PAX East Report: Dragon's Dogma

Posted by Space_Sandwich (108 posts) -

I've repeatedly mentioned Dragon's Dogma as one of my most anticipated games thanks to the game's good previews and trailers. Yet, my skepticism about how Capcom will execute this ambitious western/eastern RPG is just as well documented. That said, I'm happy to report that my short demo with Dragon's Dogma was indeed a good one. The game isn't completely without fault -- this isn't a perfect world, after all -- but what's there is serviceable enough to keep my excitement as high as it needs to be until its May release.

On the plus side, the game has some great visual tech backing it. The scale of some of the enemies, such as this dragon who really only appeared to show off his fire breathing ability, is massive. Speaking of that very fire breath, the particle effects were impressive. Embers fluttered through the wobbling air, smoke bellowed and tiny fires sprouted around the blast area. Unfortunately, some of the textures still look very primitive. Awkwardly polygonal objects and noticeable tile prints were certainly present, but not too much to get too distracting. The game also had a tendency to take a performance hit if action got too hectic. Thankfully, these hitches were few and far between and it never reached "slideshow" slow.

The controls were actually the most impressive part of the demo if not only for your character's attack versatility. The functionality of the gamepad is wonderfully increased through the use of the bumpers, which modify the attack options from simply "heavy" or "light" to more weapon-specific moves. Although some of the sword moves were literally taken from Devil May Cry, others, such as the "evade strike," I believe it was called, had my character leaping back to dodge, then lunging forward to deliver an excellently animated blow to the giant Chimera monster I was fighting at the time. Oh, did I not mention the giant chimera monster? Yeah, I totally killed that thing.

You best believe I killed that thing. Killed it dead, I did.

While I'm on the subject of that giant chimera, and the subsequent killing of said chimera, this seems like an appropriate time to talk about the highlight of the demo: grabbing. Anyone who's seen anything about this game has probably seen this mechanic in action, whether it's the character climbing up the side of a giant snake or something much less dramatic, such as picking up a party member and throwing them across the room for no reason other than to assert my dominance over them. I should point out that the latter scenario definitely ushered in a few belly laughs, while the former was... decent. Jumping onto the chimera led to a ridiculously chaotic camera control situation, and I never felt like there was any way to properly maneuver my warrior around the monster's body. Perhaps this was simply my lack of experience with the game's controls -- I'm certainly hoping that's the case. Regardless, the fight was still fun in a "Holy crap, that thing's snake tail just bit my mage's face off," kind of way.

I'd be remiss to end this preview without mentioning another great function of the grab button: tackling harpies, those bird monsters you've probably seen from God of War. It was hilarious.

All in all, my short time with Dragon's Dogma delivered a good experience, one that I'm looking forward to expanding come this summer.

#1 Posted by Space_Sandwich (108 posts) -

I've repeatedly mentioned Dragon's Dogma as one of my most anticipated games thanks to the game's good previews and trailers. Yet, my skepticism about how Capcom will execute this ambitious western/eastern RPG is just as well documented. That said, I'm happy to report that my short demo with Dragon's Dogma was indeed a good one. The game isn't completely without fault -- this isn't a perfect world, after all -- but what's there is serviceable enough to keep my excitement as high as it needs to be until its May release.

On the plus side, the game has some great visual tech backing it. The scale of some of the enemies, such as this dragon who really only appeared to show off his fire breathing ability, is massive. Speaking of that very fire breath, the particle effects were impressive. Embers fluttered through the wobbling air, smoke bellowed and tiny fires sprouted around the blast area. Unfortunately, some of the textures still look very primitive. Awkwardly polygonal objects and noticeable tile prints were certainly present, but not too much to get too distracting. The game also had a tendency to take a performance hit if action got too hectic. Thankfully, these hitches were few and far between and it never reached "slideshow" slow.

The controls were actually the most impressive part of the demo if not only for your character's attack versatility. The functionality of the gamepad is wonderfully increased through the use of the bumpers, which modify the attack options from simply "heavy" or "light" to more weapon-specific moves. Although some of the sword moves were literally taken from Devil May Cry, others, such as the "evade strike," I believe it was called, had my character leaping back to dodge, then lunging forward to deliver an excellently animated blow to the giant Chimera monster I was fighting at the time. Oh, did I not mention the giant chimera monster? Yeah, I totally killed that thing.

You best believe I killed that thing. Killed it dead, I did.

