Dragon’s Dogma 2 First Impressions | Finally, Arisen

Finally, a sequel to one of Capcom's best RPGs of all time is a real thing, and it's amazing.

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At long last, after more than a decade since the launch of its predecessor, Dragon’s Dogma 2 is finally a real thing and it’s looking to continue the incredible AAA release momentum Capcom has had in recent years. After having a blast playing with it at Tokyo Game Show 2023, here are my Dragon’s Dogma 2 first impressions. 

The first game was among the most memorable, rewarding, and engaging RPG titles ever made. Dragon’s Dogma ticked all the right boxes for me being a game filled with huge monsters, exciting challenges, and an intriguing dark fantasy setting to get (almost literally) lost in. It’s the result of what it would be like if you combined Monster Hunter and Devil May Cry.

For years, fans (most definitely including me) were begging for a sequel. For every good idea the game had, it had one or two minor flaws that hindered it from being a complete masterpiece. There’s the troubled navigation, clunky inventory management, and the you-either-love-it-or-you-really-hate-it pawn system where they just keep yapping at you. But for some odd reasons, it was also these cons that gave it a charming personality. With Dragon’s Dogma 2, Capcom took everything that worked and polished it all up while also improving upon what didn’t. It’s still very much the Dragon’s Dogma we all know and love, it just plays so much better. 

Unfortunately, we were only given about 15 minutes to try the current build of the game on the PS5. I noticed that it wasn’t running at 60 fps so I assumed Capcom made it default to Fidelity Mode. When I tried changing the setting to favor performance, there was no option to do so. Hopefully, this won’t be the case for the final release.

For my gameplay session, I chose to play as a Thief, favoring fast and flashy moves. The TGS 2023 build of Dragon’s Dogma 2 started out in an area just outside of a town. I was already accompanied by 3 other pawns, with each one having a distinct class and race. I immediately set out into the woods. I noticed that sprinting does not consume stamina anymore. However, near the end of my sessions, after I picked up more loot, unlimited sprinting was no longer a thing. I’m not exactly sure about how accurate my theory is but I’m guessing stamina management is based on how much weight is being carried. 

But on to the main event, the combat. The action in Dragon’s Dogma 2 feels amazing. My killing spree started out with just a bunch of random trolls roaming the forest. As far as I could tell, the pawns no longer scream out “HARPY!” every 5 seconds. Those who played the first game will feel right at home. It’s frantic, impactful, and a visual spectacle all while being accompanied by an oh-so-satisfying sound design. 

The pawns that were with me felt like they provided support in a way that didn’t feel too much or too little. I got the necessary buffs and heals when I needed them or just before I was about to execute a special move. I even tried to take a step back and see how they operate on their own and they do dish out the punishment to the enemies when they can. In the rare moments that I got downed in battle, I no longer had to wait 2-3 business days to be revived. The nearest available pawn would sprint to me, clear out any enemy that was near, and pull me back on my feet. They now feel more like actual companions rather than extra punching bags to steal aggro for the player. 

After a few minutes of just plowing through normal mobs, I finally encountered exactly what I was looking for, a giant monster. A huge cyclope, whose height was about 2-3 trucks stacked on top of each other was just randomly minding its own business as it took a stroll in the woods. So naturally, I ran up to him and stabbed his legs. The monster roared, music ramped up, and a boss health bar emerged. At this point, I was already smiling.

The original feelings all came rushing back. The sense of scale, adrenaline, and idea that I’m just a fly trying to take down a lion. Clinging onto the cyclops and slashing away at him while he desperately tries to swat me down never got old. At a certain point, the towering giant stumbled to the ground giving me and my pawns the opportunity to dish out more punishment. Combat animations, as expected, look fantastic. Once we were finally able to take it down, I realized that the fight was only a random encounter in the forest and it felt like a full-on boss fight in other games. And that’s exactly what makes Dragon’s Dogma 2 and its predecessor so special.

Near the end of my session, I found a random cave that one of my pawns suggested that she visited before. It was filled with a bunch of mob enemies but before I could find out what awaited at the end, the time was up. However, the point is that Dragon’s Dogma 2 really piqued the explorer’s curiosity for me. Games like Tears of the Kingdom and Elden Ring are so good at presenting a world that invites you to continue going down the rabbit hole. Dragon’s Dogma 2 feels like it’ll follow the same route. Easily one of the most anticipated releases of 2024.