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Game Critics can’t seem to agree on Dragon’s Dogma

by Bill Hess on May 22, 2012

Capcom’s latest release seems to have critics inable to agree on whether the game is great or absolutely horrible. The brand new franchise for Capcom marks a different type of adventure than what the publisher has been throwing at its fan-base in recent history. By most accounts its a cross between Skyrim and Dark Souls, two of the best RPG’s of 2011. The problem is, not everyone gives this RPG the thumbs up.

Scores from respected gaming publications range from 90 all the way down to 40 on a 100 point scale. Some feature glowing praise, while others shred the ambitious title in nearly every aspect. Here are a few review scores from Metacritic and other sources.

Beefjack – 93 – Dragon’s Dogma is still a phenomenal piece of work. Very little of the game is particularly original, true, but it does a fantastic job with all the different influences it’s riffing on or building on top of.

The level design and unforgettable bosses surpass even that of Skyrim. Game Revolution – 90 – The level design and unforgettable bosses surpass even that of Skyrim. In that light, its noticeable hiccups become merely growing pains in the face of a powerful, new idea, one that’s sorely needed in an industry saturated with sequels and spin-offs. Inspired by both Dark Souls and Skyrim in almost all the best ways possible, it presents an open world that’s wrought with danger, yet begging for adventure, and shows that Capcom is ready to take a leap of faith. And so should you.

Game Trailers – 87 – If you’re the kind of player that can get completely lost in these sorts of open world RPGs, you’re going to eat Dragon’s Dogma alive. However much its reach exceeds its grasp in certain respects, this ambitious game succeeds in taking the form in an altogether welcome direction–one that does not sacrifice minute-to-minute gameplay on the altar of expansiveness.

Game Informer – 85 – Combat feels like a necessary part of the game’s design, rather than something that was begrudgingly added to provide interaction between cutscenes. I left the game feeling that I made my mark on Gransys the way I chose to, instead of being escorted from plot point to plot point. When you’re talking about an open-world game, I can’t think of higher praise.

EGM – 75 – Dragon’s Dogma is a fascinating and very enjoyable new take on the fantasy genre by Capcom, one that has a lot of promise held within it—but one which also sees some of that promise squashed due to the inclusion of an unneeded and annoying gimmick.

Destructoid – 75 – Just be aware that, for all the absorbing and exciting things to be found in Gransys, there are almost as many disappointing and infuriating things to let you down. Just grit your teeth, fight through the pain, and the rewards are there.

Polygon – 70 – Like many of the Western RPGs that influenced it, Dragon’s Dogma is an uneven experience, but it’s one that rewards patience and perseverance, and it’s a bold argument for why Japanese developers should continue making RPGs, with or without the inspiration from this side of the Pacific.

Edge – 70 – When Dragon’s Dogma succeeds, it offers a potent piece of alchemy – a studio that helped define the Japanese action genre redefining the Japanese roleplaying game. Capcom might not have crafted the kind of world in which players will invest, but it understands the powerful draw of party building and gear tweaking, the immediate thrills of slashing and spellcasting, and the spirit of adventure in sallying forth on a dragon hunt.

Eurogamer – 70 – Dragon’s Dogma is a game soundtracked by screaming guitars and a hyperactive orchestra; a game whose story is told with showboating faux-Shakespearean flourish; a game set within acres of countryside scrawled with boastful castles; a game fronted by a hero whose heart has been plucked from his chest by a dragon’s fingernails. Despite all of this, it is also a game that understands the value of understatement.

Any brief flickers of fun I came across were consistently extinguished by the game’s oppressive flaws.Now Gamer – 61 – The combat is usually pretty satisfying, if sometimes clumsy to the point of being unfair, and even if the ‘unique’ stuff falls mostly very flat, RPG fundamentals like exploration, character development, customisation, looting, crafting and storytelling are executed to a decent standard. The problem is that there are several much better RPGs around right now.

Official Xbox Magazine – 60 – Much like the main character’s chest cavity, this RPG ultimately feels hollow, with no real heart.

Joystiq – 40 – Any brief flickers of fun I came across were consistently extinguished by the game’s oppressive flaws.

Say Something
  • Dragon’s Balls

    Bought it last night because of Game Informer review, returning it today as soon as I wake up. This is trash, first thing that happens when you turn it on is Day one DLC thanks Crapcom, you’re making me not want to ever buy another game you make again.

    • Cool dude


  • njb

    All the previews i have seen r positive. And the livestreams have me want to buy it. Its not perfect and the day 1 dlc is annoying but if u preordered it like me u get all the dlc. £33.99 is less than retail price and the dlc will cost at least £10. So this preorder saves me money. And il get it tomoro 2 days before release.