While I'm on the subject of that giant chimera, and the subsequent killing of said chimera, this seems like an appropriate time to talk about the highlight of the demo: grabbing. Anyone who's seen anything about this game has probably seen this mechanic in action, whether it's the character climbing up the side of a giant snake or something much less dramatic, such as picking up a party member and throwing them across the room for no reason other than to assert my dominance over them. I should point out that the latter scenario definitely ushered in a few belly laughs, while the former was... decent. Jumping onto the chimera led to a ridiculously chaotic camera control situation, and I never felt like there was any way to properly maneuver my warrior around the monster's body. Perhaps this was simply my lack of experience with the game's controls -- I'm certainly hoping that's the case. Regardless, the fight was still fun in a "Holy crap, that thing's snake tail just bit my mage's face off," kind of way.

I'd be remiss to end this preview without mentioning another great function of the grab button: tackling harpies, those bird monsters you've probably seen from God of War. It was hilarious.

All in all, my short time with Dragon's Dogma delivered a good experience, one that I'm looking forward to expanding come this summer.

#2 Posted by Genkkaku (732 posts) -

Good to hear from someone who actually played it.. I am really look foward to it..

What class did you play?

#3 Posted by Cincaid (2953 posts) -

Extremely hyped over this title, preordered it (and Witcher 2) yesterday. Hopefully it'll live up to my expectations, and so far the previews I've read and watched seems very positive.

#4 Posted by CannonGoose (372 posts) -

Which console did you play it on?

#5 Posted by Sterling (2078 posts) -

The demo is coming at the end of the month correct? I thought I read this somewhere. I hope so any ways. This is one of my most anticipated games of the year.

#6 Posted by Genkkaku (732 posts) -

@oulzac: From what I could find no date.. but there is a demo coming, 2 classes vs. Griffon

#7 Posted by Space_Sandwich (108 posts) -

@Genkkaku: I was a warrior class, I think. Or perhaps it was fighter? To put it simply, I was a tank class.

#8 Posted by drag (1223 posts) -

Can't wait.

#9 Posted by Nentisys (886 posts) -

Thanks for the impressions, looking forward to release and getting this day 1.

#10 Posted by CannonGoose (372 posts) -

Did you happen to notice any screen tearing while you were playing?

#11 Posted by Space_Sandwich (108 posts) -

@CannonGoose: Not that I remember. If there was any screen tearing, I probably overlooked it on account of the chimera trying to rip me apart. I didn't get a chance to talk to anyone manning the booth, so I'm not sure how old the demo was. Outside of those few frame rate hitches I noted in the preview, the overall performance was pretty good.

#12 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -

That is such a stupid fucking name for a game

#13 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -
@Space_Sandwich said:

@Genkkaku: I was a warrior class, I think. Or perhaps it was fighter? To put it simply, I was a tank class.

@CannonGoose: I played on the Xbox 360.

DOes it kinda play like dark souls? Like you need to plan you moves and punishes for mistakes? 
#14 Posted by Space_Sandwich (108 posts) -

@The_Laughing_Man: Not nearly as slow and deliberate as Dark Souls. It mostly plays like your average sword combat game with the light/heavy attack scheme, however it packs in much more variety with the unique bumper moves. I couldn't pick out a huge emphasis on combos or hit streaks, but I didn't check to see if significant combo moves a la Ninja Gaiden/God of War were in there. It's not very punishing for your mistakes as the health bar was quite meaty and your party members will revive you if need be.

#15 Posted by Space_Sandwich (108 posts) -

@Tim_the_Corsair: Yeah, I have to agree. It's a shame they chose so poorly, it'll likely turn a lot of folks off from an otherwise cool game. It just goes to show that you should never trust Capcom to come up with interesting, evocative titles.

#16 Posted by Sterling (2078 posts) -

The name is fine.

#17 Posted by Genkkaku (732 posts) -

What Pawns did you have helping you? and did they feel like they helped out or just kind backed you up?

#18 Posted by Space_Sandwich (108 posts) -

@Genkkaku: I didn't have a choice of Pawns, nor did I get the chance to walk around that Pawn space area in demos. I walked up to some stone and an archer, dwarf mage, and some other melee specialist were assigned to me. They held up their end in fights and were fairly capable at the handling long range healing job. They also were pretty responsive at helping me up if I had fallen. I wish there was more direct control over your party's abilities such as in Mass Effect, but I can't fault them for providing perfectly capable AI partners.

#19 Posted by Hailinel (23917 posts) -
@Tim_the_Corsair
That is such a stupid fucking name for a game
How so? I think it's fine.
#20 Posted by cyraxible (682 posts) -
@Hailinel cuz tha gb crew said so
#21 Posted by s810 (33 posts) -

I think the beast-climbing stuff is reserved for larger enemies. That may be why your attempt to climb the chimera just made the game's camera go crazy.

#22 Posted by Morrow (1828 posts) -

Definately one of my most wanted titles this year :)

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