Dragon’s Dogma 2 Xbox Review 9/10 "The most fun I’ve had in a single player game in 2024" ⚔️🐲🔥👹 @DragonsDogma #DragonsDogma2

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Dragon’s Dogma 2  Xbox Review
As someone who is – and will be forever – drawn towards single player RPGs, The last few months have been very, very fun. I’ve played three games that stand out in my mind for different reasons, and between them cover a lot of the main points that appeal to me about the genre at its core.

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden won me over with its understated characters, music, atmospherics and earthiness, whilst Outcast: A New Beginning featured incredible traversal mechanics and lore, and now Dragon’s Dogma 2 – and out of the three, this is the title that I, by far, have the strongest history with – comes blazing out of the gate with its main strengths being in how much it embraces and excels at being a video game, completely nailing combat mechanics and explosive, immediate gameplay.

It’s a game that is a pleasure to write about, and I feel like I could just list all of my in-game experiences to get my point across because there are so many personal stories to tell, all through a design sentiment that eschews seriousness to put fun and gameplay at the absolute fore.

Dragon’s Dogma 2  Xbox Review
Some backstory is needed here, I’ll skip over the previous Dragon’s Dogma as you really don’t need to have played that to enjoy this, as it’s in effect a revamping as opposed to a direct sequel. That said, you do need to know what an Arisen is - every life cycle, Drake, the big, nasty dragon of the game, eats the heart of an Arisen and brings them back to life, that individual is then sworn to take down Drake, when they are ready.

In this cycle, however, a false Arisen has laid claim to the throne, and you – along with a handful of allies in the palace – must clandestinely work together to win the support of the people and topple this usurper, else your plans will come to naught…you’ll near ‘naught’ and ‘ought’ a lot. A LOT.

The story, however, is effectively a vehicle for fun. Yes, people talk in ‘ye olde Englishe’ and there’s a big baddie, and grand schemes unveiling, but even these are pushed aside in the pursuit of giving the player freedom. For example, in the laughable stealth sections – which thankfully are few and far between – you can effectively just run through the full palace in view of everyone with nary a consequence in sight, making it more of a comedic aside than a segment of the main quest. But that doesn’t matter, because you’ll be spending most of your time wandering and exploring the countryside, and THAT is where the real gold lies.

Dragon’s Dogma 2  Xbox Review

The main selling point of the Dragon’s Dogma series is the ‘Pawn’ system. As well as designing your main character and their vocation – initially from a pool of four (fighter, archer, mage, and thief) that eventually expands to more – you’ll design your main pawn, or companion, that will keep you company throughout your adventure.

Personally, I’m a sucker for meaty melee combat, so I designed a buff old fighter, whilst my Beastren pawn was a mage to give support. They level up alongside you and also disappear into rifts during rests at inns, often coming back with gifts and knowledge from other Arisen that assist you in your quest.

Quite often I found myself being allocated a new quest and my pawn, Akatt, would pipe up and let me know that she had already done this quest and so at the press of a button, she would run off and I could follow her to the next step of the journey. This is especially handy, because some of the quests are wonderfully vague and don’t even give the time of day that you need to be at certain areas, or indeed – where those certain areas are! It’s cool in that it gives a sense of multi-verse community with myriad unseen others, something that is pulled through from the first game.

Dragon’s Dogma 2  Xbox Review

As much as all of this is frothy fun and frolics, I finally get to the real, beating heart of what makes Dragon’s Dogma so unique and pleasurable to play, the exploration and combat. Also, I understand that there has been some controversy regarding the hidden micro-transactions that weren’t made clear to reviewers of pre-release versions, but I’ll explain below why they aren’t an in-game issue as ignoring them actively makes the game more fun.

The map of Dragon’s Dogma 2 is pretty massive and covers several large biomes, there are three ways that you can travel, one is on foot, one is via oxcart, and the other is by rare teleportation crystals that will only take you to a handful of very scattered locations. On foot is usually the most preferable, as you’ll find yourself discovering lots of new asides and hidden stashes, especially as you get further in-game and one of your three companions will mention that they’ve been to this spot before and can lead you to hidden treasures etc, it’s always fun – along with the high fives they give you after a successful battle, but more on that later.

