So, I think this might be my surprise GOTY.

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#1 Edited by Zeik (2440 posts) -

I only got it recently because it was free on PS+, but it far exceeded my expectations. I didn't pick it up prior because I had the impression it was basically a Dark Souls knock-off and the demo didn't do much to convince me otherwise. I don't think I could have been more wrong on that one. I just finished my second playthrough (in a row) and I'm still pretty tempted to start it back up and play again on hard. (Which I still might do.) There are very few games that can keep my interest two playthroughs in a row, much less a potential third. I don't often like to settle on a GOTY, because I don't think enjoyment is that easy to define, but all things considered I don't think any other game I've played this year has captured my attention quite the way this game has. (Which is kind of crazy, since I think there were actually some really great releases this year.)

The game does a lot of things that I feel like I don't see nearly enough in video games, but I think the major one for me is how much direct interaction you can have with the enemies. It's not just that you can climb all over the big monsters Shadow of the Colossus style (which is cool) but more that they have so many points of interaction and ways they react to your various attacks. In most games when if you fought a cyclops it would mostly just be dodging attacks and then whacking its feet until you win. Which you can do, (even if it's hardly the most effective way), or you could climb on its back and start slashing its head or eye (while avoiding grabs), shoot it in the eye with arrows, you could attack the feet until it falls down, giving you easier access to the weakpoints, or attack the arm to make it drop its weapon to make attacks less dangerous, or use lightning to stun it, etc. And it's not just the big enemies either. I love how you can grapple smaller enemies and hold them so your team can do more damage, or even just pick them up and throw them off a cliff. It's a "problem" that I never really thought of much when playing other games, but now that I've played this I think it's something more games in the future really need to do. Enemies should be more than walking health bars that only react slightly differently to headshots.

I also like how much customization they give you and how freely they let you continue to customize after you've started. Not only is the character creator kind of crazy in-depth without resorting to a bunch of shitty sliders (there's like 50 different eyebrow options alone), but also lots of different armor and weapon options, classes and skill loadouts, etc. I think it's great that they let you freely change your class throughout the game, because that does a lot to alleviate the tedium of playing the same class throughout the game. There is a point where stats get kind of locked-in toward physical or magic focused, but even within those confines you have several different options to switch between. I spent most of my time playing an Assassin, because it was the most versatile and fun class, but it was nice to be able to change it up now and then. I also really really appreciated that you could completely redesign your character when starting a new game+. I think that was actually a major factor in why I was able to enjoy my second playthrough completely. As a comparison, I've never made it very far into a NG+ in the Souls series, as by the time I reach that point I'm kind of tired of playing the same character and I'd much rather just start a new game and do something different. It's way too rare that a NG+ give you the freedom to feel like you're starting fresh while still maintaining the actual qualities of a NG+.

Speaking of NG+ and Dark Souls, Bitterblack Isle actually did something that I would totally like to see from the Souls series. Once you clear the content for the first time and beat the final boss of the area it doesn't simply make the enemies stronger, but completely replaces most of them with tougher enemies, and once you reach the final boss again he gets a whole extra stage that's much tougher. It made running through that place again way more compelling than just fighting tougher versions of the same enemies. If the Souls games took a page from this game and completely redid enemy distribution in NG+ it would be a way way better experience.

Bitterblack Isle was the part of that game that was most representative of the Souls series too, and in some ways I think it actually trumped the Souls series in both difficulty and oppressiveness. The uber enemies that just randomly pop up while you're exploring is a total Souls-ish dick move. That music that plays when death is in the vicinity makes me tense as hell every single time, even after his presence wasn't nearly as threatening. And all that extreme darkness with your tiny lantern makes it all the worse. The latter half of that place is like Tomb of the Giants x10.

I sure hope we get to see more of this series next-gen, because I'm totally and completely on board with the idea of this series.

I ended up writing more than expected (even though I could write a whole lot more), so:

tl;dr: This game is pretty great.

