Skip to main content

If there’s ever a franchise worthy of the ‘cult classic’ label, it’s Dragon’s Dogma, a franchise that, as of just this week, has shifted over 10 million copies, including initial sales figures of Dragon’s Dogma 2 coming in at 2.5 million already. While technically it wasn’t the most functional of debut outings, there was a charm to the 2012 original that seemingly garnered the attention of the masses. So much so that the first Dragon’s Dogma not only earned a 2017 remaster (Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen), but now fans are bestowed with a full-blown sequel, one that has all the charm of the original, but with a bit more swagger. Here is our review of Dragon’s Dogma 2 from Capcom.

Story

In Dragon’s Dogma 2, you play as the Arisen, a mysterious figure who’s been touched by a ferocious dragon and thrown head first into a chilling prophecy. As the Arisen, you are effectively the leader of a faction of warriors known as Pawns, and together, you’ll battle against mythical creatures in a series of diverse biomes, trying to not only fulfil the prophecy laid out before you, but to get to the bottom of the Godsway plot. While perfectly entertaining, the quests themselves in Dragon’s Dogma 2 ultimately become an excuse to explore the game’s expansive game world.

Gameplay

In terms overall gameplay, from a mechanical level, Dragon’s Dogma is pretty solid. The different classes you can use and switch between regularly without feeling disadvantaged, and the fact that you can build out your squad with other player’s Pawns, combine to elevate Dragon’s Dogma 2’s combat to an impressive level. Throw in the fact you can use aspects of the open-world in your quest to take down giant foes, while climbing on their backs, to jab your sword in their eye(s), well, that’s what makes Dragon’s Dogma 2 utterly fantastic.

Sure, the melee combat could do with some kind of lock-on system, as it’s a touch unwieldy without it, but other than that, I have very few complaints about the minute-to-minute gameplay. As an experience in that regard, Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a brilliant fantasy adventure simulator.

Dragon's Dogma 2 Review (Xbox Series X) | TheEffect.NetThanks to how the game is structured, the fact you can change classes whenever you wish, and not feel underpowered as a result, is a definite selling point. In fact, in the end, I had loadouts for different classes, so I was able to change my style of play every few hours, just to keep things fresh. Throw in a load of crafting mechanics, special abilities to unlock, and some truly interesting side quests, and there’s as much to do outside of the main content of the game as there on the critical path. So much so, I spent tens of hours in our playthrough just exploring, without a care in the world.

Where Dragon’s Dogma 2 is perhaps a touch disappointing, is in how certain aspects of the game are communicated. Some of the main quests are just straight up confusing, and in regards to the quests in and around the city hubs, the less said about them, the better. One such example encompasses what are effectively stealth missions, in a game with no sneaking mechanics. If you get seen, you are beaten and taken to jail. That’s it. Thankfully, these quests and moments are few and far between, but still stick out as an utterly bizarre and baffling design decision.

When it comes to some of the main and side quests, too, some of their solutions are hugely illogical. The perfect example of this is to be found in a side quest where in order to conclude it, you have to use the grab button to apprehend a nun, who is just literally standing there – it never dawned on us to just grab someone to conclude a side quest (unless we were chasing someone), and it’s remarkably unclear. The solutions to that particular quest, and some of Dragon’s Dogma 2’s other quests, are seemingly more luck than judgement at times. To say that some of them require complete guesswork definitely an understatement.

Some of the main story missions can be a bit disjointed at times too. On numerous occasions I found myself in weird situations that I could only solve through sheer perseverance and banging my head against the wall until something worked. The thing is, these mildly confusing and bewildering aspects of the game pale in comparison to the actual meat of the game: the exploration.

The truth is, much of the fun in Dragon’s Dogma 2 comes from said exploration and the mystery as to what lies at the end of the beaten path. Whether it’s a new boss, a nice piece of loot, or if you’ve ventured forth through a certain cave system up to the shrine at the top of a mountain – there are pleasant surprises to be discovered around every corner.

Granted, a lot of your time will be spent traversing the massive open-world, just getting from A to B, especially as fast-travelling is ridiculously expensive, but you’ll still have fun along the way. However, I would say that Dragon’s Dogma 2 requires a pretty insane amount of patience. If you have that in your locker, you’re going to absolutely adore Capcom’s follow-up.

Visuals

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a pretty impressive visual showpiece in most instances, especially running on the Xbox Series X (or PS5/PC) with raytracing enabled. Textures are generally polished and environments detailed, even if the general colour palette of the world feels a bit bland and muddy at times. But the animations are mostly smooth and I rarely came across any strange gameplay bugs that affected my time with Dragon’s Dogma 2 in any significant way.

Dragon's Dogma 2 Review (Xbox Series X) | TheEffect.NetThe performance, on the other hand, leaves a little more to be desired. Capcom’s RE-Engine doesn’t really hold up when it comes to delivering a smooth 60 FPS experience. In fact, it doesn’t deliver it at all. While you can opt-in for a capped 30 FPS experience, the uncapped alternative barely hits and stays above 40 FPS. It’s far from broken, but I would be lying if the experience didn’t drop considerably in busier areas and packed combat scenarios either.

Conclusion

Overall, despite all of its various strange gameplay decisions and quirks, the game itself has numerous moments of brilliance. I, for one, will never forget the countless epic random encounters I happened upon whilst out exploring the wilderness, especially the time I watched from afar a cyclops take down a horde of goblins whilst simultaneously being attacked by a griffin. It was phenomenal. So, if you can get past the jankiness in the game’s quests, Dragon’s Dogma 2 proves to be an unforgettable, immensely rewarding experience.

Dragon's Dogma 2 Review (Xbox Series X) | TheEffect.NetDragon’s Dogma 2 Pricing & Availability

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is available now on PC, Xbox Series X|S and PS5, starting at €64.99 on Steam. 

REVIEW: Dragon's Dogma 2
  • Story
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals
4.2

Summary

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is an epic if slightly uneven experience with moments of brilliance interspersed with some random gameplay design choices. If you can get past these though, you’re sure to have an absolute fantasy blast.

John Reilly

John is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheEffect.Net. His favourite gaming series is Uncharted and his favourite film is Interstellar. He is also known to quote 'Father Ted' and Keith Lemon more than is normal. John@theeffect.net