HomeNewsDragon's Dogma II Review - An Accomplished Sense Of Adventure

    Dragon’s Dogma II Review – An Accomplished Sense Of Adventure

    Developed By: Capcom

    Published By: Capcom

    Platforms: PlayStation 5 / Xbox Series / PC

    Reviewed On: PlayStation 5

    Review Code Provided By: Capcom

    It’s a weird feeling remembering that Dragon’s Dogma first came out for the PS3 back in 2012. It offered gameplay that both felt familiar yet still challenging and fresh. Ironically I played quite a bit of it back then but never really got far due to time constraint and I never was very into challenging games that tested my patience (oh how different it is now). But it did leave quite a positive lasting impression on me as one of those games that felt great but I never just got back to. After Dark Arisen and the ports came out the series just kind of went silent with fans not knowing if it will ever receive a true sequel or another go at trying to capture the attention of mass gamers everywhere.

    Thanks to Capcom, we were granted an opportunity to review Dragon’s Dogma II and although this review has been a long time coming, I just wanted to share my own personal thoughts on it. After spending quite a chunk of time playing it I really walked away feeling like this was one of those really special games that can really divide players based on just a few things that might not be for everyone.


    The story begins as players finish up in the character creator screen waking up in a mining camp as a prisoner. Soon after making their escape on a griffin and getting shot down some distance away, players then will start their journey as the Arisen travelling throughout Vermund and Battahl trying to unfold political plots, save the downtrodden and discover your true purpose as the Arisen.

    Just to get this out of the way, the story in Dragon’s Dogma II is pretty thin. There are some interesting plot lines that feel like they should have been more fleshed out in a more guided way but in the end a lot of it feels weirdly disconnected from one another due to how the true journey of Dragon’s Dogma II is just in the freedom of the open world and discovery. The looseness of these plot lines just gave me a lack of urgency beyond timed gameplay mechanics but I never really felt invested into any of them due to how they were designed.

    This also extends to side quests where auxiliary characters also just feel more of a means to an end to unlock cool stronger spells or equipment where you have to do a particular thing in a very particular way or rescuing characters in peril who then just kind of fall off your radar.

    One of the biggest motivators in playing games for me is how invested I can be in the narrative being built for the game. It might even be poor gameplay wise but if the story is good, I’ll still gladly hang around for the ride. I mean there are games like Elden Ring where the story feels drip fed to the player but the mystery of it coupled with the exceptional world building just makes the player want to know more about what the heck is actually going on. You would get some answers and some of it might still be vague but it felt compelling. Here, it just felt like a means to an end that felt rarely rewarding.

    Graphics, Sound & Performance

    On the PS5 Dragon’s Dogma two does not have the typical Graphics and Performance modes but I didn’t feel like that was a detriment to the experience. The framerate felt like it was a stable 30fps with very rare dips. The art style felt unique but I wouldn’t call it one of those games that makes you feel wowed graphically aside from the gorgeous panoramic views. It nails the fantasy/medieval aspect it was going for but I never once felt like there were any NPC’s that felt well designed. Even with different races in the game it all just felt blended together after a while. But it is a perfectly nice-looking game with great visual effects especially in battles. The food while cooking though; that is some realistic looking meat.

    When it comes to the sound design, the music feels nice but rarely memorable. It’s great as background music but I never once felt the need to search for what track was playing. The sound design in battles are appropriately great adding to the roaring tenseness of encounters with magic spells and the clashing of swords.

    However as solid as the performance was, I did encounter random crashes once in a while that felt very random. Most of those crashes weren’t because a lot was going on screen and after those crashes there would be some error code saying some of the DLC was corrupted and incompatible which felt like a first in a game for me.


    An area which Dragon’s Dogma II really shines in is how great the gameplay feels but not without some caveats but let’s start with the positives first. The vocations (classes) in Dragon’s Dogma 2 generally feel really great. The basic vocations like Fighter, Thief, Mage do feel great but Archer was one that was hard to get into. Players are also able to unlock advanced Vocations like the Sorcerer, Magick Archer, and Mystic Spearhand that feel overpowered especially after finding some really great abilities and spells. I created a Mage early on and quickly switched over to Sorcerer because casting ridiculously powerful magic never gets old. What is great about this is you are able to switch Vocations easily and some Vocations allow you to mix and match certain abilities to maximize the build you are going for.