Oh yeah, one more thing. The in-game photo feature is also kind of neat. The quality (resolution) of the photos are kind of disappointing, but it's pretty awesome how can just pause the game whenever and rotate the camera to snap a photo. It's way easier to make an awesome dynamic snapshot without really trying. I snapped this photo while after randomly pausing during a boss fight and I ended up being pretty badass.

#2 Posted by SuperSambo (2865 posts) -

I just wish there was Co op...

#3 Posted by Razorlution (186 posts) -

Maybe not game of the year, but I'd give it a nod for sleeper of the year.

#4 Posted by Zeik (2440 posts) -

@supersambo said:

I just wish there was Co op...

I never found myself necessarily wishing for that, but now that you mention it I wouldn't be against that. Unlike the Souls series the game is designed around having several characters fighting at once, and even though another player would be dramatically more effective than AI they could probably solve that easier than the Souls series has or could.

#5 Edited by MooseyMcMan (11025 posts) -

I really need to get back to this. I beat it, then started in NG+, but my PS4 arrived and I didn't get a chance to make a serious go into Bitterblack Isle. I will though as soon as I've finished Assassin's Creed IV...and Binary Domain. But Binary Domain isn't very long (I think).

I agree though, this game is super rad! That framerate though....

Though, since this a re-release of a 2012 game, I dunno about calling it a GOTY for 2013. I know they added and changed a bunch of stuff, but it's still a 2012 game.

Eh, whatever. Doesn't matter.

EDIT: After I got my PS4, I tried playing a few minutes with a DualShock 4, and it totally worked, and that made me happy.

Moderator
#6 Edited by Zeik (2440 posts) -

@mooseymcman said:

I really need to get back to this. I beat it, then started in NG+, but my PS4 arrived and I didn't get a chance to make a serious go into Bitterblack Isle. I will though as soon as I've finished Assassin's Creed IV...and Binary Domain. But Binary Domain isn't very long (I think).

I agree though, this game is super rad! That framerate though....

Though, since this a re-release of a 2012 game, I dunno about calling it a GOTY for 2013. I know they added and changed a bunch of stuff, but it's still a 2012 game.

Eh, whatever. Doesn't matter.

I think Bitterblack makes for the perfect NG+ content. You can technically do it on your first playthrough, but I think it works way better after you've played the game once. And although I don't think I would have enjoyed the game nearly as much if the game had been entirely like Bitterblack, I also think that part of the game makes the overall package way more compelling.

Btw, I'm not nominating this game for any overall GOTY's. This is purely my own personal GOTY. (Which is the only one that matters quite frankly.) The fact that I'm playing this for the first time now would probably still qualify it as my GOTY regardless.

Also, I never found the framerate all that bad. I guess it does dip here and there, but I guess it didn't bother me given that there are plenty of games this gen with way worse.

#7 Edited by MooseyMcMan (11025 posts) -

@zeik: I did try Bitterblack in my first playthrough, but after a thirty minute battle against a cockatrice that was just me shooting arrows from a balcony, I decided to make a strategic withdrawal and get out of there.

Moderator
#8 Edited by Zeik (2440 posts) -

@mooseymcman said:

@zeik: I did try Bitterblack in my first playthrough, but after a thirty minute battle against a cockatrice that was just me shooting arrows from a balcony, I decided to make a strategic withdrawal and get out of there.

The first few floors are pretty doable early on, but the difficulty ramps up pretty quickly. It was probably a good idea to stop there, because shortly after that cockatrice it gets much much harder.

#10 Posted by RonGalaxy (3170 posts) -

Isnt that an expansion for a game that came out last year?

#11 Edited by FesteringNeon (2164 posts) -

After sinking about 60 hours or so I'm guessing into it.. I'm enjoying it as well. Coming from the Soul Series at about 350 hours total between the two, lockon and shield riposte and parry really took some getting used to not having. I do also really like the character customization part. Hot girls aren't hard to make, which is nice. The photo feature is a brilliant idea (grabbing some cattle and riding it in awkward positions, grabbing your party and kicking them..etc) but what the hell is up with that output resolution, and the positioning options of the camera could be alot better.. this is nitpicking of course..

