Tagged "Dragon’s Dogma"

Jan 16
By Matt Gander In Features No Comments

Capcom’s hack ‘n slash role-player Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen arrives on Nintendo Switch this April.

As one of our favourite games of the last generation, which we sunk well over 60 hours into, last week’s announcement was a cause of celebration around these parts.

Don’t let the fact that it’s 6 years old put you off – we recently revisited the Xbox One remaster and found it no less exciting than it was in 2013. It still feels remarkably fresh.

Here are five reasons why Switch owners should be excited:

It isn’t a traditional role-player

Dragon’s Dogma was intended to appeal to a broad audience, hence why it features many staples and tropes from traditional JRPGs but resembles a western developed RPG, complete with a heavy Dungeons & Dragons/Tolkienesque influence to the artwork direction. Imagine Skyrim, but with the craftsmanship of a typical JRPG.

It’s a case of east meets west, with rugged knights in shining armour and gruesome mythological beasts, married to traditional JRPG-styles quests and a familiar feeling of progression to character development, levelling up at a respectable rate.

Moreover, this is an RPG of the hack ‘n slash variety, heavy on both scripted and completely unscripted events due to a focus on unbridled action. A typical character move list features numerous heavy hitting attacks and a wide range of defensive manoeuvres. There’s also scope for experimentation thanks to the ability to attack while jumping, adding impromptu downwards strikes to your repertoire, in addition to one game-changing ability worthy of its own bullet point.

Also pleasing is how over the top some attacks are. Rangers can fire arrows so powerful that they send weaker enemies flying across the screen; genuine blink and you’ll miss it moments that make battles wildly unpredictable.

It has a fresh approach to online play

Prior to release, RPG fans were disheartened to learn of DD’s lack of online play. After the game launched, however, Capcom’s vision became clear. Instead of allowing gamers to team up online, the online functions involve creating and sharing AI controlled Pawns, cultivating a different kind of community.

Although humanlike in appearance and in nature, Pawns come from another realm; who and what they are forms part of the game’s lore. They level up and can be kitted out with weapons and attire of your choosing, sticking by your side from start to finish. Over time they grow more experienced, learning how to dispatch certain enemies swiftly. They even gain quest knowledge, so if your Pawn is used by another player they may be able to give pointers for quests they haven’t completed yet.

Not only this, but their fighting styles and classes can be chosen to complement yours. They can be instructed to charge into battle and hit danger head-on or hang back and help with magick and support items.

Adding to a sense of community, Pawns can be rated on their usefulness and appearance before being returned to their maker. You can also send them away clutching a gift for their master, picked from your inventory. Often they’d return to us with a bunch of junk, but every now and then they’d come back to us bearing something of worth. Remember: caring is sharing.

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Dec 12
By Matt Gander In Features No Comments

Whether it’s a refund from the tax man or one of those elusive Kit-Kats that’s accidentally had the wafer left out, we all like a nice surprise. Here are eight games from 2012 that exceeded all expectations:

Binary Domain – PS3, 360

When Sega’s Japan-developed shooter was first shown it looked rather grey in both senses of the word. Awful memories of Quantum Theory then came flooding back – another Japanese developed game that tried to mimic Gears of War, but failed to capture what made Epic’s series so great.

Thankfully it turned out to be quite a refreshingly different shooter, with a focus on creating a strong bond with your team-mates. The robotic enemies were satisfying to shoot, the colossal bosses even more so. For the £10 it can be found for nowadays it’s well worth a purchase.

Spec Ops: The Line – PS3, 360, PC

When we first heard that Take-Two were reviving the Spec Ops franchise – a series that’s been dormant since the PSone era – our first thoughts were that it wouldn’t better even Medal of Honor, let alone Battlefield or Call of Duty. Like Binary Domain, it managed to put a refreshing twist into the third-person shooter genre.

The Dubai setting allowed for some unforgettable set-pieces, and the story was one of the best in recent times. There was a good use of licensed music too – well known tunes occasionally blared out of the stereos left switched on in the wake of Dubai’s destruction.

Dragon’s Dogma – PS3, 360

Although the first batch of screenshots of Capcom’s RPG looked pretty, it did look rather hackneyed – every western RPG cliché appeared to be present. The developer’s plans for the game’s online functions didn’t appeal at first either. Wouldn’t proper online play be better than simply being able to borrow somebody else’s AI controlled cohort? The answer tuned out to be no. The AI controlled Pawns were an important part of the experience, so brilliantly programmed that you’d be forgiven for thinking they were being controlled by another human player.

We clocked up over 60 hours of play in this RPG masterpiece, eventually becoming strong enough to take on the Ur-Dragon – a massive beast that took us almost four hours. That’s not four hours worth of attempts – we’re talking about a single four hour long battle, which is what it took to whittle down the Ur-Dragon’s health bar to nothing. Epic isn’t a word we use often, but it’s fully justified here.

