Dragons Dogma 2 Review
Image: Capcom

Dragon’s Dogma 2 review – A classic reborn

A memorable fantasy RPG.

Although I’ve not played the original Dragon’s Dogma, the sequel feels like a polished reflection of the original in the best way possible. While Dragon’s Dogma 2 sometimes feels outdated with mechanics that feel like they were pulled from decade-old games, they’re charming and add to this fantasy RPG’s quirky personality.

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Arisen
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Rise, Arisen

As soon as you jump into Dragon’s Dogma 2, you’re met with an intricate character creator that allows you to poke and prod at every detail of your Arisen and Pawn. Sure, you can create a monstrosity, but you can also go in the opposite direction and make compelling and grounded characters.

I was immediately dropped into a story that was a little convoluted at first, as I wasn’t sure who I was in the larger context of the narrative. That’s because Dragon’s Dogma 2 starts with a classic – if a bit cliched – trope: you are an Arisen, a person marked by a dragon you are destined to battle, who has lost their memory and is quickly thrust into a complex world to unravel the secrets of a false Sovren.

While I didn’t gel well with the main narrative, the slow unraveling of the characters you meet and get to know picked up the slack while the story slowly gripped me. It started to almost feel like a huge Dungeons and Dragons campaign that you and other players (in this case your Pawns) are experiencing together through side quests packed with difficult choices that lead to even deeper side quests.

Dragons Dogma 2 Review Golem
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A changing and living world

This is a living and breathing world that, as I said, feels like a nerd’s D&D world come to life. As someone who loves D&D, I couldn’t help but feel like I was going on a true adventure and meeting NPCs who were integral to the world and its stories. NPCs in Dragon’s Dogma 2 all have names, likes, and dislikes. Revisiting cities and their corresponding NPCs felt warm and welcoming. No matter where I went, I had a potential Pawn or just a friendly familiar face to chat with.

Capcom did a wonderful job at making you feel like you should care for these NPCs and can build meaningful relationships with them and even romance them. I started one side quest that seemed like it would end after I made a definitive choice, but an hour later I found the same NPC in a different situation that had spun off from the first. I felt like my interactions with the world and its populace had a tangible and meaningful butterfly effect. The more I got to know this NPC, the more I realized this wasn’t some random quest-giver. I had been directly engaging with smaller elements of the main narrative without knowing it through side quests.

Even outside of the towns I felt like there were mysteries to be solved through the seemingly endless array of villages, caves, and deserted castles. Although there wasn’t as much environmental storytelling as I’d like in these areas without NPCs to chat with, I was still excited to check out a fork in the path or a house with a locked door and no other entrance.

Dragons Dogma 2 Review Brant
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An old identity

Dragon’s Dogma 2 strips away some conveniences of the modern, large-scale action RPG in the hope of connecting you to the world. Some players will drop off Dragon’s Dogma 2 due to how old-fashioned some of its systems and mechanics can feel at times. Fast travel, for instance, is an option, though it is purposely designed to not be as fluid as you might be accustomed to in other expansive RPGs. You can use Ferrystones to teleport from one town to the next at a cost of gold. There’s also the Oxcart for quick and cheap travel, but you’ll often be stopped by monsters on the way. Timed side quests ensure that quests don’t languish in a backed-up quest log, and when you do get them it’s often because an NPC is in imminent danger. And, in a rather jarring move, there are no save files.

By no save files, I mean that while the game autosaves constantly and you can save at any time, the only save you can reload is your last save or autosave, or from the last time you slept at an inn. You can’t make multiple save files, and that means no Baldur’s Gate 3-style save scumming here. Dragon’s Dogma 2 wants you to live with your choices and the results of your actions.

I love the combat system, and my Sorcerer feels extremely powerful with her arsenal of spells, but there are some irksome aspects. While there is a soft lock-on ability, it’s not easy to switch targets while aiming. I often found myself aiming directly at a Cyclops’ head yet unable to lock on, instead having to awkwardly aim for the sky in the hope that the game would eventually get that I was trying to aim at the head. I wish it was a little more manual for ranged-attack Vocations.

Dd2 Medusa
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Hands-off approach

The one thing that I just couldn’t wrap my head around is how hands-off so many of the quests were. Sure, I like being able to solve a puzzle or quest myself without having an NPC give me all the answers. But sometimes Dragon’s Dogma 2 will purposefully make quests so vague that you’re left feeling like you missed key information or you’re doing something wrong.

One quest tasked me with finding a missing boy. He was last seen being dragged off by a pack of wolves. I asked around town, and the townsfolk vaguely pointed me toward a location that I then visited. The boy was nowhere to be found. This was a timed side quest. I searched far and wide without knowing exactly where to look with little else other than the ambiguous NPC dialogue providing guidance.

By the time I figured out where I was actually supposed to go, it was too late. I failed to save the kid. This can be quite frustrating, as most of the quests are like this. I do appreciate it when games don’t hold my hand, but sometimes Dragon’s Dogma 2 took this to a whole other level that left me feeling lost.

Dragons Dogma 2 Review Combat
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Sometimes beautiful, sometimes slow

Graphically, Dragon’s Dogma 2 looks amazing. Playing on a PC, I had to mess with the settings a bit to get the preferred performance, but once I got it all dialed in, it often looked great. Though, things would get a bit grainy in certain situations. For example, I’d be near the water, and for some reason, the lightning on my character looked incredibly grainy and my Arisen had a weird outline.

Leaving a big city to look into the horizon is spectacular, as you can see the mountains in the distance with a large Griffon flying above its peaks. Then you get to combat, where you have a larger-than-life enemy in front of you, while your Arisen and your three Pawns are performing an effects-heavy attack and casting dazzling spells.

The game didn’t stutter too much, even in these graphically intensive moments. I had only one moment in combat that caused my game to crash, and the framerate only took a hit in towns. Many players won’t enjoy the fact that Dragon’s Dogma 2 sticks to around 30 fps at all times, as it’s quite noticeable in busy areas.

Ulrika
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Fantasy at its finest

Despite some mild criticism, Capcom’s Dragon’s Dogma 2 was a blast to play and is still incredibly enjoyable as I’m making my way through its endgame. Every time I jump back in after some time away, I find myself getting quickly enraptured by the fun and deep combat, the richly detailed side quests, and the exploration that the negatives seem to melt away. It’s certainly not a perfect game, and at times will feel a little too old-fashioned, but I’ve learned to appreciate the identity Dragon’s Dogma 2 has made for itself.

If you haven’t gotten your copy of Dragon’s Dogma 2 yet you can get it on PC, Xbox Series X/S, and PS5.

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8.5
Dragon’s Dogma 2
Dragon's Dogma 2 is an incredible fantasy RPG that immerses you into a living and breathing world full of memorable NPCs and terrifying monsters. It often starts to feel old-fashioned in its gameplay design, but you can find the charm in it after many hours of gameplay.

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Author
Anyka Pettigrew
Anyka Pettigrew has been a Staff Writer for PC Invasion since November 2023 and a Contributing Writer since February 2023. She is a Canadian graduate of a Bachelor of Arts degree who has been writing in games journalism for four years. Anyka is an avid guides writer but also enjoys writing anything from news pieces, to reviews, and even opinion pieces. Having a never-ending passion for video games for as long as she can remember got her into a plethora of genres like action adventure, RPGs, horror, survival etc. Some of her favorite franchises are God of War, Persona, The Last of Us, Zelda, and Resident Evil. She also enjoys reading fantasy and sci-fi books, as well as drawing digital art. Anyka also regularly listens to podcasts on gaming news from 'Kinda Funny Games', and 'Play, Watch, Listen'.