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access_time April 11, 2012 at 7:31 PM in Previews by Ramon Aranda

Preview | Dragon’s Dogma

A recent visit to Capcom’s offices in San Francisco gave us some time to get a close look at their latest build of the upcoming action-RPG, Dragon’s Dogma.

The game itself is quite unique to Capcom, who’s always been known for action titles whereas Dragon’s Dogma certainly looks like an RPG.  Still, the company brands it as an action game with RPG elements and it’s not difficult to see why.

Dragon’s Dogma kicks off with our main character having his heart literally ripped out from his chest from a Dragon.  To keep things simple, the ultimate quest is to get it back.  Before embarking on said journey, players will first get to create their character using a full editor suite that lets you tweak just about anything you want, in order to put together a unique hero.  Aside from physical attributes, you’ll also select from one of three job classes: the fighter, strider and mage.  The fighter goes into battle with a sword, while the strider has his trusty bow and the mage, as you’d expect, can shame you with his magical powers.  As you progress through the game, you can enhance your job class to warrior, ranger and sorcerer and ultimately blend job classes to create a mystic knight (fighter/mage), assassin (fighter, strider) and magic archer (strider, mage).  You’ll never be tied down to one vocation however, as you can, during the campaign, change it.

While the game is a single-player game, you do fight alongside three other characters, for a total party of 4.  There is your main pawn, who is essentially your sidekick and two other pawns.  However, Capcom has added another element into the game, which is the art of sharing, which opens up some interesting possibilities.  For starters, your main pawn can actually be shared with friends, such that they can use them in their own campaign.  The really cool part of this is that your pawn then comes back with items, loot and knowledge of what they have seen and done in your friends’ quests.  This in turn makes them smarter and essentially more aware of what’s going on.  If you happen to be playing while your friend is using your main pawn, there’s no kind of interference at all – it’s all done seamlessly.  You will be joined by your main pawn while he continues to take part in your friends’ quests.

As for the summoning portion of pawns, you can head over to the Pawn Guild where you can use rift stones to nab a pawn.  Now the rift stones themselves can be earned by sharing your main pawn, so the two go hand in hand. Within the Pawn Guild, you can specify your search by experience level, your friends, character type and skills.  It’s free to summon pawns at your same level or lower, but will cost you rift stones to summon those that are higher.  Pawns from your own friends list however won’t cost you rift stones either.

Towards the end of the demo, we were allowed to get our hands on the game itself.  First we roamed around in the main capital – Gran Soren.  Within the capital, we walked around and talked to a few NPCs while also getting a hang of the game’s impressive physics.  In one instance, we picked up an NPC and proceeded to throw him off a ledge. The poor bastard, tumbled, flipped and flopped his way to the ground.  Even when we simply ran with him on our shoulders, the character’s limbs and head moved about naturally.  Another cool feature of the game is the ability to take in-game screenshots and share them via Facebook or Twitter, which is cool when you do something funny in the game.

Finally we jumped into a boss battle that required us to get down and dirty.  We made good use of our magic skills and long-ranged attacks, as the rather large enemy would pounce us when we got close.  Taking a page from Shadow of the Colossus, we were also able to grab on and climb up to the beast’s head to stab him in the face.  You can also do damage to certain areas, such as the legs, arms and torso; the enemies react accordingly.  After a heated battle, we downed the beast and thus ended our demo.

From what we saw and played, Dragon’s Dogma comes off as an approachable action-RPG title that looks easy enough to pick up and play but one that may offer a good amount of depth.

The game is scheduled for a May 22 release on the  Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.


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