Bear with me now, I don't want to wreck your day and these are just my opinions. I will hide them, but in short I like the ideas they have, but I'd like to see improvements to the following before I can really enjoy it and put it atop along with some of my favorite series:

My main gripe(s) about the game, is the repetitive dialog "there IS fucking aught around here" "EVEN IN NUMBERS..." I know. I get it.

How can i get my party, or escort, to stay put? Goddamnit. I don't want to babysit the whole fight, and I don't want to fail the quest because even though they call me Captain, they don't give a shit about gameplanning anyways. Yes there's "help", "follow" and "go" but that's really about it.

Also, the map system is pretty poor imo. I'll find myself having to flip back and forth a bunch to make sure I'm not going off path, repeatedly. There just isn't enough variances in the open to remember exactly where you've been until you reach a landmark, even though the times of day are beautiful and the scenery is gorgeous at times.

The loot management system is fun, but damnit if I'm not spending a ton of time managing everyone's loot wayy too much. I like the idea of setting a junk option for anything below the type of armor/ weapons I'm already wearing, or not counting resources toward your encumbrance. I like crafting, but don't penalize me for collecting. That was a huge improvement in DS1 over Demon's Souls.. even if they could have added a quick trash option and faster way to use souls / humanity.

Anyhoo.. I know these are alot of complaints, but I know with adjustments this game could really be even more special. It's something I too was comparing to the Souls series, but couldn't have been more wrong. It's special in it's own way, and can't wait to see the next one.

#12 Posted by Zeik (2440 posts) -

@naru_joe93 said:

Isnt that an expansion for a game that came out last year?

As I understand it, yes, basically. Although it's more like Persona 3: FES or something, where it's the old game with a bunch of new content.

#13 Posted by Marz (5653 posts) -

I always felt the game was pretty good when i bought the original last year. It's not perfect but the base concept of the game is so great that it could be amazing with more polish and better story telling and quest design. Hoping that a sequel delivers the goods.

#14 Posted by MormonWarrior (2593 posts) -

Gosh dang I bought this back in September but just played through the very beginning. I'm putting it off till Christmas break. Hope it's really as good as you say...

#15 Edited by Zeik (2440 posts) -

@festeringneon: Yeah, the output resolution on those photos is pretty disappointing, and I wish you could zoom in or out while taking it.

As for the other stuff, yeah, the constant repeat dialogue can be pretty annoying. I like how they talk about the world around them, (and it's awesome how your Pawns learn about the world and quests through experience.) I wouldn't even necessarily mind them repeating dialogue if it didn't happen practically 100% of the time. The game really needs to be able to recognize when you've heard dialogue before and not trigger every time after the first.

As for controlling them, something I didn't realize until pretty late is how important your pawn's inclination is. It actually has a very big impact on how they act in combat. I had a Sorcerer pawn that kept running in close and getting herself killed, until I found out that having a "Scather" inclination is why she was always running into the middle of combat and not staying back and casting spells. If they were to keep that system they definitely need to do a way better job surfacing how those inclinations actually affect actions.

I found the loot management annoying until I got the Sinew Augment, which drastically increases your overall load. I went from constantly trying to keep my weight under heavy to easily staying within Average to Light, even picking up basically everything. I think having weight on your stuff is actually a good thing, but if I were to change anything it would probably be how much healing items and stuff weigh. I think that's the part that was the most problematic, as just carrying around some healing stuff could notably impact your weight and thus movement and stamina regeneration. I was a huge hoarder though, and I barely sold anything ever.

#16 Posted by MB (12418 posts) -

I don't know what it is about this game, but I could never get into it. I lasted through about the first five hours and never went back to it. On paper it seems like I should love it, but in practice it just never hooked me.

