We all know that PC ports of console video games can sometimes be a bit... Not up to par. Either the controls tend to be wonky and require an external controller that isn't a keyboard to play, or it will be FPS locked, run terrible on some modern graphics cards, or several other things. While a lot of games ported to the PC face some kind of issue that need to be patched out, Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen isn't one of those.
Initially launching in 2012 for PS3 and Xbox 360 to a surprising success, the official Windows release came fours years later in January, 2016. This iteration of the popular RPG comes packaged in with the Dark Arisen expansion pack, and all additional DLC; making it the definitive edition. This port features enhanced graphics and resolution, supports 4K, and also fixed minor technical issues.
I have had my eye on this game for a bit over a year now, but I was never able to catch it on sale until a couple weeks ago, when it hit a low of 11 dollars on Steam, compared to its usual $30 price tag. With my love of RPG games being my motivation for purchase, and the fact I've gotten pretty much everything out of the three Witcher games, the Elder Scrolls series, and a bunch of other RPG games.
The game has a nice online element in which player created NPCs, known as pawns, can be adopted by other players to tag along with them for a while. With each player being able to have up to two of these helpers, aside from their own, each combat experience will be different.
There are only 3 classes to choose from in the beginning, but after a few hours of leveling up, the player is able to change between quite a few different ones, and even change the class (or vocation as it is known in game) of their created pawn. Pawns, as well as the player, have an almost infinite amount of options when it comes to character creation, but not every character is created differently. Smaller characters have the advantage of being able to fit into small gaps or tunnels, while taller ones can jump higher and get to higher areas. Thin characters can carry less, but move much quicker than thicker ones that run slower, but have the advantage of a higher carrying capacity, so keep this in mind when choosing your class.
Gameplay is very solid, and because of the different pawns you can hire, combat will vary. When fighting more than just filler monsters like wolves and goblins, encounters with the game's more colossal creatures can turn quite cinematic. Depending on how your character is built, you will be able to scale the monster and attack it while climbing up its back or torso. The camera movement allows the player to easily see the entire beast they are fighting, making any hits taken pretty much the player's fault. One of the pros of these bosses, is that their attacks are "smart" meaning they don't perform the same moves in a predictable fashion with the player set as their target. They move around and tend to do what's best to try to kill the player.
While on the topic of boss battles, I do have a complain or two. A lot of bosses that will be fought at whatever level you are meant to fight them at, will have an absolute TON of health. It took me close to 45 minutes to kill a dragon last night while playing this. It wasn't because I was underleveled for the fight, but just because the ton of health the dragon had. While this isn't so much the case when you are overleveled for the fight, it does turn the bosses into arrow-sponges at some points.
At times, the pawns can be completely incapable of behaving properly, and by that, I mean they will just act plain weird and follow you around like you have the last bag of Cheetos. Sometimes, especially if there is a barrier between you and the monster you're shooting at, the pawns will just stand there and shout, as opposed to casting spells or firing arrows at them. There are times when I will be fleeing, mashing that F2 button (which issues the command for them to follow you) and they will just continue to fight, and I'm there like, "omg just follow me you chimps."
It took me a couple hours to actually get into the game, because I wasn't quite sure what to do after I got to the main town, leading to me looking up a quest guide to get back on track. But now that I know what to do, I've made a ton of progress and figured out the mechanics of the game.
Overall, if you're looking for an RPG to sink into this winter break, Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is a fantastic choice.