A new life for Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen on PC – Hands on Preview

Dragon’s Dogma was released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 back in 2012. It was praised as an unique open-world RPG for its blend of mechanics that took inspiration from Skyrim, Shadow of the Colossus and Dark Souls. The following year, it was re-released as Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, which included all the original content, plus an entire new questline and region. All the downloadable content from the original release was bundled in for free, alongside new weapons, armor and skill upgrades.

Fast forward three years and Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is finally heading to PC. It is scheduled for released in January 2016 and will have all the original and additional content included.DDDA_PC_screen_04After a short prologue, the story opens with a dragon; unseen in the kingdom for years; suddenly appears and attacks the small fishing village of Cassardis. You feebly try to fend off the dragon, only to be knocked down and your heart stolen by the dragon. You revive as an Arisen and set out alongside three party members to hunt down the dragon and reclaim your heart. The conclusion of Dragon’s Dogma is completely unexpected and will catch you off guard. So although the story is well known to those who have played through it on console, it’s highly recommend that you don’t spoil yourself.

It feels like an adventure with friends; reminiscent of an off-line MMO.

The world of Dragon’s Dogma is set in the vast kingdom of Gransys. With a variety of environments, monsters and loot to discover, there’s a lot to explore. You can talk to every NPC in the game and each exchange is fully voice acted in both English and Japanese.dragons-dogma-pc-3You can play as a male or a female character and you’ll be spending a lot of time fine tuning your appearance during character creation. There are a lot of options to play around with, such as hair style, facial features, tattoos, body size and different body proportions.

You will employ the help of three Pawns to accompany you on your journey. Pawns are computer controlled mercenaries that you can summon forth from a different dimension; known as the Rift. Rather than venturing across the land alone, it feels like an adventure with friends; reminiscent of an off-line MMO.

Out of these three Pawns, you get to create one who will be permanently paired with you. The two additional Pawns that you summon are created by other players. While you’re offline, your Pawn can be summoned by other players to assist in their adventures, returning with items that they picked up along the way.

As you defeat enemies and complete quests, your Pawns gain more knowledge in that area. Summoning a Pawn that has already completed a specific quest will give you tips on what to do and where to go, or summoning a Pawn that has knowledge about Griffins will give you advice on strategy.dragons-dogma-pc-1When you start out, you get to pick from one of three basic classes. A Fighter excels at close-ranged combat, wielding a sword for offense and a shield for defending enemy attacks. A Mage uses staves to amplify their magic abilities. While a Strider is swift in combat, using bows to take down enemies from a distance or dashing in with daggers to finish off an enemy.

After you get a little bit further into the game, these options quickly branch out to a total of nine options. You unlock access to a more specialised route of the three basic classes and a hybrid of them too. Unlike other RPGs, Dragon’s Dogma doesn’t lock you into the one class. You can spend your skill points however you want, whether it’s switching to a different class or unlocking different abilities.dragons-dogma-pc-4Whether you’re swinging a sword, shooting an arrow or casting a spell, each attack feels fluid and impactful. Whether you’re ploughing through a number of goblins or taking on a dragon, each fight is enjoyable in its own way. Each class is unique in its abilities and play style and there is no wrong way to play. With the potential to have four different classes in your party, you’re encouraged to experiment to find the best composition for the battle ahead.

Planning is everything. One second you could be running towards a settlement, and the next you could be attacked by a Griffin or Cyclops. Most of these enemies have specific weak spots that you can exploit to stagger them or deal extra damage. Similar to climbing up terrain, you can climb up large enemies to help you reach their weak spots and evade their attacks. These monster encounters are feats of their own and while they may take multiple attempts to defeat, but when you finally succeed, they are extremely rewarding.dragons-dogma-pc-2Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen on PC will be available in January 2016.