Tuesday, May 22, 2012


So recently there seems to have been a lot of slow-burn hype surrounding this new RPG from Capcom, Dragon's Dogma.  It was just released today, and seems to be getting good reviews.   I downloaded the demo on my PS3, and I'm sort of left wondering...did we play the same game?

I downloaded the Dragon's Dogma demo on my PS3 purely based on a recommendation in r/truegaming, and I have to say, I had a VERY different opinion than the OP did.  I was really not impressed at all. The demo features two scenarios to play through; a warrior and a rogue.  I only played through the warrior's quest, fighting the chimera, but I found combat to be a clunky mess, with a godawful camera system.  I like a very tight camera, that stops moving the second I pull off the analog stick...this felt more like a weighted camera, where if I moved it too fast, it would continue to "swing" a little when I let go. Also the game packed so many character and inventory screens in that I couldn't find an Options menu to switch the Y-axis for the camera. It may have been in the title screen menu, but that's something I should be able to play with on the fly.   It drove me nuts.

Something about the game's design made the combat hard to fight. The camera system made the tight corridors really awkward. The color palette made the enemies and allies all blend in with the surroundings (and I played it on a 50" HDTV). Nothing visually "popped out" from the chaos, apart from the health bars, but even then there were so many allies and enemies in such tight quarters that I couldn't see who I was swinging at. Combined with the slippery camera, half the time I felt like I was just wiggling my sword around blindly HOPING to hit something. The combat controls themselves were kind of wonky as well, but not too bad. Quick light attack, slow heavy attack. There didn't appear to be any combos though, so it really just felt like I was running around whacking with the same skill-less attack endlessly. I never got the grab to work, because as I said, I couldn't see where the enemies were half the time.

One thing that drove me crazy was also one of the biggest problems I had with Zelda: Skyward Sword. Nothing yanks you out of game immersion like having a HUD that takes up 1/2 to 2/3rds of the screen. That was the other reason I had trouble fighting; enemies hiding behind my HUD or the bold color text boxes of all the inane crap my companions, or "pawns", were saying.

The chimera battle SHOULD have been amazing. You had a lion the size of a freight train, with a giant goat's head on its back and a whiplike tail with a venomous snake head at the end.  Sadly, there was no amazement. The entire time, it felt like I was playing one of the old D&D arcade button mashers/brawlers (Tower Of Doom or Shadow Over Mystara). Don't get me wrong...I loved those! But I loved them back then; I love them now as nostalgia. I don't think "Man wouldn't it be great if combat in a modern in-depth RPG was like those?" The Chimera battle was a big empty room, a huge enemy with a huge amount of health, and zero strategy. You just whacked it until it was dead. It didn't even have any AI, from what I could tell, it just jumped around in a predictable pattern and used its attacks at set times, whether it had a target or not.

I will concede that apart from the color palette issues I mentioned before, it was pretty. There was a lot of detail, the running animation was pretty okay. I was kind of impressed with the lighting engine. The dragon you see right at the beginning looked pretty cool, from what I was able to see of it while trying to adjust the stupid camera.

All in all though, the game needs some polish, and I really don't think they'll be getting my hard-earned money on that one.  With all the glowing reviews that it's getting, maybe I'll redownload the demo and try out the rogue's path, but frankly the path that I played just left such a flat feeling that I don't think it's worth my time. 


  1. Nope, you didn't play the same game at all. I downloaded the demo and thought the game stunk. Then one day I tried a copy of the full game on my old account but installed on my good one by accident. Best mistake I've made so far. The game is very indulging and interactive, the controls are excellent the graphics not so great in some areas yet other areas more than make up for it. I have more than enough trophies but the game keeps me coming back since there is so much to do and I like the environment so much. Just make sure you take off all the HUDs if you want the best experience possible.

  2. Thank you for letting me know! You're actually not the first person to tell me that. I got in a discussion on Reddit when the game was released, and a lot of people said the same general thing, "The demo sucks, but give the game a chance because it's awesome". So I think once it drops in price, and I have a little more time, I will check it out.