Intro and Gameplay
In a market crowded with sequels, reboots and cookie-cutter garbage, it's always a risk for game devs and publishers to come up with something fresh and new. Back in 2012, Capcom released Dragon's Dogma to the masses on both PS3 and Xbox 360. While the game was similar to the Souls series in a way, it was something different and new, despite some disappointing frame rate issues. Shortly after, Dark Arisen was released with some new content and improvements. Fast forward to 2016 and we have what I consider the definitive and by far, the best version of the game to date.
Yes, the gameplay and story are mostly the same but it's polished to a spit shine and is definitely a PC port done right. There are multiple control options including a wired 360 controller along with a better-than-expected mouse and keyboard control scheme. The game itself is a mixture of exploration and adventure with the difficulty of the Souls games, as mentioned. The game is spattered with quiet moments, subtle and nuanced overlooking a small fishing village while other moments are grand and bombastic whilst dragon-fire is engulfing you. Exploration and combat are a joy in this huge adventure that has all the DLC and areas to date. Whether you are new to the game or a console veteran, the PC version is superb overall. Whether you want to bash your way through armies of baddies as a beefy solider or lightweight but powerful magic user, the choice is yours.
Graphics and Sound
Ahhh... I love when good console games are ported correctly to the powerful PC platform. PC Master Race Unite! Phew, back on track here. Taking a 1080p game @ 30FPS and running it in 4K @ 60 FPS is an absolute joy and Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is the perfect example of how stunning PC ports can turn out when handled by the right teams. Now, don't get me wrong, there are some nasty, low res textures here and there with some drab environments but overall, this game is beautiful to look at. An interesting mix for sure between some truly ugly moments but plenty moments of pure art that are worth the price of admission. Animation is generally on par with the graphics as a hit and miss but mostly, it works.
The audio? Equally as impressive as the graphics. The sound effects are striking and the soundtracks is both parts light and airy with some grand moments of tension and excitement. I found the intro to be particularly gripping as the voice of the dragon really stands out among the action. This is a solid and noteworthy audio package for sure. I absolutely love games that have quality and quantity in this department and DD:DA, delivers in this area fo' sho!
Value and Fun
If you can't tell by now, I'm impressed by the this game, not only by its own merits, but the fact that it stands out among the best in console ports done right on PC, especially so many years after. For extremely fair price, you get a huge adventure packed to the gills with quality content and a game that flew under many people's radars. It's a bit slower paced than a lot of hack n' slash adventures such as this but don't let that steer you away. This is a mystical hidden gem buried in a busy gaming world that deserves your gaming dollar.