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Dragon’s Dogma 2 Review (PS5) – The Pinnacle Of A Fantasy Adventure

Dragon’s Dogma 2 Review (PS5) – Dragon’s Dogma was a unique experience when it launched almost twelve years ago. It is a fantasy adventure that scratches every itch for adventuring in a massive fantasy world.

Twelve years later, Dragon’s Dogma 2 recaptures that magic and expands on it in every way, for better or worse.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 Review (PS5) – The Pinnacle Of A Fantasy Adventure

Exploring Two Vast Lands And A Compelling Narrative

Dragon’s Dogma 2 takes place in a parallel world from the original game so that you won’t encounter the same land or towns. It takes place in the vastly different lands of Vermund and Batthal. Vermund is a lush world full of vegetation, forests, and rocky beaches, while Batthal is a desert city ruled by a Priestess of the Beastren race.

Much like the first game, you are the Arisen. You were slain by a dragon who then consumed your heart, resurrecting you and forcing you to take on a quest to defeat the dragon who stole your heart and took the throne of Vermund.

However, the story in the first game wouldn’t turn heads. Dragon’s Dogma 2 tells a much more cohesive story of political intrigue, conspiracies, and the ever-looming thought of war between Vermund and Batthal.

This time around, the story is presented with many more cutscenes. Utilizing Capcom’s RE Engine, the game’s cinematics are excellent, especially during epic action sequences, and are well animated.

Unfortunately, when the game tells its story through simple dialogue conversations, it does show some limitations. The character’s faces are as stiff as a board, with only their mouths moving, giving off creepy vibes.

Plenty Of New And Returning Vocations For All Playstyles

Outside of the big changes to the game’s narrative, much of Dragon’s Dogma 2 is similar to the first title. After creating your character, you’ll select one of four Vocations or classes: Warrior, Archer, Sage, or Thief.

You can change your Vocation whenever you want at Vocational schools, so you’re never stuck or limited to one class. This is especially good news since you only get one manual save file to play.

As you progress, you’ll gain access to other Vocations, some new, such as the Trickster, and some returning, like the Magick Archer. These new Vocations don’t just unlock independently; you must partake in a quest to unlock them.

Pawns Are More Versatile And Improved AI

Pawns are another core aspect of the game. You can recruit them out in the world as adventurers like you, or you can recruit them through a Rift Stone. In another dimension, you can recruit Pawns created by other players, including some created by Capcom themselves.

The Pawn system has many aspects you can explore to see some of the cool things Pawns can do. The game has its own Pawn leaderboard system so that you can see some of the highest-rated Pawns in the world.

You can also see how well your Pawn is doing as it’s recruited by other players who can like or love your Pawn and even send it back to the Rift with a gift.

Besides your character and your created Pawn, the ones you recruit won’t level up and must constantly be replaced. The good news is you can always favorite a Pawn and then search for them to see if they have progressed any further so that you can recruit them later.

Pawns Are Great Allies When Exploring Pointing Out Points Of Intrest And Treasure Chests

This time, pawns also have specialties based on their personality, essentially their tactics. They can be kindhearted, which means they will stick by your side and protect and heal you, or they can be carefree and act independently, doing whatever they choose.

Pawns point out areas on the map where you can harvest materials and gather them yourself. Some even point out treasure chests and ask you if they should go and retrieve them, which you can command them to do with the tap of a button.

The most useful thing is that they can now lead you to locations you may not know exist. If there is a campsite nearby that you haven’t discovered yet, a Pawn can tell you about it, and you can direct them to lead you where you need to go.

Some Of The Most Rewarding Exploration I’ve Experienced

The world is massive, and exploration is one of Dragons Dogma 2’s best features. There are secrets and dungeons to find worldwide and massive monsters to hunt down for rare materials. Though you can follow the trails and paths, going off the beaten path is extremely rewarding.

You’ll find abandoned ruins and sometimes even raided and destroyed villages that hold secrets to find. Some may even unlock new quests for you to take on to learn what happened to these locations.

Traveling can lead to some frustration, though. The world is massive, and the further you venture out, the longer it will take to find refuge.

Though Dragon’s Dogma 2 does feature a fast travel mechanic, it’s an expensive one to utilize. To travel to locations quickly, you must first find a Portalstone at a location. Once you activate it, you need rare Ferrystone items to utilize fast-travel to the Portalstone.

Ferrystones are extremely rare, and those you can buy cost a brutal amount of currency.

Of course, this can be a big problem for many players, as you’ll be out in the field with heavy packs, and it will take a long time to return to an inn to store your items.

