Dragon’s Dogma II: next-gen open-world RPGs come of age?

Capcom’s Dragon’s Dogma has long been something of a cult classic; while it’s rarely held up as one of the best RPGs of all time by the mainstream, those who played it tended to really love it, and will happily talk your ear off for hours about how much they enjoyed it. Even better, it’s still easy to enjoy today, thanks to the expanded Dark Arisen version being readily available for current platforms.

As part of its 2023 showcase event, Capcom revealed an upcoming sequel, set to arrive on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series blargh and PC via Steam at some as-yet unspecified point in the near future. And from this early trailer, it looks as if developers are really starting to get to grips with the possibilities that “next-gen” hardware offers. And yes, I know said “next-gen” has been around for nearly three years at this point, but with the PS4 still on the market and receiving new games, it’s hard to feel like we’ve truly made that transition fully.

Dragon’s Dogma II is, like its predecessor, an open-world action RPG with an emphasis on freedom of character development and approaches to various situations. Running on Capcom’s excellent RE Engine, the game world is supposedly four times the size of the previous title, offering plenty of things to explore.

One element of the game that appears to have had a big upgrade is the physics-based side of things. Capcom specifically highlighted the ability to use physics to your advantage in combat, with specific examples being given of blowing up a bridge or pulling a monster’s leg out from underneath them. As we’ve seen with titles like Tears of the Kingdom, a solid physics model can make a huge difference to how an open world game plays, adding a ton of player creativity and flexibility, so it’s exciting to imagine the possibilities this adds to Dragon’s Dogma.

Again following the cues of its predecessor, Dragon’s Dogma II sees the return of the “Pawn” system, whereby you can design a custom companion for your player character, who will then support you automatically.

Dragon's Dogma II

You can also recruit up to two additional Pawns designed by other players, allowing you to play in a party of four characters in total. Capcom claims that this provides the feeling of playing a co-op game without actually having to play with other people, though it remains to be seen quite how convincing this is. The original Dragon’s Dogma was rather fondly regarded for the sometimes erratic behaviour of its Pawns, after all — which was always amusing when they had names like “Chonk Lord”.

Capcom hasn’t yet revealed much about the story of Dragon’s Dogma II, but it looks as if it follows directly on from the first, with the player once again taking on the role of the Arisen and having to take on the Dragon, the herald of the end of days, who apparently wasn’t quite as “dealt with” as one might have hoped at the conclusion of the previous game.

There are, it seems, two major non-player characters who have an important role in the story: Ulrika, an archer who apparently has a “deep connection” with the Arisen (just not deep enough to have appeared in the first game, presumably) and Nadinia, a high priestess from the cat-like beastren race. Exactly what these two will be getting up to with the Arisen remains to be seen, but presumably we will end up fighting alongside them in major main scenario battles, among other things.

Dragon's Dogma II

Thus far, Dragon’s Dogma II is looking very promising indeed. By combining the flexible open-world approach of an Elder Scrolls game with combat mechanics that aren’t absolute dogshit, the series has always occupied a fond place in many players’ hearts — and it seems likely that this will continue with the sequel.

As previously noted, though, probably the most pleasing thing about it is seeing third-party developers — particularly those from Japan — finally feeling like it’s worth going “all-in” on the latest generation of gaming hardware. It’s taken a while, but we might finally be moving forwards. Let’s hope it’s worth it!

Join The Discussion

Rice Digital Discord
Rice Digital Twitter
Rice Digital Facebook

Or write us a letter for the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page by clicking here!

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on them. This is at no additional cost to you and helps support Rice Digital!

Pete Davison
Spread the love!

Related post

This will close in 0 seconds