Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Most underrated RPG out there, 7 May 2013
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dragons Dogma: Dark Arisen (PS3) (Video Game)
These days it's very difficult to take a chance when parting with you hard earned when it comes to Video Games. With so many titles to choose from it can be a bit of a minefield. I scoured the internet for reviews, ratings and impressions on the original Dragons Dogma when it was released in 2012 and from these reviews decided not to buy it. Now a year later I have decided to give the Dark Arisen version a chance and i am really glad that i did. This is a solid title that incorporates elements from games like Dark Souls, Skyrim and Shadow of the colossus to create a new and interesting addition to the western style of RPG's. The main thing that stands out is the value for money on offer here. The game itself is massive and you will easily spends 60+ hours in the main world of Gransys. There is even a new area to explore but i would only recommend exploring it after completing the main game as the enemies are very strong and you will be punished.

Now onto the individual elements

1. STORY AND WORLD 6/10 - As dark souls has proved an RPG does not need to have an engaging and elaborate story or even interesting NPC's to be good. The story in Dragons Dogma involves Something about a dragon taking your heart and you come back to life as "the arisen" etc. etc. Compared with a elder scrolls or a fallout game DD:DA has a very limited story and one dimensional characters but this does not affect how enjoyable your adventure will be. The game world and map markers etc. are not as well done as they are in other games but they are sufficient. NPC dialogue is repetitive and can get annoying (especially the guy at the inn in the capital city) and this is another area which is lacking. There are also glitches with regards to doing quests in a certain order and i would definitely recommend buying a game guide or consulting the online wiki guide to see where to go etc.

2. RPG ELEMENTS 8/10 - Let's begin with the character creator which has a lot of depth and is very professionally done. You can pick a name and fully customize your appearance for both you and your main pawn (i'll get to the pawn system later) The classes on offer here are excellent and there are some nice combinations such as a mystic knight which is a melee fighter who can enchant weapons and shields with fire, ice etc. The real bonus is that you can change your characters class completely once another class has been fully maxed out. I dont think this has been done in any other RPG i have seen and it offers a lot of versatility. The quest and leveling system are very familiar if you have played other RPG's and not particularly extraordinary but they are decent nonetheless. The game is massive and there are mini boss battles and ambushes dotted throughout the wilderness. This can be annoying if your character is at a low level and does limit the amount of exploration early on. One major gripe people had with the original release was the lack of a sufficient fast travel system and the amount of backtracking that had to be done. In Dark arisen this has been addressed by inclusion of cheaper ferrystones (used to fast travel) and you can now place ten port crystals anywhere on the map (these are used to set fast travel locations).

Another fantastically original addition is the pawn system and this raises the bar compared with other RPG's. Pawn's are the other individuals in your questing party of which up to four can be chosen. This is where the online component comes in as you can chose other player's pawns to join your group. One main downside of the pawns are that they DON'T SHUT UP and repeat their lines over and over and this can be annoying.

3. COMBAT SYSTEM - 9/10 This is where the game really excels and in many ways the combat here is better than it competitors. Each class has a set of special attacks and enhancements that can be unlocked for you and your main pawn and these really make the combat system feel deep and very tactical. you can order you team to attack, retreat or help and this is very good when in a difficult situation. The addition of the pawns make you really feel part of a team when fighting enemies and generally speaking the pawn AI is very good and not as frustrating as you'd expect. The boss battles are fatalistically done as well and due to the fact that you climb bosses make the whole experience more interactive. This game has the best combat system in any sword and sorcery RPG that i have played

3. QUEST SYSTEM 7/10 - The main and side quest's are fairly basic in terms of story, characters etc. but as the combat system is so good this really does not matter. It is important to make sure you have done all of the quest's in a certain area before moving on to another as if you progress too quickly certain side quests will automatically fail and this can be annoying.

4. GRAPHICS 8/10 - The new Dark Arisen version of DD looks very nice but your not going the find the jaw dropping moments you would in other RPG's. The graphics are slightly better than Dark Souls but not as good as Skyrim (especially on PC)

5. AUDIO 8/10 - There is a nice genre fitting soundtrack in the Dark Arisen version of the game and the j-POP main menu theme has also been replaced. All in all the sound is good even if the NPC lip syncing is a bit off.

OVERALL 8/10 - This game has far surpassed all of my expectations so far and Ive barely scratched the surface. At £17 it's an absolute steal and i would even recommend paying £39.99 for it as it's just that good. What will keep you coming back is the combat system and variety of enemies on offer and the deeply customizable RPG elements. Definitely the most underrated RPG out there and if you love games like skyrim, oblivion, demons souls, dark souls or shadow of the colossus I would highly recommend DD:DA.
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