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#17 Edited by Zeik (2440 posts) -

@mormonwarrior said:

Gosh dang I bought this back in September but just played through the very beginning. I'm putting it off till Christmas break. Hope it's really as good as you say...

I can't guarantee anything for anyone else, but it's a game that really won me over the more I played. I started out pretty iffy on it but it grew on me more and more as I played.

@mb said:

I don't know what it is about this game, but I could never get into it. I lasted through about the first five hours and never went back to it. On paper it seems like I should love it, but in practice it just never hooked me.

It actually took me well over 5 hours to really get into it honestly. (Although I did restart the game like 4 times.)

#18 Posted by Shirogane (3574 posts) -

You only played Dark Arisen i guess? Meaning you missed out on the best part of the original, the main menu theme.

#19 Posted by davidwitten22 (1708 posts) -

I just started playing it recently and I had no idea you could do any of those things. I couldn't even begin to imagine how you would climb about on monsters or anything. I don't think I really "get" the combat yet.

#20 Edited by Zeik (2440 posts) -

@davidwitten22 said:

I just started playing it recently and I had no idea you could do any of those things. I couldn't even begin to imagine how you would climb about on monsters or anything. I don't think I really "get" the combat yet.

You'll probably understand it just from playing it, but you can only climb on the big monsters, using the R2 button. (You'll get your first real chance pretty early fighting the cyclops.) Any smaller human sized enemies you can only grapple if you knock them down, at which point you can run up to them and push R2 to either hold them down or pick them up to throw them. The cool thing is that even your AI pawns will take advantage of this.

#21 Edited by FesteringNeon (2164 posts) -

@zeik: Ok I went into the options and turned on map rotation and that seems a bit better for sure. I also turned down voice dialogue and turned on subtitles, so it won't be totally gone, but should soften the blow a bit .

I know you can program your follower pawns to react a certain way, and they're really not the issue, but the people I'm escorting are.. is there any way to control them better and just have them stand back? It's really not an issue for most enemies, but during drake battles for example, they tend to get in the way.

I'll definitely be on the lookout for the Sinew Augment as well. Thanks for the tip!

EDIT: Ok turns out I have the Sinew Augment. Evidently I too am a hoarder even after depositing most crafting materials. Dark Souls spoiled me with that logic :D

#22 Edited by Demoskinos (14835 posts) -

Join the club my friend. You have awoken to the truth of the gospel that is Dragon's Dogma. =)

#23 Posted by ViciousBearMauling (1102 posts) -

PC version would make me squeal like a little girl...

#24 Posted by ReTarDedFisHy (1065 posts) -

Alright enough duders on Giant Bomb liking this game will finally make ReTarDedFisHy buy this game. Gonna check it out!

#25 Posted by Zeik (2440 posts) -

@festeringneon:

Oh, you mean the NPC followers for those escort quests? Those quests are best to basically make a bee-line for the objective. Ideally you want to set a portcrystal nearby and just warp there and not even have to worry. I eventually realized those quests aren't really worth doing outside of raising affection with the respective characters though, primarily doing too many of those quests makes it harder to end up with the character you actually want.

@retardedfishy:
It's still free on PS+.

#26 Posted by HH (610 posts) -

Isnt that an expansion for a game that came out last year?

yes it is, and that is strictly verboten

na, it's great this game picked up a new following this year, it got unfairly ignored first time around for some dumb reason.

#27 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11741 posts) -

Gosh dang I bought this back in September but just played through the very beginning. I'm putting it off till Christmas break. Hope it's really as good as you say...

Dragon's Dogma is very much the kind of game you either get or you don't, without much room for middle ground. As I have expressed multiple times on these forums, I think it's something of a rough diamond with so many great ideas that more than compensate for its (very obvious) shortfalls. It will probably show up on this year's GOTY list as well.

I should really go back and do the Bitterblack stuff, but when I tried it on my first playthrough I immediately got killed by Death and decided "yo, eff that noise", or something to that extent.