The main concern when on foot is that the locations can be some distance apart, and as you get more and more wounded in battle, whilst your overall stamina remains as is – your total health gauge lowers and the only way to top it up is through resting at campfire, and this can lead to some genuinely tricky decisions as the wake stones that bring you back to life are also quite scarce and very precious.  

The ox-cart route is the other main way to travel in-game, and it’s almost just as fun – although you don’t open up the map as you travel. The issue here is that the cart is usually attacked at least once en route to your set location, and whilst it’s often vagabonds and wolves, it could also be a griffon, minotaur, ogre, cyclops etc. and that is troublesome, and yet it leads to the highlights of the game. In fact, before I summarise, I’d like to share a handful of brilliant memories I’ve encountered that stick in my mind.

Dragon’s Dogma 2  Xbox Review

After getting an absolute battering from a dragon, I decided to jump on an oxcart to the destination to save time and hopefully avoid serious combat.

Unfortunately, what actually happened as I dozed off en route, was that I was rudely awoken by the oxcart driver saying “Quick, sir – there’s trouble!” and as I looked around, sword in hand expecting to see a band of rogues, or wolves or some such, what I actually saw was a massive, enraged ogre leap down from a clifftop directly onto the ox, killing it instantly, it then raised its fists above its head and smashed the cart itself to matchwood…wasting my 200 gold in travelling money, quite frankly.

Following this, I decided that ‘running off’ would be the best course of action, and so pegged it back to the city I’d just left. Luck was sadly not on my side, as a griffon swooped down and joined in the fray, I eventually outran both behemoths as they got waylaid by other goblins and wolves as I ran, making it back to the main city.

I turned around to see that the griffon had lost interest and flown off, but the ogre was bounding across the bridge with purpose, and I ended up taking it down with the help of the city guard.

Another time, I was halfway between locations and had taken a bit of a kicking from various groups of enemies along the way, and I could see that the area I needed to reach was atop a spiralling mountain…I had some provisions and wake stones, but I knew that there was a strong chance that I’d have to take on a dragon at the top, when I was at my most knackered.

Steeling myself, I trudged onwards, alas the dragon was not to be my downfall…as I made my way ever higher, taking down some seriously saucy enemies on the way, as I was about to crest the summit, a band of harpies descended upon my little group, lesser enemies, but a peeve of mine as my fighter was not suited at all to arial combat and I had to leave the skirmish to my pawns.

Unfortunately, as I was shielding myself from the swooping, diving attacks, one of the little devils just picked me up…and threw me off the cliff, and so I bounced hundreds of feet down into a ravine a great distance from the mountain, dead. Brilliant.

Finally, there was a point where I’d just taken down TWO cyclopes in a quite frankly terrifying encounter where one had burst through the trees mid-battle to aid his mate and scared the bejeezus out of me. After felling them, I was slowly – and injuredly – making my way to the nearest camp to heal. As I walked across a stone bridge, I heard a roar from above me and resignedly unsheathed my sword for an inevitable kicking, when I saw the ogre on the clifftop, beat its chest, roar victoriously and jump down to begin its frenzied onslaught…luckily for us, it misjudged it’s jump down, overshot the bridge and plunged into the rapids hundreds of feet below, dead. I LAUGHED.

These are just a few of the many, many memorable moments I’ve had in the game that feel personal to my playthrough, and it’s these that keep me coming back for more, because the core gameplay loop is so attractive, the joy here isn’t in an engrossing narrative, rich atmospherics, or well-drawn characters, but instead comes from discovering things in the moment and dealing with them.

Dragon’s Dogma 2  Xbox Review


It has its flaws yes, repetitive dialogue, back-tracking, and an unreliable frame-rate that rarely hits 60 fps etc. but the fun factor is off the charts and is where the real joy of Dragon’s Dogma 2 lies.

A GOTY contender for sure, and a title that feels so, so happy to be a video game. Good.

Dragon’s Dogma 2  Xbox ReviewDragon’s Dogma 2  Xbox Review

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