Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen Review
Reviewed on Nintendo SwitchAlso available on Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, PC, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3
It's time to become the Arisen on a handheld console for the very first time! Who's ready?! I'm ready!
Having released way back in 2012 for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen has now made its return onto the Nintendo Switch, and what a return it is! The first handheld system this game has and probably will ever be released on. It includes all previously released DLC too!
For those that are not familiar with it, Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is an action-RPG from the mighty Capcom that offers many differences to the standard RPGs you're used to, whilst also keeping those staple features that make an RPG what it is. Gransys is where you will carry out your adventure, a large open world to explore at your own peril.
You start off by creating your very own character; you can choose from a bunch of presets or you can make your own from scratch, the choice is yours. Once you have sculpted the face of a God (or not) you're ready to begin your adventure in this fantasy world!
Not long after starting your game and being introduced to the mechanics and controls you will learn that a dragon has stolen your heart, in doing so it's left you immortal; you can't die from age or disease. But, it's also granted you the title of 'Arisen', a being destined to kill that mighty dragon. Think you can do it? Sure, you can!
I bet you're wondering what these differences are, aren't you? Well, I'll tell you. The main difference for me was the fact that you have 3 AI characters that can accompany you on your adventure but it's how you choose these characters that is interesting. You enter another realm that has what's known as Pawns to select from. These Pawns are other users characters that have been uploaded, you choose your party from the hundreds available and you can switch these as often as you like. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen has no co-op or multiplayer mode - which is a shame - so this is the closest thing to it. Another unique feature of the game is how you actually defeat enemies; climb on top of Griffins, airborne, cut all four heads off a Hydra, the combat is completely dynamic and it's great. Climbing up a big monster is more rewarding than it probably should be...
You start off with pretty basic vocations; Fighter, Strider and Mage but as you progress through the game and gain experience, not only for yourself but for your pawns, you will eventually unlock Advanced Vocations and Hybrid Vocations such as the Assassin or Magik Archer. Which really adds to the experience and gives the combat a little bit of freshness; after you put in a lot of hours, the gameplay can get a little repetitive.
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen actually runs really well on the Nintendo Switch, especially in handheld mode. I didn't encounter any framerate issues whatsoever which was a nice bonus. All the controls feel smooth and it doesn't feel dated at all.
Being almost a 7-year-old game I expected Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen to look a lot more dated than it does. It still looks good, not great, but good. I was very impressed and the soundtrack is just as good as I remember too, if not better!