Action RPG fans who own a Switch have no excuse to miss out on Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen as it has just come out for the hybrid console. Originally launched for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2012, the game dared to meld elements of Dark Souls and Monster Hunter together to produce an experience unlike any other medieval open world title developed in recent memory. From its combat to its surprisingly deep narrative, the following are elements that help make Dragon’s Dogma a perfect addition to one’s Switch library.
Dragon’s Dogma Switch | Combat
Combat in Dragon’s Dogma (Amazon Link) admittedly takes some time getting used to. Swinging weapons and casting spells may feel delayed to the uninitiated, and targeting opponents can be finicky. While these mechanics are a bit lackluster, the game makes up for them with its vocation system. The fighter, strider, mage, warrior, mystic knight, ranger, assassin, sorcerer, and magic archer classes all vary in terms of gameplay. Warriors and assassins, for instance, focus on hack and slash combat while sorcerers are able to pick apart creatures from a distance.
Though fans are forced to choose a vocation from the outset, they’re encouraged to switch on the fly whenever they deem appropriate. Players can also enhance their playstyles by upgrading specific class abilities. It’s possible to train a mystic knight to cast spells at long range and train a strider to climb atop a beast to stick a dagger in its eye.
Speaking of the game’s scaling mechanic, it’s impossible to not draw comparisons to the Monster Hunter franchise or Shadow of the Colossus while grasping onto a soaring wyvern in Dragon’s Dogma. Stamina determines how long one is able to hold onto these creatures and how many attacks he or she is able to dish out before being forced to let go. Knowing how to properly manage the gauge is essential if one’s strategy is to swiftly slay beasts by striking at their weak points. Learning how to best annihilate the heart of a drake or the eye of a cyclops is a thrilling process that helps the game’s world and creatures come alive.
Dragon’s Dogma Switch | Pawn System
The title’s pawns, or Myrmidons, are customizable humanoid companions that follow players on their adventures across Gransys. These three party members are controlled by artificial intelligence but can be directed to perform certain actions like advance or retreat. The most innovative component of this configuration lies in how pawns learn from their experiences to assist players in battle.
They’re able to record enemy weaknesses, remind fans where secret passageways are, and find hidden levers if they’re familiar with a a particular quest. Combat inclinations can be modified to meld well with specific vocations, as brute force may not be ideal for a magic wielder. Pawns also wish to occasionally talk with the player so that they may develop a relationship with the player and create a stronger team dynamic.
Calling this system elaborate is an understatement. That’s not to mention that fans can borrow pawns from other players when connected to the internet. This online ecosystem grants newbies access to experienced characters from the get-go and allows them to reap the benefit that comes from adhering to their sage combat advice. In turn, once one’s party has reached an appropriate level, he or she can introduce their pawns to the community so that they may gain knowledge of beasts and secret areas that one hasn’t encountered yet. Players can also obtain items and gifts through these traveling pawns, which may come in handy when up against the game’s most fearsome enemies on Bitterblack Isle.
Dragon’s Dogma Switch | Setting
Gransys is a massive province found in the eastern part of the Liogran Peninsula. It’s divided into three sections, each of which is further split into regions that encompass hills, caverns, valleys, groves, and woodlands. Roaming beasts like chimeras and dragons and foreboding locales like the Miasmic Haunt swamp and Lake Hardship help make this sprawling open world feel wild and lived in. There’s no telling if an ogre lies in wait at the end of a tunnel or if a pack of hounds picked up on one’s scent in the forest. This constant sense of danger is balanced well with the reward that comes from discovering a quiet sanctuary or finding a place of refuge after a hard day of slaughtering monsters.
Dark Arisen introduces a new area called Bitterblack Isle that’s intended only for experienced players. Death is plastered everywhere, as epitaphs litter the walls and corpses rot when creatures are slain. Players may notice that each room is nearly identical to the last they explored, save for whatever new intimidating boss lies within. Bitterblack Isle yields great rewards like mind-numbing potions and rings that grant inhuman strength for those that are willing enough to take on its labyrinth. RPG fans who love maxing out their character’s stats and equipment can spend a lot of time on this island of despair. The loot is always worth it.
Dragon’s Dogma Switch | Narrative
Dragon’s Dogma‘s ending completely subverts any expectations players may have had while on their journey through Gransys. As they take on quests to gain back their stolen heart from an apocalyptic dragon, they may get the sense that Dragon’s Dogma revolves around the concept of surviving against the encroaching wilderness. The momentous choices that adventurers must make when they finally confront the beast, however, disprove this idea. Instead, this series of decisions highlights the animal nature found in all of us. It’s a conclusion that all video game fans should experience, as it stands out from the esoteric finales of typical RPGs.
It’s surprising that Capcom hasn’t announced a sequel to Dragon’s Dogma yet, as the title sold over 1 million copies when it originally launched and performed well with its subsequent re-releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. With Dark Souls out of the way and no noteworthy medieval RPGs on the horizon, now may be a great time to develop a new entry in the franchise. Series director Hideaki Itsuno just wrapped up production on Devil May Cry 5, after all, and has recently expressed interest in returning to the property. Here’s hoping that Capcom will grant the man’s wish soon. One could never have too many quality action RPGs to play, especially on Switch.
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