We all remember the great Action RPG “Dragon’s Dogma” released in 2012 by Capcom, and now we have something more to cheer about. “Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen” is out now with an expansion pack offering lots of new features. Dark Arisen includes the full version of the original game alongwith new enemies, quests, locations, weapons and a lot more. It was released for PS3 and Xbox 360 platforms in April 2013. Although not available as a DLC for the original game, it is sold on a separate disc. The game will also be available soon at the Xbox Live and PSN store.
The story is entertaining, yet confusing. It starts off in a fishing village named “Cassardis”, where a dragon and a large amount of harpies are summoned through a vortex in the sky, who then begin to break loose on the nearby village in search of the “chosen one”. This is when our self-named character (gender is also of your choice) ― main lead of the game enters to become the town’s savior in an attempt to defeat the dragon. Not very surprisingly, the monstrous creature easily wins the combat. At this point, the plot gets intense as the dragon proceeds to tear out the heart of our character and flees away. The character is later revived into a new life as the “Arisen”, destined to find and slay the beast that stole his heart.
Arisen then travels through a series of settlements, searching for clues to where he might find the dragon. He first arrives at a small settlement on his way to the capital “Gran Soren”. During the stay here, hydra attacks him The Hydra is defeated without much trouble, and Arisen cuts one of its heads to proceed towards the capital and present the head to the Duke of Gran Soren as a gift. Here the Arisen is hired by the duke “Wyrm Hunt”, and engages in many tasks assigned.
During the mission we discover the cult known as “Salvation” in a hole called “Everfall” who is looking for the dragon, named “Grigori” to demolish the world The Arisen attacks to stop the cult from capturing the castle in Gran Soren. After reaching the top of the castle, Arisen defeats Salvation, and is revealed the daunting news that Grigori has captured his love interest. Arisen at the tainted mountain is given an option either to give up his beloved or face the dragon. He faces Grigori, stabs his heart and recovers his own.
As if the plot wasn’t already confusing enough, we return to the capital to find an even more boggling situation with half of the city sunken into a gaping hole with greenish grey clouds that rain ash all over. The hole actually is Everfall, infested with scary monsters. Arisen enters the hole after he runs to escape the Duke’s guards, who have gone partly insane, and the Duke himself has turned into a frail old man. From here, the plot becomes almost incomprehensible with so much happening at the same time. We are given a companion named Quince ― who is to accompany us in to a fight with Seneshal ― the evil mastermind behind the working of the entire world; Seneshal is defeated rather easily. Later it is revealed that Arisen is not the only one left, but multiple Arisen exist in multiple universes.
Along the way Arisen discovers secret energy, meets numerous important individuals and develops his individual group of adventures with the assistance of the immortal pawn legion.
I won’t say that the plot is exceptional because although the story starts off strong, it becomes more and more confusing as the game progresses. If only all the events were more interlinked, it could’ve made a better story. Plus, there was a lack of information on the origin and background of the dragon.
Its gameplay is similar to the previous version where players had to choose a character class from many professions: Fighter, Warrior, Mystic Knight, Strider, Assassin, Ranger, Mage, Sorceror, and Magic Archer. This choice creates a variation in the tactical style of the game, where fighters depend on hack and slash battle like in the Devil May Cry Series (also by Capcom), while Striders rely scaling on big enemies.
The player’s party has three NPCs controlled by AI, but the players can issue orders to them. The group associates are refer to as “pawns” that can talk, ask the player for assistance and give information about the foes.
The game includes a “grab” action for e players to grab or stick onto NPCs, opponents and objects. Combat is different then what we’ve seen before; large enemies can be defeated by climbing up the enemy and delivering a lethal blow to the weakest part of their body. Larger enemies’ armors can also be removed by scaling their bodies. The grab action even allows players to pin down enemies for their fellows to attack them. The ability to throw things makes the combat even more interesting, such as covering enemies with oil before a fire attack. This could help in making deadly combos, really giving the baddies a run for their money.
The large open-world contains many NPCs who reposition in relation to their own plans, and players can talk to them. Dark Arisen also includes a day-night cycle; at night, the game gives a survival horror feel, like in the Resident Evil series. Generally, the setting is gruesome and seems rather medieval which goes really well with the story.
Players have access to about 40 hours of the main quests, along with 70 hours of additional quests in the single-player campaign. The multiplayer mode is not direct, though players can compete online in “events”.
Not really a sequel but an expansion pack,, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen features a whole new underground world with more than 25 new dreadful enemies. The amount of skills and items is more than ever with level 3 skills adding more abilities into each character class’ skill set. There is new gear ― over 100 new tools with sophisticated weapons and armor. Additionally there are 14 new pawn augments which make the game even better. Additional options in character customization add to the fun element of the game. Some items need purification before they can be used in the game ― an interesting feature that adds a touch of realism into the mystical world. This new version also adds an option to select Japanese voice-over to expand its global outreach, a feature that will definitely please players from Japan.
For me, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is 7.8 out of 10. It would've certainly been better with a well connected storyline, something that make more sense. However, the gameplay is fun and entertaining. If you’re only looking for a nice Action-RPG to play and don’t really care about the storyline, this one is for you! Moreover, it is highly recommended for the ones who haven’t already experienced the original version. All in all, at the given budget, it’s worth a try.