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#28 Posted by The_Ruiner (1060 posts) -

I just wish there was Co op...

Meee too dude!

#29 Posted by GTCknight (695 posts) -

@zeik: Welcome to the fold.

As for Co-op it would never really work all that well. In the Souls games the players are all in a single area with very few places to go, but in Dogma you have an entire country to explore (open-world) which would cause a lot of issues. It also wouldn't fit within the lore of the game either.

Quick question though I never got the Dark Arisen pack (I bought the OG game) I've been wondering if I did get Dark Arisen could I just take my NG+ character and go to the new content, or do I have to replay the entire game again in order to open the area. I would love to try the new area out, but I don't really want to go through an entire NG+ (and thus spend days) just to unlock the one area I want to check out.

Oh, I forgot to ask are there any new Greatswords in Dark Arisen? Preferably one that's stronger than wounded-heart or Thousandlimbs.

#30 Posted by JoeyRavn (4974 posts) -

I loved what I played of Dragon's Dogma, but I had two main gripes with the game that prevented me from enjoying it as much as I should have. First, the framerate is terrible. It dips to the low 20s (if not more) very frequently. Then, the two black borders that cut the image at the top and at the bottom. Why? Just why? I assume that Capcom put them there to draw less screen to help with the framerate, but it's just silly, especially given how narrow the FoV is.

Dragon's Dogma is a game that would have benefited tremendously from being on PC... and even on a "next-gen" console. Too bad we live in a console-centric world.

#31 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5488 posts) -

Dragon's Dogma is a solid game, sort of a singleplayer MMO with better combat.

#32 Posted by JFunkhouser (67 posts) -

Bought DD: DA on a boring saturday cause it looked pretty good in the quicklook. Holy shit did I enjoy it. Awesome game. So, seconded.

#33 Posted by Humanity (9261 posts) -

@zeik: welcome to the Dragons Dogma fan club. I feel a lot of people dismiss it quite easily, but it truly is one of the finest action RPGs produced in this entire generation.

What's more is Playing Dragons Dogma on current systems makes my head spin imagining the possibilities were it to run on more powerful hardware. I can only pray to the darkest Gods in the profit & loss department, that a sequel for next-gen consoles will get greenlit.

#34 Posted by Morningstar (2161 posts) -

But it's crap...

#35 Edited by FesteringNeon (2164 posts) -

I'm glad to see even just a few more people interested in giving it a try. Remember it has some rough edges, but still a fun experience like the OP had mentioned. If you haven't played a good action RPG in awhile, this is a great time to get into one, especially if you're a PS+ member at took advantage of the $30 membership deal yesterday.

#36 Posted by theriddler81 (13 posts) -

I tried but I'm too spoiled by PC and PS4's graphics to play it. Downloaded it and started it up then immediately saw the sub 25 fps and like 480p or whatever resolution that game is running at and turned it off.

#37 Edited by I_Stay_Puft (3395 posts) -

Game is great just wish they made a pc port to this game. Can you imagine how good this game would be at 60 fps.

#38 Posted by Doctorchimp (4076 posts) -

Game is great just wish they made a pc port to this game. Can you imagine how good this game would be at 60 fps.

Especially since Capcom's ports are really great.

I've wanted this and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, instead of Lost Planet 3 and Street Fighter x Tekken.

#39 Posted by Buneroid (428 posts) -

I want to try this since I also got from plus. I just really don't want to go back to my ps3 anymore. If there's ever a sequel for the ps4, I'm in.

#40 Posted by Killerfridge (309 posts) -

I, too got it for free on PS+, but ended up quitting early on. Should I continue? I found the general interface stuff to be confusing and wasn't sure if I was doing the right thing with regards to the gameplay/side missions, etc. I got up to the first cave thing where, at the bottom, some plants(?) shoot out of the ground and you have to run out. Would it be wroth me trying it again?

#41 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4605 posts) -

I keep going back and forth on whether I should get this or not. Probably will at some point, it definitely sounds interesting.

