I'm highly anticipating Dragon's Dogma. In fact, now that Ni No Kuni has been delayed until next year, Dragon's Dogma is the only game I plan on buying this year. That will definitely change come E3, but for now, it's all about Dogma. Which is why I'm kind of being bummed out by every limitation I find out about. I suppose I let my imagination of what the game could be get away from me.
When I first heard about the four party system, I was excited. You don't get four characters in most RPG parties. And when I heard about customizing your pawns, I thought you could customize all three pawns in your group. Imagine all of the character creation possibilities. You could make four Dwarves (they'd technically still be human, but whatever). It'd be hilarious to see all four tiny little fighters climb onto the back of a Cyclops. But, as it turns out, you only get to make one pawn, the main sidekick. I'm sure I could find two pre made or user made pawns online that would match a theme, but it's not the same.
That's okay, two is better than one. I quickly thought up another fun party dynamic. I'd make the main pawn a good looking, gallant, magic fighter, as close to a Paladin as I could. Heavy armor, like a true Prince Charming. Then I'd make his partner, a fucking ugly oaf with a bowl cut, big nose, and scars. A big dumb lug who picks everyone up and throws them (something you can do in the game). It'd be like Lenny in Of Mice and Men. But the funny part is, I'd be playing as the oaf, and the true Hero is the AI controlled pawn. But then i found out the pawns will be limited to the basic classes and advanced classes. The advanced classes are really just purified versions of the basic. So realistically your pawns can only be one of three classes: fighter, mage, or archer. So if I can't make my Prince Charming a paladin (called a mystic knight) he'd just be a basic fighter, and my oaf would have all the cool abilites. Well that kind of ruins the dynamic I had planned. If the oaf is doing complex magic buffs and heals, and Prince Charming is just hacking away. This also means that trading and optimizing pawns (a big online component) will really just be trading fighters for mages and mages for rogues. Players will most likely play as the three cool hybrid classes, and pawns will just be basic party additions. Why? Why limit the pawn system, which seems like one of the main aspects of the game?
Capcom is pouring money and resources into this game, which before being tied to a Resident Evil 6 demo was an unheard of game no one cared about, but had become a black horse engine that could. All of the sudden people are talking about this game. There's hype and excitement. My thoughts are that this game could be the Saint's Row to Skyrim's Grand Theft Auto. While GTA/Skyrim have massive budgets and sales, they deliver mostly conventional experiences. Good looking, well polished, but very by the numbers. Whereas Saint's Row uses it's lack of standards as a boon, and the game delivers all of those whacked out moments and freedoms missing from the bigger game. This was and is my hope for Dragon's Dogma. So why then would they limit the pawn system? Why not allow me to customize all four party members and loan out any of the three at any time? Why not allow me to access all of the game's classes for any of my group members?