I played original Dragon's Dogma up until I hit Gran Soren for the first time...and promptly sold it away. It didn't really seem all that interesting. With this new version, I decided to give it another shot, especially since it was so cheap. Forcing myself to play a decent bit further (I'd say probably 10 hours to REALLY get going) made me realize that this game is pretty damn fun.
While I don't personally agree with everyone who says the combat is super-tactical (mashing is VERY efficient for several--not all--of the enemies) and Monster Hunter-esque (not enough animation priority to be that comparable), it is still a surprisingly competent fantasy game from a Japanese company, Capcom no less. If they can create a more interesting world with some fun, creative characters for a sequel (probably my one problem with the game), I think they will have quite the success on their hands.