    Players also are able to create your personal Pawn that will follow you for the whole game. You are also able to change their Vocations and equipment as you see fit and recruit two more Pawns for a party of four. What I love about the Pawn system is how dynamic they really do feel. There are Capcom created Pawns that walk about the map volunteering their assistance at every opportunity so you will never feel like you are walking around with an underpowered party for too long. This also extends to player created Pawns like your own that can be recruited and rewarded accordingly.

    Exploration and combat are the two biggest draws for Dragon’s Dogma II as it always feels like an adventure. Firstly exploring rarely feels like it’s a waste of time as there are random items, equipment and NPC’s to meet that adds on a level of wonder to wanting to know what exactly is at the top of that mountain or deep in caves you come across. I remember the first time I came across the Sphinx and was creeped out due to how randomly it happened but that is part of the beauty of Dragon’s Dogma 2. That sense of adventure and possibilities where anything can happen especially when it comes to the combat.

    Littered about the map visible enemies that players can choose to engage with but what makes it really unique is how unscripted a lot of these encounters unfold. You might be battling an Ogre only for a random Griffin or Dragon to swoop in and adding another layer of danger to what felt like a straightforward fight. This dynamism keeps you on your toes at all times not only because it is exciting but also because of the intentional designed difficulty that could be harsh for some players.

    Dragon’s Dogma II has two saves stored for players, one is a checkpoint save and the other is an Inn save. Both saves are automatic and prove more of a hindrance a lot of the time due to the nature of certain questlines. For example, while trying to acquire a powerful spell for my Sorcerer, I had to go thru a lengthy questline finding books and also surviving an encounter with an NPC. What can be brutal is how to get the spell you absolutely cannot kill that NPC while they are attacking you as you are supposed to just buy time. What happened to me is I actually parked my Pawn further away but as one of them was a ranger shot that NPC from such a considerable distance I didn’t even know they were dead. So I had to reload a much earlier Inn save (that set me back about 2 hours) and did everything back again just to get what I wanted out of that questline.

    As enjoyable as the gameplay in Dragon’s Dogma II, it’s things like the save system, the lack of fast travelling, Dragonsplague, and the nature of how you are meant to be adventuring to keep levelling up that is designed to help but also hinder the players in particular ways. It is this that might turn off some players from exploring further into the game. I can argue that past the initial difficulty it does get easier but the cautious nature of not messing up accidentally and having to recover a significant amount of progress made tests one’s patience considerably.

    What I Liked About Dragon’s Dogma II

    • Combat – Vocations are generally great and the dynamic nature of combat just makes every encounter tense and exciting.
    • Pawns – I actually like how chatty the Pawns are instead of just muted NPC’s as it feels like your merry band of adventurers just exploring the unknown together. I do admit their script variety could be improved though.
    • Online Features – I think it’s quite fantastic how your own Pawns can be utilized by other players and vice versa. It adds just a nice layer of community between players which can result in some hilarious dialogue when they come back to you.
    • Open World – I enjoyed exploring it and taking my time to discover things.

    What I Didn’t

    • Open-World – Sometimes you just want to be able to get things done and backtracking to areas previously gone to without a fast travel option can feel tedious.
    • Story – It just didn’t grab me enough because what was there felt hollow. Not even side quests stuck with me because it all felt just a means to an end.
    • Save System – This felt painful as nowadays I don’t have much time to play and I would like to experiment different possibilities without having to recover a significant amount of progress. The save system is just one element in an intentionally designed gameplay system that feels like its actively trying to piss you off.

    Rise Arisen

    I enjoyed my time with Dragon’s Dogma II but I really wouldn’t say it is for everyone. When Dragon’s Dogma first came out it appealed to a niche audience and became a cult favorite due to how different it felt at the time. It’s kind of a weird thing and one might even say hypocritical as with a game like Elden Ring I would have no issue recommending it to anyone as the line of thought I go with is you just have to learn to get past how hard it is in the beginning. Dragon’s Dogma II has something similar but with the lack of flexibility is affords you in some ways does turn me off just a tad bit. Nevertheless, this adventure is still one worth exploring and I was plenty glad I was able to experience it for myself.

    Final Score – 8.5/10

    Jashvir Sandhu
    Jashvir Sandhu
    Proud barbarian to her monk, Wondrous Peashooter to her Sunflower, Blue Yarny who will never let go of his Red Yarny, Loving husband of Cadet Cuddles. Also on PSN known as ZDKilljoy

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