Dragon’s Dogma Review (or why I’m returning my first game)

Title:  Dragon’s Dogma
Company: Capcom
System: PS3
Cost: $55

I’ve never actually returned a game before.  Usually when the shop keeper describes the 7 day window to return a used game it glosses over me because I know I’ll hardly take the time to go back and claim $15.  But after six days I’ve decided to return Dragon’s Dogma.  Why you ask?  Well a long list of reasons, but at least partly because it was the rare game that I bought at release price and so it seems like a waste to let it sit on the shelf.

I’m not going to pretend that I’ve played enough of the game to give an unbiased review.  I haven’t, but that’s because I have a small feeling of revulsion whenever I start it up.  First the bad, everything is voiced.  Why is this bad?  Because the dialogue and the voice acting are unmitigated disasters.  They will suck you out of the story at every turn.  The graphics aren’t rough, but that’s also the problem.  They’re shinny and artificial, like an iOS game.   And you realize not only are the graphics ugly, they completely run against the tone of the story.  And finally the grind.  There’s a story here, but it’s lost behind relentless asinine quests that also constantly pull you from the story.

But I would be lying if I said there are things here that I really enjoy.  The pawn system is flawed, but it’s not the huge determent that people make it out to be.  It can be enjoyable playing ring-leader to a party of powered up morons.  But the things I really respect are the details.  For missing the mark so far on the big things, it follows through with intricate care on the small things.  The way you design your character matters, the way you assemble your party matters.  The amount of items you carry and what they are also matters.  And the biggest strength is the combat.  While the graphics aren’t pretty, at least during combat everything is amazingly fluid.  The moves your perform, the animations, it all works well.  It’s simple yet strategic, and taking down the large beasts is really the only reason to play Dragon’s Dogma.  In combat, the game accomplishes everything that it set out to be.

Dragon’s Dogma is not your average game, but it deserves an average rating at best.  That being said, Dragon’s Dogma 2 could be something special.

Score:  2 stars
Memory:  The horrible J-Rock song at the main menu screen (sort of endearing, because it encapsulates everything that’s wrong with the game)

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Owen is a writer based out of Denver and currently preparing his first novel PUSH PULL for publication. In the meantime, feel free to explore his meandering thoughts, movie and videogame op-eds and situational playlists. If you know him from another life, this is a chance for exposure to his creative endeavors. www.owensader.com

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