Game Reviews

Dragon’s Dogma 2 review

One heck of a journey for a dogged traveller

₹ 4,474

Forget everything you’ve been programmed to understand from modern open-world RPG games. Pointy markers funnelling you to the next mission? Not here. Convenient towers unlocking region activities? Not here. Fast travel instantly anywhere and clear a checklist of missions? Sorry, but Dragon’s Dogma 2 doesn’t do conventional. Easy and convenient? Pfft, forget it. Dragon’s Dogma 2 never handholds the player but throws you headfirst into its dense, intimidating open world. 

It’s one of those games that will frustrate you initially, but a few hours in, you’ll be hooked like an audience at a magic show. It grows on you and frankly, we haven’t had this much fun exploring in a video game since Skyrim and Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 review: Story

You, the Arisen, get your heart stolen by a dragon, and not in a romantic way. The journey is to reclaim your rightful place in the palace as the ruling king who is marked by a dragon. So you must work through and thwart the conniving politics that placed an imposter in your place. That pretty much sets the premise for the entire game as it sends you across its massive map in search of the next clue to expose the nefarious royalty stationed at the palace.

Visually and on the surface, the world of Dragon’s Dogma 2 might seem like the many cookie-cutter Western medieval worlds around, but the little things add up over time to make this game’s world a class apart from the others.

Side stories and missions are not given to you because you peered at the map. Instead, for mainline and side quests, NPCs approach you as you roam its cities and open world and some optional side quests are given when you interact with an NPC. It makes you want to explore the cities and talk to all the NPCs, instead of just running into caves and intriguing spots with monsters.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 review: Gameplay

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is an action RPG, and there are classes called Vocations that you can select and switch between at whim. There’s a Fighter, Thief, Mage, Archer, Sorcerer, Warrior, Mystic Spearhand, Magick Archer, Trickster and Warfarer. The first four on this list are available to you from the start while the rest unlock eventually as you progress through the game. You also unlock more moves as you play with a particular vocation class, but the level cap is 10 so you’ll want to change things up often. Unlocking the permanent buffs from vocations is probably a major reason to try every vocation because they can be used with other vocations that increase your chances of survival in this game’s challenging world.

Don’t worry though, the checkpoint-kissing difficulty only forces you to adapt to the game initially. Once you’ve mastered the art of tactically resting and balancing your party, the game becomes a thrilling adventure of fortune (and misfortune). Your party consists of you, your loyal Pawn, and two other pawns that are made by other players. It’s not a typical multiplayer game but the concept of player-linked pawns is a remarkably smart game mechanic.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 review: Pawns

Essentially, the lore of the game says that other worlds are linked to your world through a rift. You, the Arisen, can access the rift and bring pawns of other players into your world and consequently, send your pawn to aid other players too. A party of four consists of two pawns in your party from other players, along with you and your loyal pawn. Pawns are crucial to the gameplay as they serve the Arisen unconditionally. 

They attack automatically depending on their four assigned attacks and their temperament. My pawn was straightforward and would rush into a fight if it saw one. However, it was a double-edged sword, because I had to revive my pawn quite often initially when it was under-levelled to take on a 20-foot monstrosity. That changed as we levelled up and gained better gear.

Pawns also bring back stories of loot, mission areas and interesting places to explore. As you wander around the map, pawns who have visited the place with previous players will inform you that they know of a spot that might be of interest to you. It’s the most natural way of chasing curiosity in an open-world game that I have ever played. This system even beats Legend of Zelda’s spectacularly designed open world. You can easily finish the main story without ever coming across some mission areas, side quests and even some vocations! The only way to cover everything in Dragon’s Dogma 2 is to let yourself explore the game’s map and follow your intrigue.

Capcom has added bits of Monster Hunter here as well. You can climb onto bigger enemies and hack away at their tender bits. Sometimes, you can even hack enemy parts, in particular, to make them weaker first and also gather that material for upgrading items. Pro-tip, Medusa’s head can be hacked off and then be used to turn anything into a stone!

Dragon’s Dogma 2 review: open world

Our only gripe is that the monster variety is rather limited. Goblins, ogres, harpies and wolves are littered across the map and after a point, you’ll see stronger variants of these beasts. The game remains challenging, but from the makers of Monster Hunter, we expected more variety. 

You also lose permanent health until you rest. Some of the health is recoverable but as you keep trudging through the forests and caves without rest, the health bar starts to chip away. Even your pawns will mention how they’re getting tired. So resting at campsites is crucial, and if you bring meat to cook, it can add important buffs to your party. Repeating this process while you explore is pretty much the adventurer’s way in Dragon’s Dogma 2, but it may get boring later in the game.

Oh, and you can kill any character in this game, even the ones crucial to the main quest. But you can revive them using Wakestones any time and their bodies will be available at the morgue if you can’t find it.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 review: Graphics

We played the game on the PlayStation 5, and during our review period a couple of patches fixed the performance issue where the frames would drop in crowded cities. It’s not the most graphically stunning game, but it’s pretty in its way. NPCs don’t have many expressions, but the world is detailed with lore and flavourful art style. 

The character creator is one of the best we’ve seen and lets you create almost any look you desire. You also get to design your pawn with the same level of detail. Safe to say, you can spend hours just creating your character, if you want to.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 review: Verdict

Dragon’s Dogma 2 throws you into a deep open world with a challenging learning curve. Forget quest markers and fast travel – exploration is key. The pawn system is ingenious, letting you borrow AI companions from other players and share your pawn. While the smaller monster variety is a letdown, the deep combat, character creation, and world full of secrets make Dragon’s Dogma 2 an unforgettable adventure, especially for RPG veterans seeking a true open-world experience.

Stuff Says

Simply one of the best RPG games - don’t sleep on it unless you’re afraid of exploring the unknown!
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Fantastic story

  1. Fun exploration

  1. The pawn system is brilliant

  1. Bigger enemies are fun to battle

  1. Enemy variety gets boring quickly

  1. No quest guidance