This sense of adventure is what really hooked on Dragon’s Dogma. Out in the desert feels like a real expedition. You must spend time prepare, gather knowledge on a quest, and adjusting your party and equipment, because once you are there there is nothing and no one to save you when the night begins to fall. It inspires real fear when the sun begins to set and I’m still far from wherever I can be safe for the night. Visibility fails after dark, and the most dangerous creatures out of hiding: the undead, fantasies and powerful bandits who expect the cover of darkness before they strike. You never know what is out there.
But here’s a hint: huge monsters that are bosses in most other games roam the deserts, forcing you to either flee or fight to your last breath at unexpected times. Climbing these beasts to hack away bravely at their head as they thrash around brings back fond memories of Shadow of the Colossus. At best it feels like a synthesis of the challenge and the versatility of Dark Souls and satisfactory physical Monster Hunter.
Dragon’s Dogma main problem, apart from these technical features forgivable, remains deeply insipid fiction and writing that envelop its action-RPG gameplay. The land is beautiful and compelling Gransys explorable, but people and quests that inhabit it are, mostly, about as interesting and tasty as cement. The exception is the end, which is sublimely bonkers. I did not even know exactly how crazy it was when I saw him last year. Even thousands of players still together to discover the full range of bizarre permutations.