Having missed out on most of the games released in the PS3 and Xbox 360 era until much later, there have been some genuinely great games I hadn’t played until remasters and ports happened. I only got to play Bayonetta when it became Backward Compatible on Xbox One. Dragon’s Dogma from Capcom was one of these games. When it released on PC last year, it looked very interesting and having played it now on PS4 thanks to Capcom re releasing and remastering once again, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is a magnificent game with a few flaws. This remaster is content complete but has no extras over the PC port last year and gameplay wise it is the same as the Dark Arisen version of the game that released a year after the original on PS3 and Xbox 360.
After a short prologue that explains the basics of combat to you and gets you accustomed to movement, you get to create your own character. The creation process is as simple or as detailed as you’d like it to be and you eventually get your heart ripped out as the Arisen. The different classes all drastically affect your gameplay more so than in usual action RPGs and you could always switch classes if you’d like after certain in game requirements are met. The best part outside of the combat is the world. It is massive and dangerous. The fast travel system is a little tedious to deal with thanks to how limited it is until later. The highlight is how night time affects the game. There isn’t just a dark blue light indicating night time here. It actually gets dark and you need a lantern that lights up just the area around you. Get ready to see shadows of enemies about to attack you. You’re always on your toes. Another great thing about Dragon’s Dogma is the pawn system. You have a main pawn and pawns you hire from the rift or around the main hub. If you get a pawn that has accompanied another player in their own game through quests you are involved with now, the pawn will help you out. This is an excellent in game system that makes Dragon’s Dogma even more special.
Remasters and remakes have been a thing in gaming for a while. In a few cases, like earlier this generation, publishers put out cheap ports with barely better performance and visuals as remasters to capitalize on the new console audience. Remasters like Saints Row IV are lazy and low effort while Metro Redux is a great example of a well done release. Even Dark Souls II on PS4 and Xbox One is a well done remaster or port. Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is almost definitive. While the framerate on PS4 and Xbox One is smooth with no drops in my time with it, it should have been 60fps. Given the visuals, Capcom should have gotten it running at 60fps. Visually, you can tell this is a last generation game remastered. There are a lot of low resolution textures and yet the game world manages to remain memorable with its locations and enemy design.
I have this bad habit of listening to the soundtrack before I play a game. Tadayoshi Makino’s soundtrack is glorious. It not only fits the game brilliantly but I wish every WRPG had music like this. Most of them have scores as boring as the combat in them. The only recent exceptions are Pillars of Eternity and Divinity: Original Sin. Voice acting is also really well done. Capcom really went all out with audio here. A lot of situations will see you relying on audio to navigate like in the dark at night. My only complaint is the lack of B’z Into Free -Dangan- as the menu music.
Overall, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is an experience any action RPG fan should have. It is available on almost every platform now. While I was hoping to see more improvements in the remaster, the lack of 60fps for a game that looks like this is pretty poor as a showing from Capcom. All things considered, the budget price on current platforms makes this an easy recommendation. Get ready to fly into free with Dragon’s Dogma on PS4 and Xbox One.