The game starts with a simplistic character creator where you can modify the physical appearance of your character and class selection. You also get to customize your fist Pawn and its class. The class selection is modest at the beginning, being able to choose from 3 base classes which are Fighter, Stryder and Mage. Later you will be able to progress your classes and get to the advanced classes which are Warrior, Sorceror, and Ranger. Eventually you will get the hybrid classes which allow you to combine skills from different classes to make Mystic Knight, Magic Archer, and Assassin. Instead of the classic ranger attacks, a Magic Archer can fire Ricocheting mystic bolts that will bounce of objects striking many enemies at once. Also a powerful sorceror can launch powerful attacks such as a Maelstrom, which is basically a powerful tornado that picks up and bashes bad guys around like rag-dolls. Like most RPG's once you have created your class your kind of stuck in that class until the end right? Not here. Dragon's Dogma will allow players to change classes to whatever while they are playing. Tired of casting spells and magic, how about shooting mystic arrows, or smashing bad guys with a big hammer. Yeah, you can do that.
The story line is very easy to follow, you meet a dragon and takes your characters heart, now you hunt dragon and reclaim your heart, see simple. If
your a story driven gamer then this may not suit you, but the the additional side quests should have you plenty to do with over 70+hours with just side quests. Jumping right into the game, I notice how smooth the movements are and the controls are very responsive, unlike some rpgs that I have played that left me smashing the button a dozen times to make one slashing move. The controls are simple as well, allowing you to use many different skills easily and quickly. A lot of rpg games combat may have you embarrassingly slashing a Giants legs for 20mins until his health drops and you win. In Dragon's Dogma, combat is much more involved. Each baddie has a week spot and you can jump and climb to the top of that Giant and stab at its neck until you achieve victory. At one point I jumped and grabbed onto a Griffin that was flying through the air while I performed attacks hanging from its back. This is something that reminds me of another great game, Shadows of the Colossus. The skills that you obtain later in the game are also very unique. When you use a lightning spell it isn't merely a little lightning strike, its a massive bolt of lighting that projects from the sky with such power it feels intense. Also a meteor storm attack that rains down 10 meteors that strike the enemy from the sky are awe inspiring. Most of the creatures you fight in this game are mythological creatures such as Griffins, giants, harpys, chimera, and the multi-headed hydra.
Dragon's Dogma may not be a MMOrpg or even have an online co-op, but with its Pawns feature you get the sense that you are playing with other real players. The Pawns are characters that you pick up along the way (the first you get at character creation) that are very useful. The Pawns can give you hints of nearby loot, quest locations, and tell you where an enemy is most vulnerable. The online aspect of Dragon's Dogma allows you to send your Pawn to another Rift which allows your pawn to be used by other players online and vice versa. When the Pawn is returned he/she will have more knowledge and experience. Pawns are extremely useful in combat, they allow for healing and buffing, or they can deal great amounts of damage. This is a good change from most rpg's where I usually get frustrated with my useless do-nothing AI companions.
After my time with Capcom's Dragon's Dogma, I was very much impressed. They took some old ideas from several different classes and genres of games mashed them together and voila! Capcom was able to throw some new and interesting twists on a fading genre of game and make it exciting again. My only fear is that this game will fly under the radar and be missed by most gamer's because of all the blockbuster games that are coming out. I can't wait to get my own copy of the game. If you have played the game I would love to hear some feedback and let me know what you think. Leave comments and don't forget my sponsors.