The journey returns.
I can still hear that music. The first time I fired up Dragon’s Dogma, that intro tune really drove home the type of experience I was about to have. The original release of Capcom’s take on fantasy, open-world RPGs was a lot of things, but most importantly, it was a unique take on the genre. Now, four years after its initial appearance, it has finally come to PC. Complete with a handful of improvements and the expansion, this is by far the most complete and best-looking version of the game. The question is, after four years, is it still an adventure worth taking?
We have spoken at length about the Dragon’s Dogma series. My colleague Drew reviewed the original game when it launched on Xbox 360, you can check out his review here. I also covered the Dark Arisen expansion when it arrived a year later. You can view that here.
I am not going to dig too deep into the mechanics of the game in this review, but instead focus on what sets this version apart from its console counterparts.
Price I’d Pay: $29.99
This is still Dragon’s Dogma – one of the most divisive games to come out of Capcom since the inception of the company. It is one part Skyrim, one part Dark Souls, and a whole lot of its own devices. This open-world RPG borrows from the best, sprinkles in its own flavor, and the results are an interesting blend of western and eastern RPG ideas. For those that did not enjoy the mash-up before, this version doesn’t do anything drastic to change the formula.
Combat is what really sold Dragon’s Dogma for me. There are so many options, and the ability to mount larger enemies to attack weak points really adds to the dynamic. It is by far my favorite combat system in any open-world fantasy game. The little touches really add to the world too. Electricity is more effective against water and so on and so forth. Everything in battle can be used the way players think it should, breaking dynamics and limitations of other titles in the genre.
The PC version packs all of the content available post launch. This includes a ton of cosmetic options for the already deep character creator. It also contains the new Bitterblack Isle found in Dark Arisen. This area is only for the hardcore, and is certainly more akin to the difficulty of the popular Dark Souls games. I tried to enter it post-game after completing the main story, only to realize I needed to grind even more to survive its treacherous dungeons.
For those that never returned to Dragon’s Dogma when Dark Arisen arrived, Capcom also made some quality of life changes to the game. Fast-travel became friendlier by dropping the price of Ferry Stones from 20,000 to 2,000. These are the items that can be placed across the world to create fast-travel points. There is also an unlimited-use Ferry Stone that becomes available early on in the game. The original was packed with tons of walking between places, and these stones were extremely rare, which was one of the biggest complaints.
This version also upgrades the visuals in a meaningful way. The original game still holds up alright, but the PC version allows for extreme frame rates, upwards of 150fps. Those with beefy PCs can also max out the resolution and achieve 4k if their rig can handle it. One of the biggest changes though is the game is no longer sporting the controversial letterboxing found in the original. The game spans out to the farthest reaches of the screen now on standard 16×9 monitors.
There is nothing quite like Dragon’s Dogma, even four years later revisiting it, I feel it made strides other games have still yet to imitate. For those that already made the journey though, this PC port feels more like a gesture of good faith, than a reason to return to Gransys. Still for those that have forgotten the glory, or never gave it a chance, this is the version to own. I enjoyed revisiting this forgotten gem, now please can we just have a sequel, oh and make sure it has the original intro song. Still a classic.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.