Item Management and Weight Limits Are Debilitating

Thankfully, there are plenty of campsites where you can rest with camping gear that will allow you to heal your party and cook some food that can temporarily increase your stats.

Item management can take more time to deal with than it should. Weight management is an even bigger issue. Everything you carry has weight. Early in the game, your maximum carry weight isn’t that high, so chances are you’ll be running around as a heavy Sage or Archer.

You can increase your max weight capacity with golden beetles you consume, but those are rare to find.

You’ll mostly hand off many of your items and materials to your Pawns as portable storage, but it will also slow them down. There isn’t a way around the weight issue, which is a shame as it can impede your playstyle with more agile characters.

Thankfully, most upgradeable materials don’t need to be on your person to be used to upgrade your weapons and armor; they can be taken right out of your storage box.

There isn’t a crafting system, but you can combine items to create healing potions, specialty arrows, and oil to fuel your lantern.

Exhilarating Combat And Enemies Make Every Encounter Fun

It is also a dangerous world of monsters, thieves, and cultists. Behind tree lines and bridges, ambushes await you. Enemies are extremely intelligent and lay traps for unsuspecting travelers.

I found the enemy encounters exhilarating, and even though you may be facing off against a pack of wolves, every encounter can be dangerous. Enemies can sometimes lead you to a dangerous area to battle, like a cliffside, and then try to knock you off the cliff.

The environment can also be used during encounters. Cutting the ropes holding up a bridge will collapse the bride, dropping anyone to their death. You can even destroy dams, unleashing a title wave and drawing anyone in its way.

It’s incredibly fun to utilize and experiment with, but enemies can and will utilize these hazards against you. The bigger monsters like the Cyclops and Griffins present their own incredible experiences.

The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall

One thing that’s always stood out in Dragon’s Dogma is your ability to scale monsters to reach their weak points, such as the Cyclops’s eye. Utilizing your party, you can pull off some incredible cinematic encounters.

Have your Archer Pawn run on top of your shield for you to fling them into the air so they fly across the sky and grab onto the back of a Cyclops to then slowly scale up to its head, leap off, and shoot it right in the eye knocking it down for your to unleash a barrage of attacks is something special to behold and pull off.

You won’t always be able to pull off these feats as these enemies will begin to appear with protection. Such as armor covering the Cyclops eyes and around their legs to keep you from chopping them down.

Combat is also simple but complex enough for you to create your incredible moments truly. There aren’t any flashy combo mechanics, but your special movies are incredible to look at, and when combined with your teammate’s abilities, they fit perfectly.

Preparation Is Key To Every Encounter

You can only have four skills equipped at once, even though there are dozens to unlock.

Equipping the proper skills for the occasion is a must and goes a long way toward making things easier. You also gain access to passive skills unique to each Vocation. For example, the warrior can parry attacks that stun enemies, while the Sage can levitate to avoid enemies on the ground.

As night falls, hell takes over. I say that literally, as night brings a new caveat of problems. First, you can see anything past a few feet from you with a lantern. Second, the creepy crawlers come out at night: Skeleton Warriors, Ghostly apparitions, and Zombies.

Zombies in particular are nasty bunches that seem easy when there a few to deal with but when a horde of them attacks you relentlessly it’s quite terrifying.

The Pinnacle Of A Fantasy Adventure

Visually, the game can be quite gorgeous. Once again, the RE Engine shows just how amazing it is. I won’t go out and say it’s the best-looking game around, but it’s much more visually pleasing than the dark, muddled visuals of the original.

Animations are once again top-notch, and battles always look and feel frantic due to their weightiness.

Sound design is another standout, with great voice acting throughout and a fantastic soundtrack. The monster noises also stick out, as you hear the crashing of trees as Cyclops approaches or the swooshing sound of Griffin’s wings. Even the alluring sound of the harpies putting you to sleep sounds tantalizing.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is the game you always wished to play as a child when reading epic fantasy novels like Lord of the Rings. Now, you can play that type of fantasy title.

There is just nothing that compares to the experience of Dragon’s Dogma 2 that puts you into a fantasy world and allows you to act out your imagination of being a swift Archer or casting magical spells to scorch the land.

It may not have fixed all the issues in the first game, but it’s still an absolute blast to play from start to finish—if you can distract yourself from adventuring to finish its story.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 releases on March 22, 2024, on the PlayStation, Xbox Series X/S, and PC

Review Code kindly provided by PR



The Final Word

A fantasy adventure for the ages. Dragon's Dogma 2 takes everything that made the first game good and expands on it in everyway. The combat is visceral and engaging l. With a massive world to explore you can loose yourself for days exploring and battling all your favorite fantasy monstrosities. Dragon's Dogma 2 is an incredible adventure no one should miss.