Dragon's Dogma Review

21 Jun 2012

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Capcom
Developer:Capcom
Release Date:2012-05-22
Genre:
  • Role-Playing,Action
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
Aside from the draw of more powerful loot and the desire to complete a few missed quests and get the better possible outcomes out of everything, there really isn't much of a reason to replay Dragon's Dogma, especially considered that there is only one "true ending", and every other ending essentially amounts to a game over preceded by a cutscene.

Terrible, Terrible, Terrible Storytelling

So far, I've been focusing my attention on the title's gameplay and haven't really touched upon its writing. One of the reasons is that Dragon's Dogma is a title that obviously focuses a lot more on the gameplay experience rather than on a linear or branching storyline. But there's another important reason: the story is simply terrible.

With the exception of a few surprisingly decently-written characters (Mercedes, a warrior sent from another country to help with the dragon hunt comes to mind) and a few good ideas (chief among them the ending, which is actually extremely interesting in the way it manages to tie mechanics and story) Dragon's Dogma features storytelling that commits all kinds of sins: it's disjointed, badly paced, too reliant on cutscenes and, at times, just feels plain confused. If that wasn't enough, it's also coupled with a remarkably generic setting, with barely any hint of personality. Add to that some truly ridiculous ren-faire language, and it's easy to see why I say the storytelling is terrible.

Graphics, Soundtrack and Technical Issues

I can't speak for the Xbox 360 version of Dragon's Dogma (from what I gather it presents different technical issues) since I didn't get the chance to play it, but on the PlayStation 3 the titles is rife with small issues such as an unstable framerate, stuttering sound, fairly noticeable pop-in and some pretty poor lip-syncing. While none of that is gamebreaking in itself, together they all hurt the experience.

Furthermore, it doesn't help that the game just doesn't look particularly good: besides some nice lighting the visuals are fairly unremarkable, with muddy textures, low poly environments and the worst color banding I've seen in a game in quite a while.

Speaking of a lack of originality, the soundtrack, with the exception of a rather unfitting J-Rock opening theme, is fairly standard and not particularly notable. It's listenable and it occasionally even does a good job accompanying your triumphs against the game's largest foes but I can't think of any tune I'd like to listen again now that I'm done with the title.

Conclusions

I feel it's a testament to Dragon's Dogma's strengths that, despite the fact that I value quest design, multiple solutions, and meaningful non-combat gameplay very highly in role-playing games, I still enjoyed my time with the title a lot. Ultimately, Dragon's Dogma is a title that does almost as much wrong as it does right, but as long as one appreciates what it does well, it's an extremely satisfying experience. While Capcom might have had problems writing a narrative worth its salt or decent quests, it crafted a world deserving to be explored and experienced, with plenty of fun moments to offer, and offered a genuinely interesting and deep action combat system to the players. If that sounds appealing to you, it's certainly well worth a try.
 
 

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