Man, what a difference a mechanic makes.
I never really got into Skyrim because it was just so self-serious and up its own butt it was impossible to take seriously. It was an amazing game under the hood, even revolutionary in a few key areas, but ultimately, it felt a bit like being cornered by that guy at the game store who thinks you desperately need to hear about how playing a neutral cleric is an important strategy choice if you’re playing Third Edition.
Not that “Dragon’s Dogma” doesn’t have the same problem, but you’ll be too busy stabbing things to care.
Calling this “Japanese Skyrim” is both accurate and yet at the same time reductive. The game relentlessly invites those comparisons from the opening screen, though, which is a problem. For a game they’re so insistent on not being “Skyrim”, they sure want to remind you about how Skyrimmy this all is at every turn. But there are some key differences.
One is the grab mechanic, which, for something so simple, actually becomes ridiculously fun, especially since the potential for abuse. Picking up enemies, or just PCs that annoy you, and chucking them off the nearest ledge just should not be this funny. Especially when they land with a bloody splat on the cobblestones below. And climbing giants to stab them in the kidneys is a lot of fun as well.
The combat system also feels a bit better. Skyrim could be played third-person but was obviously angry at you for doing so, but “Dogma” was built around the third person view, and it shows. The Pawn system is also pretty interesting.
One odd aspect is the towns are all blatantly resupply depots: there are barely any PCs visible. But, hey, I’m two hours in, and the fun is to be had in the woods anyway.
We’ll have a full review later this week.
image courtesy Capcom