Microsoft Xbox 360 (PS3)
ESRB rating: Mature
Review rating: 3.5 stars
Ever since "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" elevated dragon hunting into a virtual art form, most RPGs now contain the scaly creatures in one form or another. Capcom's latest title, "Dragon's Dogma," not only borrows liberally from other games but also makes dragons integral to the tale. Thankfully, this hardcore RPG also offers some intriguing originality and doesn't hold the player's hand throughout their adventure!
Players take on the role of a hero as they begin what seems like an ordinary day in the fishing town of Cassardis. Suddenly, a giant dragon accompanied by numerous harpies appears in the sky, and they all start attacking the village. The hero is easily vanquished when he attempts to save the day, but somehow he survives having his heart removed by the dragon.
As a result, the heartless hero becomes known as The Arisen, and now they must stop the terrible threat! One of the perks of the new title is having access to pawns, which are computer-controlled party members. Up to three pawns can accompany The Arisen, and players can fully customize one of them as if it were their main character.
One uniquely awesome feature is the ability to send pawns off to join other real players in their adventure, and they return with cool gifts and knowledge. I love how they offer helpful advice on fighting tough bosses, but they can be very repetitive. It's also possible, and advisable, to recruit other player's pawns to help you out during your own adventure.
The action-oriented combat in this game is intuitive and unpredictable. I always have to be aware of unexpected enemies entering battle and changing the course of combat. In addition, fighting gigantic bosses is very fun and challenging, especially when using the cool grab mechanic!
Anyone who can stomach the horrible music, lackluster storyline and occasional graphical glitches in "Dragon's Dogma" will be rewarded with hours of fun.