Dragons Dogma, a game loved and hated by so many. Many loved it for its wide open areas and difficulty that actually challenged players, others called it ‘the Japanese Skyrim’, and criticised it heavily for its lack of multiplayer. Now nearly a year later, we’re back with the arisen with Dragons Dogma: Dark Arisen to continue the story of your character by taking them to Bitterblack Isle.
Dragons Dogma for those who have not played it is a 3rd person action game, set in a fantasy world. You have been cursed after the hatching/awakening of the Dragon (Or Wyvern or Wyrm depending on your preference). You travel across the land accompanied by pawns, a series of people from the pawn guild, whose sole purpose seem to be to follow the arisen to his final quest of slaying the very dragon that cursed him. Dark Arisen is less of a sequel, more of a slight expansion pack, something we have come to expect from games such as Skyrim. The Bitterblack Isle is mostly all that was added to the game, considering you get the full version of Dragons Dogma alongside it, it seems strange why Capcom would release it as a standalone game instead of releasing it as DLC. Those of you who already loved the original are going to feel a little ripped off knowing you will need to shell out for what could have been sold as a £20 add-on, instead of a £40 game, but I’m sure you can knock some of the price off with trade ins.
It should be noted that if you haven’t played Dogma before, Bitterblack isle is a very high level area, even though you can access it from the village you start off in, a mistake I made at first, and after being destroyed fairly quickly by the first wolf I found, realised that I should level up, and gain better equipment before tackling this area again.
The new areas in Dark Arisen are very different from what most people are used too, the sprawling areas from the first game are gone, replaced with a massive castle, small hallways and tunnels are now the name of the game. If the previous version was akin to Skyrim, this is best described as being like Dark Souls – dark and misty halls block the ability to see too far, with some dim rooms being filled with spiders. Unless you’re looking to grind, a board out the front shows all missions that need to be completed in the castle, with one finding the body of the ghostly woman who brought you here. Though the beginning ones are pretty simple, there is a lot to complete whilst here, which fleshes out Dark Arisens content considerably.
There are no new classes to play, still only the three from the previous game, infact the only new addition to this game is new areas, weapons and armour. It would have been nice to have a few more classes to choose from, considering the lack of choice, or even see some over hauling of the current ones. As it stands, picking a wizard/mage whilst playing on hard is just cause for a headache due to how underpowered they are until you get some new weapons/skills. Also the complete lack of multiplayer outside of sending your pawns off to other worlds, was one of the single biggest complaint of the first game, and again it is still lacking here, Capcom could of secured many more sales with the addition of multiplayer co-op, it’s a shame to see such an ambitious title lose the opportunity to become a fantastic co-op experience.
Graphically nothing has changed in the first version, textures are still muddy and surprisingly low resolution, characters are again just as unimpressive, hair is a particular annoyance to me, though in some areas with the amount of action on screen, you won’t be staring at much apart from who you want to kill next. In Dark Arisen there have been some changes, though I’m not sure if this is due to the fog/dark of the new levels, whilst animations of the characters look smooth and animate well, it’s a shame to consider what other games like Dark Souls or other open world games like Red Dead Redemption have managed, and still look better than what is on offer here.
Considering you get the first version of the game bundled with this, you would assume that it’s the best deal since White knight chronicles 2, but whilst that was 2 stand alone games bundled together, you have to remember that for those who have already bought Dragons dogma, you are paying £20 for the same game with an expansion added, though this does mean your previous copy is just taking up space unless your a die hard collector for anything Capcom. If Capcom had released this has both on disk and as DLC for a discounted price, it would of made sure no one feels left out. But the game is a solid add on to one of the better action RPG’s to of come out in 2012, as of now Dragons dogma Dark Arisen only competitor is Dark Souls 2 which will not be here till later this year
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.