Learn with Pokemon: Typing Adventure – DS

History is repeating itself. Just as Typing of the Dead on Dreamcast is something of a hidden gem for the system, Learn with Pokemon has become something of an underrated treat for Nintendo DS owners.

Nintendo really didn’t publicise this one at all. We don’t know for certain why, but they must have either felt that it would distract from sales of Pokemon Black and White 2, or they didn’t want to create too much of a demand seeing as they didn’t plan on releasing many copies in the UK.

See also: Pokemon Conquest.

Far Cry 3 – PS3, 360, PC

For us, the original Far Cry was love at first sight. Those tropical beaches and leafy jungles were a welcome change of setting from the usual war-torn cities and muddy trenches that most FPS were set in at the time. Far Cry Instincts on Xbox was well ahead of its time too, letting you choose which order to complete missions.

Over time though the series took a tumble – Far Cry Vengeance on Wii was an abomination while Far Cry 2’s open-world approach didn’t please everybody. Far Cry 3 saw the series back on top form, becoming one of this year’s highest rated shooters. Whereas Ubisoft’s own Assassin’s Creed III tells you exactly how to complete a mission, Far Cry 3 gives you the tools and lets you get on with the task at hand however you please.

The Walking Dead – PS3, 360, PC, iOS

Telltale’s reputation before The Walking Dead wasn’t exactly glowing. The Wii versions of Sam & Max were approaching unplayable due to slowdown, and both their Jurassic Park and Back to the Future licensed games failed to make good use of the source material. Jurassic Park had an QTE event to climb a hill, for pity’s sake.

The Walking Dead saw the studio go back to basics to create a five-part series that had us on tenterhooks from the very start. The interface was simple yet pleasing to use and the character development was very finely crafted. We ended up genuinely caring about the characters – something that made the gripping ending even harder to stomach.

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed – PS3, 360, Wii U

Rather than being a mere sequel to Sonic & All-Stars Racing, except with karts that now transform into boats and planes, Transformed turned out to be a total overhaul. There’s a slight hint of Blur about it, which is probably (well, almost certainly) because ex-Bizzare Creations staff were partly responsible. The tracks were brilliantly designed and the power-up assortment both well balanced and creative.

A fine celebration of all things Sega, with the NiGHTS track being a particular highlight.

ZombiU – Wii U

Now, this is a game that ended up being completely different to its original concept. It was first introduced to the world as a shooter called Killer Freaks from Outer Space, starring mutated versions of the Raving Rabbids. The Rabbids were dropped in favor of zombies and the B-Movie feel was scrubbed completely.

The end result was one of the most ambitious launch titles of recent times, drawing you in from the very start and leaving you hooked. It was surprisingly hardcore too – comparisons with Dark Souls were made by the gaming press. The Killer Freaks weren’t left out of the game entirely – they can be found inside a supermarket, albeit it soft toy form. A nice touch, we think.

Jun 18
By Matt Gander In UK Charts 1 Comment

Two out of the three games released last week have managed to enter the UK top 40.

It’s the rather good Heroes of Ruin on 3DS that misses out, having to make do with #5 in the 3DS chart.

Riding high though are both Lollipop Chainsaw – arriving at #4, much higher than possibly anybody anticipated – and Gravity Rush at #11. If we throw Dragon’s Dogma into the equation, which is at #16 down from #12 this week, that’s three new IPs in the top 20. We’d like that figure to be higher, but three still isn’t too bad. We guess.

FIFA 12 is back at the top of the chart for the obvious reason, pushing Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Solider down to #2 while Max Payne 3 drops to #3. Diablo III is back up from #22 to #6 while Game of Thrones remains in the top 10 for a second week running at #7.

Prototype 2 is this week’s biggest faller, going all the way from #15 to #36.

Finally, we don’t know what Deer Drive is – and frankly we’re scared to check – but that’s in at #30 in the Wii chart this week.

Jun 11
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

It would seem plenty of gamers have been spending the weekend playing Game of Thrones while sitting on their gamer thrones – it’s this week’s highest new entry, arriving at #6.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Solider is #1 for the third week running. The only other two games to stay at #1 for three weeks or more this year are FIFA 12 and FIFA Street.

Following behind to make up to the UK’s top five are Max Payne 3, FIFA 12, Battlefield 3 and Sniper Elite V2.

Rayman Origins has risen up slightly this week, going from #30 to #24. We assume that’s because of the newly released 3DS version. It’s in at #7 in the 3DS chart.

Stock replenishment of Diablo III has also helped Blizzard’s PC RPG re-enter the chart – it’s back in at #22 with sales up 543% from last week.

