And I loved it. Dragon's Dogma exposed to me why I had a hard time getting into Skyrim (and most other recent RPGs because, let's face it, sadly Skyrim is better than most).
- Their combat mechanics suck so hard
- They are too lazy to use the medium to tell a story, so they just stock up with silly NPCs that stand around to opine to strangers about everything about everything about everything
I was cool with Oblivion because 1) I wasn't burned out on stuff yet, and 2) you could really make things fun with Athletics, Acrobatics, and Speed/Jump boosting spells. They took all that out of Skyrim so Skyrim was just like a dumbed-down Oblivion with better graphics. So I haven't really loved an RPG since Oblivion (besides the Souls series, but that's practically a different genre).
Sorry to go on about TES games, but they are a good frame of reference.
So...DD was a breath of fresh air. The feel of the action is varied and fun and just a cut above what I've come to expect from an RPG, and it's got that extended replayability that most RPG's don't have. Also, DD trusts the player to follow the story, instead of having it read to you in excruciating detail by poorly voiced NPCs. In fact, if you skipped the side quests and just ran straight through the main quest line you might wind up with little idea what the hell was going on in the world. I like that, the story is as much a reward for playing as it is context for playing.
I really liked how the Dragonforged, the Duke, the Dragon and the Seneschal each turned out to be a reflection of the Arisen's possible futures depending on the player's 'choices'. It really extended the story, kind of fleshing out a whole post-game story at the same time you were playing through the core story, even though you wouldn't understand it until the game was over. That's a great example of trusting the player to follow the story instead of sh*tting it all over their face with immersion breaking exposition.
Considering DD was a new IP, it's a pretty amazing game. I can't wait to see what they'll follow it up with now that they've got reduced risk / a success on their hands.