4Gamers – Hands-on Preview | Dragon's Dogma 2 in particular feels old-fashioned

It's been over ten years since we started working with Dragon's Dogma. That game was a fairly huge success for Capcom and grew into a popular title for many players in the following years. Dragon's Dogma 2 will finally be released in a few weeks, but we recently had the chance to start with the title.

We were thrown into the middle of the game without much guidance, as we were allowed to work with the Mystic Spearhand, a new profession (or class) in Dragon's Dogma 2. As a Spearhand, you can work with some magical attacks, but you can still be particularly confident in the Duospear your to crush enemies up close.

However, before we could defeat the enemies, we had to collect some additional information to continue our mission. This information can really come from anywhere and other than the quest marker, you shouldn't expect much help in Dragon's Dogma. So you'll really have to talk to everyone in the village to find out more, and oftentimes it's not entirely clear what to expect.

Dragon's Dogma opts for a somewhat archaic structure in this regard, an idea that will also appear at other times in the game. When during the preview everyone receives an explanation of how and what the next step is, you can still wonder if the game is handling quest storytelling the right way.

After a while we finally knew how to proceed and finally got out into the wide world. That's not to say things always went smoothly, because there are enemies waiting for you around almost every corner. In some games this isn't a problem, but in an RPG of this size it would be nice to get some rest and have more opportunities to explore the environment. Even while spending the night in your camp, you may be attacked. Instead of taking some time for yourself, you might be introduced to a game on the screen. No thank you.

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We also come across the griffin, which was also featured in the trailers, a few times. At every opportunity he would fly over our heads and we would suddenly be involved in a massive boss battle, which was also boring and drawn out.

Hands on preview |  Dragon's Dogma 2 in particular feels old-fashioned

If the fighting were fun, we probably would be less bothered by it, but that's not really the case. We've used the term old-fashioned before, and it applies here again. You can't grapple enemies, who can often take a lot of attacks, and your special abilities don't seem to deal much damage either. It doesn't help that the button layout is also outdated.

This didn't improve when we switched to Magick Archer, the second playable profession. Unlike Spear Hand, this character requires you to maintain distance to perform attacks. Oddly enough, you can't shoot using your standard attack, Quickfire. It – usually anyway – automatically fires at the nearest enemy, although we often feel like we're not shooting at anything unless we're very close.

Hands on preview |  Dragon's Dogma 2 in particular feels old-fashioned

Here too, the special attacks were rather boring. One gives your arrow a coating of ice, while the other turns it into a fiery arrow that you can control yourself. There's also Ricochet, which fires a bunch of arrows that bounce back and forth. If you walk around the floor, it's almost a cheat code. Simply stand behind a wall and fire the arrows and they do the work for you. Rather boring.

That's actually the summary of the entire fight: boring. Things don't get any better when we feel like our three pawns – three computer-controlled characters who travel with you – are being attacked cooler than us.

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By the way, these pawns also keep their mouths strangely or rarely, and after our bad gaming session of a few hours they actually started repeating sentences. We can actually hear ourselves sigh when we hear the same dialogue for the hundredth time. Even in settlements, everyone has something to say, and you're bombarded with tons of dialogue and stopped at every turn because someone wants to give you a new quest. Then just give us a tick above their heads so we can choose whether we want to have a conversation or not.

Hands on preview |  Dragon's Dogma 2 in particular feels old-fashioned

Visually too, we can't help but mention the word old-fashioned. Everything feels gray and doesn't reach the level that an RPG of this size should reach nowadays. Not that it's all that bad, but it's all very minimal.

Some people might think we're being too harsh on Dragon's Dogma based on just a few hours of play, but right now we don't have any reasons to be happy either. We've never played the original game ourselves, so fans of the original may find this all fascinating and we can't help but be happy about that. But you won't create a new fan base with this game.

Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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