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Dragon’s Dogma 2 Review – The Worthiest of Successors

A game that's bound to become an all-time classic

Dragon’s Dogma 2 on PC

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Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a modern title that’s on par with the most ambitious open-world games of the current generation while maintaining an experience that is reminiscent of older games. It’s sometimes janky, and other times just completely vague and confusing. But, figuring out this world and its puzzles is a key part of the experience.

Left on your own to figure out this massive world and its complex questlines with barely any handholding from the game. Characters will die, wrong decisions will be made, and at some points it will frustrate you. However, I can now say that all of this is necessary to truly enjoy Dragon’s Dogma 2.

For clarity’s sake, I’ve personally put in 40 hours already. Dragon’s Dogma 2 evokes the same sense of scale and dynamic open-world scenarios such as something like The Witcher 3, while also feeling like Elden Ring in terms of its difficulty and gameplay loop. Those are two games lauded as all-time greats and Dragon’s Dogma 2 fully deserves the comparison.

Dragon's Dogma 2 vermund capital centre with statue foundtain
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So let’s get into what makes the game such a riveting experience. But before that, we’ll get into the turn-offs that could dissuade many of you from embarking on what could be a truly remarkable experience.

To first disappoint many of you, Dragon’s Dogma 2 is not a game for everyone. There are no difficulty settings and the game unabashedly follows the choices of its development team, throwing out many standard practices from modern open-world titles. To put it simply, Dragon’s Dogma 2 does not hold your hand and it throws you to the wolves if you’re not prepared to learn all of its systems.

The systems I’m talking about are something unique to Dragon’s Dogma 2 and without adapting to them, you cannot master and appreciate the gameplay loop. There is no convenient method of fast travel, especially early on. Quest objectives will be vague and it’s your job to figure them out on your own. Sometimes the quests will be timed and if you’re not managing things such as HP, rest time, food storages, inventory, and Pawns, you’ll be too tired or take too long to finish a quest you spent hours on. Add to this the lack of save files, and rookie mistakes like those will be punished in a hardcore fashion.

Dragon's Dogma 2 raid on oxcart
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These are all tough pills to swallow, and you’ll be running (yes most of the travel is done via sprinting) around a ruthless open world with hordes of enemies and bosses popping up every two minutes, while you struggle to manage your inventory. The lack of guidance extends to the main story quests too, as the game is fairly non-linear and you have a ridiculously massive open world to explore. 40 hours in and I feel I’ve only scratched the surface.

The game also looks a bit dated graphically, but that’s not really a major concern for me, especially when its worlds and systems are so expansive. However, beware of movement jank and some questionable hitbox detection as you explore. The AI pathing in Dragon’s Dogma 2 is also really basic, which can sometimes result in comedy and other times be incredibly frustrating.

Dragon's Dogma 2 false king on the throne
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However, if you’re someone who is up to the challenge, and manages to adapt to this gameplay loop, you’ll have your very own personal connection with this title. It’s a similar phenomenon to the Dark Souls games where individual players and the community bond over the hurdles they’ve all undoubtedly faced at one point or another. So, you’ll have to give the game a couple of hours before it really “clicks” for you. If that sounds like an experience for you, then I’ll start getting into everything amazing the game has to offer.

The best compliment I can give the game is that the world feels dynamic and alive. Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a love letter to the first game and its fans, and Capcom has really achieved something by bringing this massive world to life. When you head out into the wild, you’ll likely be following one of the set paths on the map. However, on these paths, you’ll run into enemy camps, bosses, wanderers and soldiers in need of help, pawns, surprise quests, caverns (dungeons essentially), and a lot more.

There’s a lack of convenient Fast Travel options for better or worse. On the one hand, it makes getting around anywhere a complete chore, especially when you’re travelling back from the objective. On the other hand, it forces you to adapt and plan out every journey and expedition multiple steps in advance. It also forces you to actually interact with the massive open world and you can bet most players will be going to check out all the Points of Interests littered about.