  • Wesley Copeland

    Firstly, this article is great! I’m really struggling with the reviews. I reviewed it, and loved it. My problem doesn’t stem from the usual personal preference argument though.

    With an FPS, there can be a difference of opinion. I find Modern Warfare dull and uninspired, but others don’t, and I’ll never tell people what to play and what not to play.

    RPGs are different though. I’m a huge RPG nerd and I’m not ashamed to admit it. The big difference between an RPG and FPS in terms of reviews is that one person’s experience can be vastly different to another person’s experience.

    I hate to say it, but I’ve read certain reviews whereby the reviewer is simply not playing the game right.

    How many reviews have covered throwing an enemy over a cliff-face as a legitimate tactic?

    There’s also reviews, like the Joystiq one, where the reviewer is reporting his experience as fact, whereas in reality, his facts are wrong.

    There’s also an argument I was told via Twitter that reads: “Reviewers increasingly don’t know what to do with games that don’t tell them precisely what to do.”

    I get that people won’t like Dragon’s Dogma, and that’s fine. But the amount of reviewers who aren’t giving it a fair go, really frustrates me. It’s piss-poor journalism at its best.

    There, rant over. Thanks for listening, I feel loads better now. :)

  • Stephen

    The only thing wrong with game after playing for few hours now is the fast traveling. Its not like Skyrim where once you visit someplace you can just teleport back there. In Dragon’s Dogma, however, you basically have to travel by foot everywhere until you can unlock ferrystones, by doing certain quests, which you to teleport to major places.

  • bigjershby

    @wesley copeland 1) im a rpg nerd and il admit it to any1 also hell i had this xbox fanboy in my drug class a few years back trying to tell me how awsome cod mw2 was and i had to tell him in are lil circle in front of every1 that i was playing a game called whiteknight Chronicles and i couldnt care less about another fps

    2) sandbox rpgs do have that problem my brother played fallout 3 not long ago and he managed to bet the game send it back to his gamefly and when i asked him how did he like fighting the behemeths HE DIDNT EVEN KNOW WTF I WAS TALKING ABOUT!!!!!

    3) some reviewers have no right reviewing games cuz they do a half assed job and for some reason people relie on these reviews to chose if they like the game r not for example a few week ago i read a review for starhawk for the ps3 and this guy played the multiplayer for only 2 hours and wrought a full review …go look up starhawk and ull see within 5 mins u cant judge that games multiplayer in 2 hours its more complex then battlefield 3 with more vehicles and bigger maps the games like halo and starcraft mixed together that dont sound like something u cant grasp in 2 hours….

    • Wesley Copeland

      Couldn’t agree more.

      To be honest, I’ve lost all faith in the major sites when it comes to reviews. Spouting a Shakespeare silique instead of just discussing the game annoys the living hell out of me.

      “Beautifully married components, shows an overly large aortic pump from the development team.”

      The above line may be a tad exaggerated, but you get my point.

      What happened to reviewers who played games?

      Give me indie, less mainstream sites any day!

  • hoppsy

    From all the reviews i’ve read i’m getting that its heavily influenced by the elder scrolls series and souls series of games…..regardless of flaws i’m in.

    soon as pay day comes at the end of the month i’m getting this

  • njb

    Wesley, u summed it up nicely. Im still just scratchin the surface of DD and its limitless in ways u fight enemies. They have more than 1 weakness and so many tactics to utilise ur party. And i love how ur main pawn is constantly learning. And the pawns u hire gain knowledge as well. Its nice to hire ur friends or randoms pawn when they have completed quests u havent and to see them in battle against foes u havent faced or u struggle with. Plus their area knowledge is usefull and they will tell u were some items r.

    It great, i think capcom took a step in the right direction apart from the day 1 dlc but it doesnt actually stop you fron playin in anyway and if u need to buy rift crystals then.u suck. U get them as easy as money when u complete quests. And when ppl hire ur pawn you get crystals. Ive had loads of new players hire my pawn and ive earned a bit of Crystals and items but also my pawn has helped them. 5 star pawn. Lol

  • bigjershby

    im going to play this game but between 130 hours on skyrim(speaking of why i hate reviews SKYRIM MOST BROKEN GAME EVER i still had over 25 quest i couldnt finish and the AI OMG GOTY!!!!! BBBBBBBBUUULLLLLLLLLROOOOAARRRR)and 120 hours on KOA: reckoning and dark souls mixed in the middle AND then the witcher 2 after all of that i need a break but yea njb makes it sound good

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