Dragon's Dogma is a rarity when most RPG's become dumbed down.
These days game have becomes dumbed down for the larger audience and sales. A genre hit hard by this trend are the RPG's of today. It's understandable for a developer/publisher to appeal to larger audience, however though, when they do it ends up hurting us gamers looking for a challenge. Dragon's Dogma is a game by Capcom, and it seems that they were looking to appeal with those who want a challenge and a game with depth. I'm happy to say they had succeed, even though it means lower sells in the west.
My Rating explained: Dragon's Dogma is a wonderful game but obviously, it's not for anyone. Now, keep in mind the 4.5 stars I rated it is for the harder core gamers. If you enjoy Gears of War and Call of Duty more so than any other game, I would give this a 1. Why? Because it's just not for you I bet. It's a game that takes a lot of patience but makes you feel very accomplished in the end. However, if you're a casual gamer you may enjoy this, as it has excellent combat. The thing is, you'll have to be willing to learn how to play it correctly. Also, you'll need to be forgiving. If you're a hardcore gamer, I'm assuming you don't need to be warned as you already know what to expect.
Gameplay (5/5): The gameplay is great. It's rated 5/5 by me because of the fact it's an RPG. It is rare for an RPG to have such depth and engaging combat. The most recent game with good combat was Kingdoms of Amalur. However, the combat in Dragon's Dogma blows Kingdoms of Amalur out of the water. That is a my opinion however, but Dragons Dogma has been holding my attention much better. Now about how it works; You have three choices initially about which class you can choose. Mage, Warrior and the typical Rouge. However, later on you can change your "Vocation" and become an advances class of either 3, or, hybrids of any two. It's easy to change your class and you can do it at any inn in the game at a minimal cost. I've been playing as a warrior and the combat is good. I have a light attack, a strong attack and a set of skills I can use when holding RB. It's all very well sorted and works very nicely.
Story (3/5): This is my opinion of the story, so please take it lightly. I am not very interested in the story currently, however the depth (information about the world and main plot) is there for anyone who'd like to become lost in it. From cut-scenes, quests and people you can learn more about the story. The main story is alright and I wouldn't say it's terrible as I did enjoy it to some degree. I didn't skip any cut-scenes or rush through it, so I'd take that as a good sign.
Graphics (3.75/5):The graphics are pretty good, but I don't think everyone will appreciate them. The outdoors look very good with there being a lot of foliage, shadows, and small details such as wind moving the grass and trees. There's a good amount of detail outside and it comes together in a very eye pleasing way. Another thing to point out is the draw distance which is further and of higher textures than a lot of rpgs. One problem I would point out is the lack of variety in the outdoor environments and it will become bland as you spend more time in the game. The towns and cities however have a ton of detail and look awesome; I still find those environments to be aesthetically pleasing. Character models are lacking but look alright from a distance.
Customization: It's great. This game has, in my opinion, one of the best character creators I've ever seen in an RPG on consoles. I'm not saying it's the best, but it works very well and provides you with all the options you'd need to make all kinds of characters. A very good selections of hairstyles, facial hair, scars, noses, eyes, mouths, ears and so on. You can also change your height and weight (even to the point where you look like a kid, which is weird quite honestly.) and your height and weight actually affects your performance in battle. I thought that was neat. Anyway, take a look on Youtube for a better look on customization.
Pawn: Before I rap up my review (I'm not getting paid for this, so I don't want to write too much) I'd like to talk about Pawns. Pawns are an awesome addition to a party system for an RPG. It works extremely well and could be considered revolutionary for party systems in an RPG. In the beginning of the game you create a Pawn and select it's class (Vocation as they call it). You get to customize every feature of the Pawn as well. That one Pawn you make is called your main Pawn and the main Pawn is always in your party and cannot be dismissed. Pawns are pretty smart too, they use items at their discretion and even pick items up as well. Another great thing about Pawns is they actually learn. They can learn about the environment and enemies and they give you hints about anything they know. Aside from your main pawn, you can hire two other pawns to fight with you as well. There's a bonus however, you can hire Pawns people have created and had fighting along side them in their game. It's a great feature because every Pawn you'll hire has a different level of knowledge on enemies and environments. Pawns have excellent AI and hold their own in battle.
My conclusion to this review is this: if you're looking for a challenging, hardcore RPG with a lot of depth in combat and parties than you will love this game. I would say I'm blown away by this RPG and I truly think it does a great job setting itself apart form the softcore RPG's that are so common today. I highly recommend this game. If you have any questions and liked my review feel free to send me an email at Michael_Kolak@yahoo.com or my Gamertag X5R. Thank you for reading and if you're buying this game I hope you like it as much as I do.