Despite the fact that we got some early reviews already, it seems like Dragon's Dogma review embargo has only been lifted today, bringing us another small handful of arguably positive critiques for Capcom's open-world action-RPG.
Ambitious, grand, at once derivative and pioneering, Dragon's Dogma may not be a classic but it's an important title nonetheless - the first example of a blockbuster Japanese RPG attempting to marry its own heritage with contemporary Western expressions. Expectedly, coming as it does from an action game developer, its jewels are to be found in the dynamic combat, stat-tweaking party-building and defining boss battles. In this way, the game echoes the adventurous, dragon-hunting spirit of its (second- and third-hand) literary influences: that sense of unpredictable peril that could be lurking in every cave and thicket.
It’s a strange game, Dragon’s Dogma; it does some really brave and interesting things, but it also feels unfinished, with technical problems that often spoil things. The combat, though, is one of the best real-time RPG fighting systems around, with flexibility and variety that carries the whole game. It deserves to be complemented by an absorbing fantasy world and an array of well-written quests and characters, but instead the quests get repetitive and the fiction is soporific. Dragon’s Dogma has the scale and challenge of a great action RPG, but not the character or polish. Nonetheless, if you can persist, there’s a lot to love here, and some great ideas that make you want to give it a chance.
But those are minor gripes in the grand RPG scheme of things, and Dragon's Dogma has everything that RPG-heads crave – you can lose yourself in tinkering around, collecting items, finding arcane quests and seeking random enemies for days. It's reassuringly complex, and astonishingly well-executed given that this is Capcom's first attempt at such a game.
It may apparently have come from nowhere, but Dragon's Dogma has the wherewithal to go places. If you've extracted all you can from Skyrim, this will fill the resulting void in your life.
Dragon's Dogma is a real success for Capcom — consistently entertaining and compelling, it's a pleasure to explore its world. The pawn system and variety of skills and vocations keeps combat enjoyable even after dozens of hours, and while multiplayer would have been the icing on the cake, there's more than enough here to entertain a single player for weeks. A solid and worthwhile purchase.
Frustration will no doubt creep in throughout your travels in Dragon’s Dogma, it’s so unpredictable and not for those who throw their controller at the screen at the first sign of a reload screen. If you stick with it though, you’ll love it because it’s such a great, innovative RPG, which is well worth anyone’s time. Capcom’s never been short of great franchises in the past, what with Street Fighter, Monster Hunter and Devil May Cry all sitting proudly in it’s back catalogue. Now it can add another title to that impressive list, because Dragon’s Dogma is here and it’s wonderful.