I was clinging desperately to the back of a griffon which seemed to be miles in the air. My attacks kept driving it closer and closer to the ground and into range of my companions waiting eagerly on the ground. As it and myself crashed down to earth I dismounted, my swords ablaze thanks to my spell caster friend, I got to my feet and delivered the final blow to down the beast. This was my first time playing thru the Dragon’s Dogma demo and I instantly fell in love.
When I first heard about this game, I was a little apprehensive. Capcom’s track record hasn’t been that great as of late, but after playing this demo any doubts about Dragon’s Dogma have gone out the window. Combining what can only be described as western RPG environments combined with Japanese character models, to put it simply the visuals are beautiful. You might think that these two different styles wouldn’t mesh well, but the combination gives Dragon’s Dogma a unique look.
The controls of the game are very tight. In the first demo section you take control of a knight type character and wander around ruins that house a giant dragon. Movement is fluid and feels natural as you make your way thru twisting corridors and rip thru goblin enemies with your sword. You get a deep combat system that involves a lot more then just pounding on the attack button over and over again. By holding down a button, your face buttons allow you to do special attacks, such as a powerful downward slash that deals a ton of damage. The only thing I found a bit tedious with the demo was the inventory screen interface. At the beginning of the “knight” section you have to equip a lantern. You need to enter your inventory screen, scroll down to the lantern, then scroll down to equip just to get it out. Honestly, I feel like it would benefit from one less button press. I also didn’t see anyway to hot-key any of the inventory items. This may make equipping things when your inventory is full a hassle. But aside from that small hiccup the game looks like it’s shaping up to be pretty awesome.
The coolest feature of Dragon’s Dogma is the Pawn system. Allowing the player to have a party composed of themselves and up to 3 AI controlled companions. This is not a new feature for RPGs, yet somehow Dragon’s Dogma makes it feel fresh and new. With the utilization of the d-pad the player can shout out simple orders to their pawns. Calling out for help, directing them to attack or making them stand down is easy and responsive. This mechanic really makes Dragon’s Dogma feel like a squad based RPG and that I couldn’t get enough of.
With only one week before the launch of Dragon’s Dogma, many gamers are patiently awaiting it’s arrival. After playing the demo I have joined their ranks. Be prepared to have Capcom knock your socks off on May, 22 when Dragon’s Dogma swoops into a store near you.