Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen PC review


Long ago in the year of 2012, Capcom came out with Dragon’s Dogma, a medieval action-RPG exclusively for Xbox 360 and PS3. Now, almost four years later, PC gamers are able to get in on the action with Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, an enhanced edition of the game released in 2013 with upgraded textures, Japanese dialogue, and an extra area called Bitterback Isle.

Right off the bat, the game is no lazy port. The most basic of graphical settings are there like antisotropic filtering, anti-aliasing, v-sync, I could go on. It’s also really well optimized with only a couple of framerate studdering in oddly specific areas in the world. Even though I ran this game on my R9 390, you shouldn’t have a problem running it on a lower-end card considering the graphics haven’t changed much since 2012. Playing on a mouse and keyboard is also the recommended way to go as you can bind items to keys which can be extremely helpful mid-battle. Since these are the most changes the PC version offers, here’s the official review of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen.


You take on the role of a citizen in a fishing village called Cassardis, which is soon attacked by a newly-awoke dragon signifying the end of days. After a failed attempt of fighting the dragon by yourself, it tells you that you’re the chosen one and eats your heart. You are then revived as The Arisen and are destined to kill the dragon and take back your heart. In order to do this, you must enlist the help of AI-controlled allies called Pawns. Not only do they serve as a key element in the story, but they will determine whether or not you succeed in most fights. Along with your custom-made primary pawn, you can recruit two other pawns of the same level as your character or you can use Rift Crystals to buy higher-level ones. The thing about these pawns is that they’re all made by other players and when you go to sleep at a lodge, your own pawn will go out and assist other players online. This becomes extremely helpful because your pawn can complete a quest you haven’t done yet and will know more on how to complete it.


What I like most about Dragon’s Dogma is that it has a heavier emphasis on combat than any other action-RPG I’ve played in the past few years, other than Dark Souls. Matter of fact, it reminds me a lot of the Souls games in terms of difficulty; it could be that the checkpoints are spread so far apart among the game world that dying becomes more infuriating than it should be. I once played for what felt like an hour until I died and lost all my progress! What I then found out is that swapping out the two pawns with those of higher or equal levels will assist greatly. There are three basic vocations: Fighter, Strider, and Mage. I was a Fighter, skilled in the ways of sword and shield. I had abilities that would literally slice foes into the air, but I have to give Mages credit, they saved my life countless times with their healing magic. The only thing Leveling Up does for your character and pawns is to give them more health, so merchants will be your best friend throughout the journey as you spend a countless amount of coin buying their wares.

The best way to get more coin is to complete quests. You can find most of them on town bulletin boards, but they mainly range from “defeat a certain number of creatures”.  The ones with a bit of story behind them are a bit harder to find. Sometimes these quests overstay their welcome and just when you think you’re about to finally beat one, it throws something else at you. There was one quest where I tried to evict a family from their home and I had to get the approval of the wife and son in order for the husband to agree. After getting their consent, I struggled to find the husband in town because the AI moves depending on the time of day and there was no quest-marker on the mini-map. When I found him, he asked for 30,000 coins I didn’t have and I was furious.


A feature I would’ve appreciated in the process of quest-picking is that of a level recommendation similar to that of The Witcher 3‘s; if a task is too difficult at your current state, it will tell you. This is not the case with Dragon’s Dogma. One quest led me right to a boss that I wasn’t even close to being ready for. Speaking of bosses, the game has a fair lot of them and they usually take a long time to beat. I was stuck in a cave fighting a troll for 10 minutes until my party finally got crushed. There was also a time I was exploring the world and I ran into a Chimera that totally wiped the floor with us. The game recommends you gather experience before taking on some quests, which I could forgive if the open-world was a little more dense. There are roads to cross leading to specific areas in the kingdom; wander off the beaten path for the tiniest bit and you’ll run into some danger. Strength in numbers couldn’t be more true in Dragon’s Dogma. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been ganged up by a group of bandits who’ve decided to stab me one-after-the-other with no time to recover.


Final Reaction

If you’re looking to quench your action/adventure RPG thirst after playing The Witcher 3 or Fallout 4, you may find yourself a bit disappointed with Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen. It’s less of an exploration game and more of a skill-based action one at that, which if the latter is what you’re into then by all means get it! Even if your rig isn’t the most powerful, you shouldn’t have any trouble running this game at low to medium settings. One of the reasons I wasn’t so big on this game is that I went in with the wrong expectations; this one caters more to the Dark Souls and Monster Hunter crowd than the Skyrim crowd. After realizing that, I began slowly enjoying it more and more.

Rating: 3.5/5 Atoms

NR 3_5 Atoms - B-

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