The wet and horrid weekend just gone was a perfect one for getting glued to a new RPG. We even managed to find time to defeat the notoriously tough Ur-Dragon in Dragon’s Dogma.

Jun 06
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

Creating the illusion that you’re playing with a human player rather than an AI controlled character is quite the task, but one that Capcom has managed to pull off here spectacularly.

The AI of your three fellow adventurers is in fact good enough to instantly forgive that there’s no ‘proper’ multi-player. Instead, in this RPG players share Pawns – custom made characters with unique behavioural patterns and the ability to become more proficient in battle. They’ve been programmed to follow you closely, warn of dangers, and also pick up any items you may have missed. The first time we witnessed one pick up a barrel full of explosives and throw it at a group of enemies our eyebrows were raised higher than one of the ‘ladies’ you see on Jeremy Kyle.

Picking Pawns to create the perfect team is just one of the many enjoyable elements. Once a Pawn is released back into the realm from where they came, they can be rated and given gifts to bestow upon their creator. Doesn’t that sound a lot more inviting than having some random player with a name like BillyBumHole68 invading your world, snagging all of the best loot then vanishing off to pester another player? Of course it does.

The Pawns also help to make Dragon’s Dogma one of the more accessible RPGs out there. If they’re familiar with a mission they’ll provide invaluable hints while mages and sorcerers will cast healing spells even if you’re only slightly low on health. It’s also a looters paradise – items of use and often of value are easily stumbled upon, and so it’s not uncommon to have plenty of cash to buy new weapons and half-a-dozen health potions for your inventory.

Dark Souls this is not. It does however have a few similarities with From Software’s RPG – it shares a very similar visual style and assortments of armour and arsenal. It’s also worth running past the larger enemies until you’ve levelled up a bit, much like Dark Souls’ legendary ‘suicide runs’. Worry not – these fiends are reluctant to give chase.

For an RPG of considerable size, Dragon’s Dogma has a rather minimal plot. After surviving an encounter with a fearsome dragon which would have left any other man dead, the main character becomes known as ‘The Arisen’ and it soon transpires that his destiny is to find and kill said winged beast. A cult know as Salvation however are out to try and make this task as tricky as possible – they believe that the dragon’s coming will cleanse the world ready to start anew. You get to make a few moral choices along the way, such as choosing to spare the lives of some of your enemies, but nothing on the same magnitude as in the likes of Mass Effect.

The first few hours are spent in a quaint seaside town which includes the usual assortment of RPG missions such as investigating an unusual noise coming from inside a well and locating some stolen items. These simple quests help break you in gently, before casting you into a wide open world. A lot of time is spent in the capital city of Gran Soren; there’s a wealth of merchants, plus inns where you can purchase new skills and improve existing ones. You can also change your character class at an inn, so if you fancy a change from melee attacks to magic then the option is there. It’s not long until your fabled feats catch the attention of the Duke, who issues the missions that’ll lead you up to your final confrontation.

Whereas the combat in the likes of Two Worlds and Risen feels like glorified morris dancing, Dragon’s Dogma has combat that’s both satisfying and enthralling, like something out of a highly rated hack and slasher. Each character class has several moves, some of which are rather creative. Archers can be given the ability to pin foes to walls and trees with arrows, and also fire an arrow so powerful it sends the unfortunate recipient flying through the air. Magic attacks fill the screen with devastating elemental powers while items such as flasks of poison can be thrown to weaken an enemy before going in for the kill. Larger enemies can be scaled as well – get on top of a cyclops’s shoulders and you can knock its helmet off to expose its eye. Discovering enemies’ weak spots and then exploiting them is curiously thrilling.

Although Capcom have managed to hit the nail on the head where combat is concerned, for every memorable mission there’s one that either feels half-baked or defies all logic. A good half hour was wasted trying to find a red book which had been placed on top of a building with a red roof. Although we can’t be certain, we’re pretty sure we walked past it a dozen times before eventually spotting it. Another quest entails finding a treasure chest. Again, after much scavenging we learned that it had to be reached by performing what can only be described as medieval parkour. What should be simple tasks are sometimes made maddening by some very bizarre design decisions. We also missed out on the chance to complete one optional mission by not being in the right place at the right time, neither of which we were previously informed of.

There’s a fair bit of backtracking too. Although you can teleport back to the capital city, the ferrystones required to do so are rather scarce.

Those memorable missions though are mind-blowing: there’s a Lord of the Rings-style battle to retake a castle overrun by goblins, and then later a battle against a colossal griffin which includes an hour long trek across the map to reach its nesting place. They’re the type of thing that you’ll want to tell your friends about, epic in scale and leaving you with a sense of accomplishment. If no friends are in earshot you can share photos of your triumphant endeavours with those on Facebook via the photo sharing ability. All the screenshots on this page were taken by us, no less.

