Grave Gamer News & Views — dragon's dogma

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen Storming Shelves This April Plus: Why...

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen Storming Shelves This April

Plus: Why the Hell Isn’t it DLC?.

Unable to exist as separate DLC, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is actually a full-on retail disc (and digital download) releasing April 23rd (26th in Europe) which will include both the entirety of the original game and its expanded content at a discounted price of $39.99.  Reverse your frown – we’ll get to why in a tic.

Dark Arisen is equipped with a massive amount of new content, big and small; the biggest of which being the journey you’ll take to Bitterblack Isle and the underground realm lying beneath filled wall to wall with both insurmountable treasure and a Tolkien book’s worth of creatures bent on turning your party into a screaming lunch.  The fight isn’t one-sided, though, as players can now access over 100 new items, more weapons and armors, augmentations, and a brand new tier of character skills to add some tasteful hack to your slash.

More is better, but there’s more to it than that.  Several improvements to the game’s design are being implemented such as a reworked menu system and better fast travel (thankfully).  Already plugged away a shitload of hours into Dragon’s Dogma?  Your character(s) save file can not only be imported, but will also be updated with Dark Arisen’s tech fixes.  How convenient!

A helluva lot less convenient is having to re-purchase the game, as my original copy is outmoded a la Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3Dark Arisen would have made significantly more sense logically and financially as a downloadable expansion.  And Capcom agrees, at least according to Senior VP and Expert Apologist Chris Svensson.

“It would have been a preferred option from our standpoint, too,” explained Svenny.  “But unfortunately there were major technical limitations that couldn’t allow for a digital upgrade path."  Basically, Dragon’s Dogma – an untested IP that I’m confident outperformed the company’s expectations – just wasn’t designed with the proper coding "hooks” to allow for a huge expansion (…allegedly).

Early adopters can look forward to a gift bag of in-game treats, however.  Your old DD save files will grant you 100,000 Rift Stones, the Gransys Armor Pack, and – wait for it – unlimited Ferrystones.  Svensson hopes this to be a “sufficient ‘thank you’” for the game’s supporters.  So, no room to bitch, right?  Ha.  Right.

Red Herb Review: The Top 10 Games of 2012

imageRumor – the invisible force said to actually power the internet – has it that this console generation is coming to a close.  If this truly is the last year of this triumphant generation, a generation that began as any other (with pretty graphics and prettier promises) but evolved into a full blown fusion of home media and dedicated gaming, then it’s all the more important to reflect on the virtual adventures 2012 gave us.

We laughed, we cried, we cried even harder trying to slog through Halo 4 on Legendary…2012 was the culmination of six years of advancement, where devs’ were past their growing pains fumbling with new technology and knew how to fully utilize the tools at their disposal.   2012 was a year in which we reaped the benefits tenfold through the sheer amount of excellent games rapid-fired onto store shelves (or, more realistically, Steam shelves.  Yeah.  Steam shelves).

The Red Herb Roundup: The Roundup-ening


Here’s last weeks news, this week because my lack of focus wouldn’t let me finish something I started on Sunday until Monday in the A.M.

Welcome back to the Roundup.  It missed you lots.

Picked up Dragon’s Dogma for the 360. In a sentence: above...

Picked up Dragon’s Dogma for the 360.  In a sentence: above average combat undercut by below average storytelling.  But is it fun?  Yeah, it very much is.  That and utterly frustrating.  I couldn’t tell you how many times I came this close to felling a giant, son-of-a-bitching troll when a flailing limb would completely pulverize me and my half hour of progress in battle.

Still, Dogma is a unique bend on the Westernized RPG that only truly falters when it tries to exactly match its influences.  Of its innovations, I actually really dig on the pawn system.  Not only do I enjoy enlisting other people’s decked out companions to quest with me, but I love the fact that my own created helper (“Ellie Ripley”) can journey out with strangers and recon their playthroughs.

When you relinquish other people’s pawns from your party, you’re able to rate their performance and leave stoic little preset messages like “Is cute” or “Fought bravely,” and then, if you want, send them back with a gift for their master.  I try to gift items like healing herbs.

People usually send my pawn back with rocks or rotten food.  Is cute.

Dragon’s Dogma Wins Over the East For those of you on the fence...

Dragon’s Dogma Wins Over the East

For those of you on the fence about Capcom’s attempt at an open world fantasy RPG – if you’re even on the fence; I know a lot of you fantasy junkies are contenting yourself on Diablo sessions in between server crashes – word has flown from the Osaka based publisher’s hometown of Japan that Dragon’s Dogma ain’t too shabby after all.

Of particular note, intensely critical yet insanely popular gaming magazine Famitsu awarded the action-RPG the coveted “Hall of Fame: Gold” award.  This is a pretty damn hard award to bag when you keep in mind how the magazine scores titles.  Famitsu practices a “Cross Review” system in which four editors will filter their impressions into a 10-Scale score, then those four ratings will be added up for a final sum that can only possibly go up to 40 (yet usually doesn’t).  I hope that made a semblance of sense; I’m not repeating myself.

Famitsu’s reviewers rated Dragon’s Dogma with two 8’s and two 9’s, amounting to a total of 34 (just enough to earn that gold star).  Now typically I wouldn’t consider anyone else’s review score hot enough news to tap key over (especially since I don’t base my reviews around a numbered system).  But it’s poignant to note that Famitsu is particularly harsh on a game’s flaws and that their review format makes it so even above average games come off as savagely mediocre.

If it’s good enough for Famitsu, it must be good enough for us Westerners who are so spoiled on open world RPG’s to begin with.  Though I predict we’ll see more money thrown at Dawnguard this Summer than retail copies of Dogma.  Which is a shame, since bringing down screeching griffons by hacking on their wings while riding them is the kind of over-the-top testosterone injection our RPGs’ collective sacks need.

You can pick up Dragon’s Dogma on Tuesday for the PS3 or Xbox 360.  In the meanwhile, download the demo from PSN or XBLA and wreck a griffon’s face now.