So, so good.
This might just be my favorite RPG of this generation.
Take a dose of Monster Hunter, mix in some Oblivion, and top it off with a bit of Dark Souls and you'll have an approximation of Dragon's Dogma. I cannot stop singing this game's praises. It's the perfect balance between Japanese and American RPGs. If it had some way to enslave and train monsters as an additional pet, I daresay it might just be perfect.
- The open world gives the freedom it should, but without the ease of getting lost that I normally feel in, for instance, Elder Scrolls or GTA games.
- The class system ensures you'll never be trapped playing a character you hate. Just change classes!
- The pawn system is pure genius. Allowing other players to help you indirectly by hiring their pawns who've done the quests? Give someone a raise, Capcom.
- The climbing combat mechanic is just so much fun. It feels like a God of War QTE, but it allows you to control your actions throughout. It feels as epic as it is intended to and even when it ends with you just being thrown free, it is a wonderful mechanic.
- If you have someone on your friend list that is ahead of you, you've got the best ally you could ask for. A free pawn who will be much stronger than any other free option. I picked up a level 42 Warrior at level 4 and she has been...more than willing to destroy anyone who targets the Arisen. You can't buy loyalty like that!
- The checkpoint system is a little...spotty. The fact that it exists will cause you to forget to manually save, and you will suffer for it at some point. It feels as though it always saves as you leave town, but it only normally saves as you leave town. I've had an hour's worth of inventory management wiped away by that mistake. It is incredibly frustrating to fight your way across the plains to your quest area, die, and have to redo the run. If you're an adult with limited playtime, that hurts.
- Changing to a new profession is somewhat painful once you have some levels under your belt. You don't have the power or versatility in the new job to just continue on with your quest, so you have to stop and grind out some ranks against the always-present Orcs. (How are they not extinct, yet?)
- The difficulty can often ramp up...quickly. You can walk down a path, stomp two easy groups of enemies, and then next group just a hundred feet away destroys you. Not just beats you, but a fight that involves your people being one-shot and your inability to even move the health bars of the enemy. Hope you saved.
- The opening theme song. Some crazy JRock stuff, completely at odds with the feel of the game. I can't click past it quickly enough.
- That's really all. There aren't many things I can say about the game that I'd have them change or that need fixing.
Personally, I'd give this game a solid 90%~95%. I've already put more time into it than any other PS3 game this year, and I think it might even edge out Disgaea by the time I'm through with it. If you like RPGs, buy this game.