Dragon’s Dogma 2 is gritty, janky, goofy, tough, and lots of fun

AI SaaS

Player shooting down a griffon with circling beams of light.
Enlarge / One day I will own griffons in such spectacular fashion. But I’m currently carrying a too-heavy backpack and clipped through a hut wall.

With all due respect to the Capcom team, which poured itself into Dragon’s Dogma 2 and deserves praise, raises, and time off, let me get right to it: I love this game for how dumb it is.

I mean “dumb” in the way most heavy metal lyrics are dumb, but you find yourself rocking out nonetheless. Dumb like when you laugh uncontrollably at the sight of someone getting conked in the head and falling over backward. Dumb as in the silliest bits of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, just nowhere near as self-aware (unless, due to translation issues, this game actually is self-aware, then I apologize).

Dragon’s Dogma 2 (DD2) reminds me of playing another huge, dumb, enjoyable game: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Not the first time you play through it, though. I’m talking about the second or third run-through (or that 100-plus-hour save in which you refuse to finish the game), and your admiration of this huge, rich world gives way to utter ridiculousness. You one-shot dragons with your broken stealth-archer build, you put buckets on the heads of NPCs to rob them, and you marvel at how the most effective fast travel is horse tilting. You lunge into possibilities, choose chaos, and appreciate all the ways you can do so.

Rogue-ish fighter Peter looks on as The Arisen finds himself done in by his greatest foe yet: the awning on a small village hut, next to a rocky hill.

Rogue-ish fighter Peter looks on as The Arisen finds himself done in by his greatest foe yet: the awning on a small village hut, next to a rocky hill.

DD2 gives me those multifaceted Skyrim thrills and chuckles (and a friend confirmed Morrowind works here, too). One time, I had to reload the game because my character—the “Arisen,” savior of the continent, heralded throughout the land—got stuck between a stone hut and an angled hill behind it. Someday, he will challenge the world-conquering dragon, but today, he can’t turn sideways or climb three feet.

Sorry, what's that about recruit training, Phill? I'm having trouble hearing you over the deadly hand-to-hand combat.

Sorry, what’s that about recruit training, Phill? I’m having trouble hearing you over the deadly hand-to-hand combat.

Another time, a band of nearby goblins launched an attack against my squad and a band of nearby knights. The knights’ leader, midway through a lengthy, high-falutin dialogue dirge, just kept talking. Even when a goblin set one of his soldiers on fire less than two feet to his right, he kept yapping.

DD2 has a huge, rich, and varied world, full of systems that just barely fit together, regularly bashing into one another in ways that delight, annoy, and astound. But there is a solid, if quirky, game at its core that rewards exploration and experimentation. The plot, while overwrought with nobility and rebirth and destinies, is intriguing in its broad strokes but let down by the aforementioned dialogue.

The game has made me say, “This is so ridiculous” and “This is amazing” to myself in roughly equal amounts, and that feels like an achievement.

AI SaaS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *