawn’s Vocation whenever you want for double the options.