@humanity said:

What's more is Playing Dragons Dogma on current systems makes my head spin imagining the possibilities were it to run on more powerful hardware. I can only pray to the darkest Gods in the profit & loss department, that a sequel for next-gen consoles will get greenlit.

Didn't they announce Dogma 2 already? Or am I just confusing that with the Deep Down thing?

@hh said:
@naru_joe93 said:

Isnt that an expansion for a game that came out last year?

yes it is, and that is strictly verboten

na, it's great this game picked up a new following this year, it got unfairly ignored first time around for some dumb reason.

Which probably qualifies it for a 2013's 2012 Game of the Year nomination.

#42 Posted by Giefcookie (603 posts) -

Played through the original and just started a new character in Dark Arisen since I got it free on PS+, so glad they included the japanese VO in this version, helps with the repeating pawn dialog since it becomes more just atmospheric background noise.

Also glad that it recognized my old save files and gave me a free 100k RC and an unlimited use teleport stone thingy.

And the japanese VO for Mercedes is Sawashiro Miyuki!

#43 Posted by Humanity (9261 posts) -

@markwahlberg: I no longer know if Deep Down is the next Dragons Dogma or not. Last I heard Deep Down was some sort of Assassins Creed, way in the future, jacking into some cyberweb representation of the past, procedurally generated, online dungeon crawler.

As intriguing as that sounds, it doesn't sound like Dragons Dogma, so I dunno.

#44 Edited by Zeik (2440 posts) -

@arbitrarywater: When you see death you run the fuck away. That's the general rule I found whenever those uber enemies show up on your first trip through that place. By the second run you should be strong enough to take them down. I definitely recommend doing that content though. It's very different from the main game, but after finishing it I feel like it's pretty important to get the most out of that game.

@gtcknight: I know you can import data, but I'm not sure how exactly it works. I haven't found any high level greatswords yet, but I would assume they are there, as there are plenty of high-tier weapons you can only get through Bitterblack.

@killerfridge: That's still very early in the game and I would definitely say it took me longer than that to really "get it". At that point you've barely fought any larger enemies and I assume you've barely started unlocking skills and experimenting with the various classes. You can't really screw up too badly in the game. You can miss some side-quests if you're not paying attention, but that's not the end of the world. (I missed several side-quest chains on my first playthrough.)You're pretty free to change around your classes and experiment as much as you want. It's a good idea to decide early whether you prefer the physical or magic inclined classes, as your level up stats are determined by the class you're currently using, but you don't need to worry about min-maxing.

@humanity: I'm pretty sure I remember hearing them say outright that Deep Down is not related to Dragon's Dogma.

#45 Edited by Flappy (2254 posts) -

Needs. MORE. PUNCHING!

#46 Posted by GTCknight (695 posts) -

@zeik: Thanks I might try and get Dark Arisen then. I just hope I can just go straight to Bitterblack as I've been wanting to fight something that can actually stand-up to my level 83 (might be higher) warrior.

How do you go to Bitterblack anyway? Is there some guy who takes you or do you just warp yourself there?

#47 Posted by Zeik (2440 posts) -

@gtcknight: You talk to a lady at the docks in Cassardis at night. You can actually do it at practically the very beginning of the game. (I believe you have to get your pawn first.)

#48 Posted by slyspider (1233 posts) -

Crap I stopped playing last week and I'm at the point, or right before it I think, patrick was in the QL. I need to go back

#49 Edited by GTCknight (695 posts) -

@zeik: Thanks now I will get it.

I started my second playthrough after I beat the game, but all the enemies were just so dam weak that I got bored. I've been wanting to feel some sense of challenge or danger again.

#50 Posted by Sammo21 (3277 posts) -

I wish I could have gotten into the game. I might try and play the PSN+ version to see how I take to it, but the first Dragon's Dogma was nearly a game I hated. I guess I just wanted something from it that it wasn't supposed to be.

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