Capcom is a company that loves to re-releases its video games. Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen originally came out in 2013 for the PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles. Since that period, the game has now been ported over to the PC and now the PS4 and Xbox One consoles.
HD remasters/remakes have been released by several companies over the years for PS4 and Xbox One. Games such as Grand Theft Auto V, The Last of Us, and even the Crash Bandicoot trilogy show what a good re-release should look like.
On the flipside of that, you get several other remasters that offer nothing different and are just a straight port of the original. Activision’s Prototype and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Ezio Collection comes to mind here. Which category does the PS4 and Xbox One version of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen lie?
Sadly, the PS4 and Xbox One version of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen falls into the latter category. To me, this remaster feels like a straight port as I didn’t notice many differences after comparing it to the PS3 version I got to play over four years ago.
Don’t get me wrong, Dragon’s Dogma is an excellent video game if you have never played it before. I just feel this remaster offers nothing new for someone like me that has played the game before.
Visually, I don’t think Capcom did that much to improve the graphics. Some of the textures and environments look smoother, although the overall look of the game is outdated. The visuals just get a minor upgrade compared to the original PS3 and Xbox 360 versions.
If there is one thing I noticed, it’s that this new PS4 and Xbox One version has far better load times compared to the original. In terms of gameplay content, every version is identical so you won’t be seeing any extra DLC or gameplay improvements.
As for the game itself, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is a highly addictive and enjoyable action RPG. If you have never played it before, I would say that it’s similar to games like Dark Souls and Nioh. You have a huge open world to explore where you can fight big epic bosses and lots of enemies.
That said, Dragon’s Dogma is far easier to play compared to the likes of Nioh and Dark Souls. For one, you won’t die multiple times like in those games plus the smaller enemies are far easier to kill. Not to mention Dragon’s Dogma has a far more generous stamina meter so your character will not get tired as quickly as in those other games.
Before you get to play the game though, you have to create your own character. The character customization is quite generous because you are able to create both a male or female character and alter them as much as you like. There are a plethora of body types for you to choose from to make them look unique.
You can also choose between three different class types at the beginning of the game. The class types are a Fighter, Strider and a Mage. When you progress further into the story, more class types become available to you to suit your personal playing style.
When I played the game four years ago, I was a Fighter and mainly fought with a sword and shield. I opted to play as a Strider this time around and it was pretty cool getting a different experience playing with a bow and arrow instead. Shooting enemies from afar was far easier than fighting them up close.
Speaking of combat, this game’s fighting mechanics are excellent. As I mentioned before, the game is not as hard as Nioh/Dark Souls, but that does not mean that this is a normal hack-and-slash game. The enemies in this game are quite smart so you will have to exploit their weaknesses.
For example, one monster was attacking the city so I had to use fiery arrows to shoot at its eye. You sometimes also have to climb on big bosses to hack them up close. The bosses are by far the best thing you will encounter in this entire video game. There are loads of them for you to see and they are all challenging to beat.
To make things easier for you, Dragon’s Dogma includes a really helpful ‘Pawn’ system. Pawns are A.I. mates that join you in your journey and they are important. Unlike A.I. characters in other games, these characters actually aid you in battle. They are helpful during boss fights and can revive you if you are down.
The game offers a nice huge map for you to explore, although sometimes I feel the game is too big for its own good. The game can get repetitive sometimes where you have to backtrack to another place. You will do a LOT of walking in this game that sometimes slows down the pace too much for my taste.
In terms of the game’s story, it’s very unique and an adventure you want to play until the end. At the start of the game, an evil dragon invades your humble fishing town called Cassardis. Your character tries his/her best to fight the dragon but to no avail.
The dragon then grabs the character’s heart and they die. However, they are revived as an ‘Arisen’ and then you are tasked to kill the dragon and get your heart back. I remember the story being odd when I first played it, but you will want to play until the end to find out what happens.
Overall, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is a very good action RPG that offers a satisfying combat system and hours of gameplay. However, if you have already played the game before this re-release on PS4 and Xbox One does not offer anything new or fresh. The visuals and gameplay are nearly identical. This is only worth buying if you never played it before.