Dragon's Dogma 2 oxcart fast travel to city
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Enemies and NPCs vary across countries and biomes and all of this together gives the world a real sense of being full and alive. You have the medieval mountains and plains of Vermund, the harsh Deserts of Bakttahl, or the Elven forests in the North. Exploration isn’t pointless either. Rarely have I ventured off the beaten path into a cave or enemy camp and felt that my efforts were in vain. The game’s solid combat system makes sure that even combat feels rewarding once you master it.

I’ll be honest, I started off with the Archer Vocation and the early-game felt pretty miserable. Luckily, picking a Vocation is not the end of things. The game is incredibly generous and the NPCs remind you that you’re free to swap your Vocation at any time. Each class comes with a unique playstyle and skills that get a lot more impressive the more you level them.

My character went from a bumbling fool with a bow to a perpetually blazing explosive thief and then to an invincible magical warrior with infinite stamina. Exploring and mastering different classes in Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a ton of fun, so we highly recommend it.

Dragon's Dogma 2 all vocations from menu
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Of course, combat is nothing without fearsome foes to face and Dragon’s Dogma 2 is no slouch on this end either. Griffins, Cyclops, Golems, Medusas, Manticores and, of course, Dragons are a few of the standout bosses that you get accustomed to hunting down on your travels in a gameplay loop reminiscent of Monster Hunter.

When you explore the already bustling world and reach a point where the game decides to throw multiple bosses at you, it’s a dangerous but exciting feeling that is honestly very immersive. Sure I’m struggling with this Golem, but I won’t be surprised when a Griffin swoops down to fight it and now I have to deal with both of them. Moments like these are set-piece worthy, but they occur organically all the time in Dragon’s Dogma 2.

Dragon's Dogma 2 a golem fighting a griffin
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You will have to figure out your own best class and the team of Pawns that goes best alongside it. Pawns are an incredibly unique mechanic as the game requires you to constantly change them as you get stronger. You’re actively experimenting with all sorts of team comps and viewing them in action to figure out a play style that will suit you the best.

I might not have played as a Sorcerer, but I’ve seen what they can do through my Pawns and it’s a class I’d be excited to try next. There’s a lot of variety in their design and personalities, which just goes to show how in-depth the character creator in this game goes.

Dragon's Dogma 2 pawn named goth gf
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What makes the Pawns fun is the voice acting and quips that they make while you explore. Sure, they’re limited and you often get repetitive dialogue, but the voice acting is done with enough effort behind it that you can still appreciate all of it. The same goes for the voice acting for the rest of the game. The side characters and story moments are treated to some great voice acting work done by people immersed in their roles. I even caught myself espousing some archaic English nonsense to a friend because I’d been playing this game too much.

This same passion extends to all the side quests in Dragon’s Dogma 2. I’ve never finished a side quest and felt it was meaningless. The quests in this game challenge you to actively think to figure out the gimmick behind them. You might have to find hidden doors, try different times of the day, wear specific clothing, or read descriptions, but you’ll have to think outside the box to solve all the quests.

I’d often complete quests not for the quest reward, but simply for the satisfaction of solving the puzzles the game threw at me. They can definitely get frustrating, but if you’re someone who loves connecting dots and hates the quest markers from modern gaming, you’ll have a blast. There are quests within quests and rewards for those who go out of their way to find them. There’s a very real retro gaming feel to the experience that’s hard to find nowadays.

Dragon's Dogma 2 talking to assassin prisoner in jail
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Dragon’s Dogma 2 is an action-adventure open-world title that’s on the hardcore side of difficulty and wants you to master its systems. Once you do this, you can look forward to at least 100 hours of exciting exploration, explosive combat, puzzling quests, and an immersive experience that’s like no other. The team at Capcom has really nailed it with this one, and I’m excited to see what the endgame and potential DLC for Dragon’s Dogma 2 holds.

If you haven’t gotten a copy of Dragon’s Dogma 2 yet, it’s available for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC on March 22, 2024.


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Author
Image of Syed Hamza Bakht
Syed Hamza Bakht
A freelance journalist passionate about games and technology. You'll find me working at publications such as Gfinity and Twinfinite, trying to gather as many game codes as possible! Otherwise, I can be found struggling against my giant backlog of games.