Dragon's Dogma Online: Goblins, Arisen!

What Are You playing at, Capcom ? You’ve gone all quiet on the Deep Down front since showing it off around the announcement of the PS4, and now you’ve gone and announced this unexpected, but welcome, sequel to one of the most well-received new IPs of the last generation. To the untrained eye, Dragon’s Dogma Online and Deep Down are essentially the same game both are high fantasy RPGs with a heavy focus on online gameplay, and the free-to-play model employed by both games has a lot of people worried. We’ve seen the pay-to-win model ruin many a ‘freemium’ title, and until we see some numbers, there will always be concerns of a repeat offence. We’d much rather just pay up front and enjoy a full game a rarity in this DLC-centric age, admittedly but regardless, we’ll be grabbing this from the Japanese PS Store and smashing it until Capcom blesses us with Western launch information. Seeing as how this looks like it will rectify pretty much all of our grievances with the original game, we really don’t want to miss out.

First and foremost among the improvements is the inclusion of online multiplayer. The original was crying out for it but, whether due to technical issues with getting an online suite up and running, or simply to allow the innovative Pawn system room to breathe, we never got to actively hunt with friends. We could take along their Pawns custom user-created characters and it looks like we will be able to again, but it’s just not the same as sharing the thrill of downing a beast 20 times your size with a few mates. Monster Hunter fans will know what we’re talking about here. More players means more fun, basically, but also quicker hunts and more loot as a result. It’s win-win and we’re glad Capcom has finally managed to cater for socially-minded players. It managed with Monster Hunter back on PS2, after all that’s where we first caught the hunting bug but in fairness, Dragon’s Dogma’s world is almost the opposite of the hunting genre’s usual fragmented arenas.
Yes, what we’re presented with here is a sprawling open world map that stretches as far as the eye can see. Minimal loading made the original’s massive map a joy to explore, so we’re hoping that the addition of multiplayer hasn’t forced Capcom to break it down into chunks there’s nothing quite like seeing a speck on the horizon take on tiny humanoid form as you approach before growing steadily as you close in on what is actually a towering ogre, or managing to spot a distant griffon in flight and tracking it all the way to its lair for an epic showdown. ‘Bosses’, if you can call them that, are a cornerstone of the Dragon’s Dogma experience, and pretty much all of fantasy and mythology’s most famous creatures are on the guest list. These range all the way from small critters like goblins, harpies and wolves to larger foes such as ogres and beholders, and all the way up to bloody great dragons, as the title suggests. The largest of these in the original stands as one of the most inventive showdowns of all time the huge Ur Dragon has such a stupid amount of health that individual players can barely dent it, but all damage done to it by everyone is tracked server-side and the community works together to take the bastard down. It’s asynchronous multiplayer at its best and still is still popular today Ur has been downed over 650 times since launch by the PS3 community alone, so we’re looking forward to seeing what kind of encounters along the same lines Capcom can dream up for this sequel.

It may not look incredible, but fans will tell you to look past that, and they’d be right. Capcom more than makes up for the game’s slightly dated looks with a sense of scale, a surprising amount of character, and solid lore to the world as well as the depth of combat, where you can scale beasts, sling huge AOE spells, fire off entire quivers in seconds or just go full old-school and get stuck in with a massive lump of metal. This is one to watch and no mistake check out the PS3 original, if you’ve still got your old console hooked up, while we wait for Capcom to remember that it quite likes money and announce a Western release.  

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