The bare bones plot, dull sub-quests and occasionally sketchy mission objectives prevent Dragon’s Dogma from being the on top of the ever growing list of this generation’s RPGs. It certainly has the best combat though, and also sets the bar for how intelligent we expect our AI controlled cohorts to be. We’re also quite amazed how few glitches we encountered given the size of the game world. So much for Bethesda’s usual ‘impossible to remove all bugs in a game this size before launch’ excuses.

Jun 04
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

We didn’t expect the UK charts to be released today with it being a bank holiday and all. We certainly aren’t complaining though – we wouldn’t want it to get swamped under tomorrow’s E3 news.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Solider remains #1 for a second week running, followed by Max Payne 3, FIFA 12, Dragon’s Dogma and Sniper Elite V2.

Resistance: Burning Skies narrowly misses out on the top 10 entering at #12. That’s still more than what Resistance: Retribution on PSP managed to accomplish, which failed to enter the top 40 at all. It should also be noted that digital PS Vita sales aren’t included in the chart.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is up from #26 to #17 this week due to price drops – it’s available online for less than £15 now.

The studio behind it has been in the news lately as staff were let go due to it not making as much money as expected. It’s not all bad news though – most have secured jobs at Epic.

May 28
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

After just one week Max Payne 3 has fallen from the top spot in the chart.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Solider: Future Solider is the new #1, pushing Max Payne 3 down to #2.

We assume that people had an easier time finding a copy of Capcom’s spiffing RPG Dragon’s Dogma than we did, as it’s in at #3. Tesco do not appear to be selling it, while our local Asda was sold out by lunchtime.

DiRT Showdown follows behind at #4.

Mario Tennis Open makes its appearance at a respectable #11, while down at #34 there’s Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock.

In the single formats Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland enters the PlayStation 3 chart at #24 while Men in Black: Alien Crisis makes #29 in the Wii chart.

The days of movie tie-ins selling spectacularly are long gone, we feel.

May 23
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games 1 Comment

We’re certainly not short on RPGs at the moment. If you’ve finished The Witcher 2 and Diablo 3 and don’t like the look of either Risen 2 or The Game of Thrones, then Capcom’s Dragon’s Dogma could very well be your next addiction. Capcom have claimed that they hope to sell 10 million copies, and although that does seem like a rather ambitious figure, the fact that it comes with a playable Resident Evil 6 demo should at least ensure it a high chart position next week.

Review scores have been mixed. The first review to appear was in 360 magazine who handed out an 8. They said that there are lots of brilliant moments but it could have done with longer in the oven. gamesTM also gave it an 8 while EDGE and Eurogamer both gave it a 7. Play magazine didn’t really take to it at all however and gave it a mere 48%. There’s a demo available for you to make your own mind up. It allows you to make a couple of characters and then fight a winged-griffin with a few AI controlled cohorts. Pro tip: burn its wings to a crisp.

There are a couple of PlayStation 3 RPGs out this week too – Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland from Tecmo Koei and Rune Factory Oceans from Rising Star. Rune Factory Oceans – also known as Rune Factory: Tides of Darkness – has been available in the US for quite some time. Reviews were middling upon release. It does have PS Move support though which is… something. Atelier Meruru meanwhile is the 13th game in the little-known Atelier series. US gamers are only getting it this week too, and as such there aren’t many reviews around.

Men in Black: Alien Crisis is a game we really don’t hold out much hope for. At all. The fact that it’s an on-rails shooter suggests that it has been made on a very short schedule. It’s out on PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and 3DS.

The 3DS is also receiving Mario Tennis Open. Although it’s great to see another Mario game on 3DS, reviews haven’t been glowing. Both EDGE and Eurogamer gave it a 7. gamesTM meanwhile though it was worth a 6. Good but not quite a classic it would seem.

Eurogamer also gave Sorcery for PS Move a 7. It’s one of the better games for the device, then.

All of these titles and we haven’t even yet mentioned DiRT Showdown and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. The latter has been getting a steady string of 8s from the likes of Eurogamer and EDGE, while the former hasn’t been reviewed yet. We very much doubt that it’s going to be anything less than great though.

Lastly we have Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock, which is being published by Sony. It’s available on PSN and at retail on PlayStation 3, while the PS Vita version is arriving on PSN only next month. The budget price tag is a little worrying but we still have some confidence that it’ll be good – developers Supermassive are a PlayStation-exclusive studio and have worked on some of the more successful PS Move titles as well as add-on packs for LittleBigPlanet 2.

Next week: Resistance: Burning Skies (PS Vita), SBK Generations (PS3, 360, PC), Summer Stars (PS3, 360, Wii), Worms Compilation (PS3, 360), Azada (3DS) and Max Payne 3 (PC).

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