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PAX East 2012: Dragon's Dogma preview and interview
by Andrew Whipple III

Throwing together an action oriented game tied around a compelling narrative and shrouded in mystery is something I'll always be drawn to. Action is important, but if you don't inject the over-arching story with some interesting mechanics, it just becomes mindless. In an age of multiplayer titles and derivative stories, Capcom's Dragon's Dogma looks to be one of those games that surprises.

Story, for me, plays a huge role in how involved I become in a game. It's one of the many reasons I was infatuated with Dark Souls last year. You could argue that there really was no story behind that game, but the fear of the unknown, the unexplained happenings presented an enigmatic tale that was never fully explained - I embraced that. Dragon's Dogma doesn't seem like it's going to follow the same structure, but the story appears more forthcoming and just as strong.

Dragon's Dogma interview

Dragon's Dogma begins with a dragon who steals your heart, but then interacts with you from afar, speaking nonsense. There's no apparent reason this has happened, but clearly there are much greater forces at work. Even though that was only a taste of what the game will present, I'm drawn to it to learn more. It's a strong beginning for a game and I can only hope that the story will expand further upon the game's release.

Taking on creatures like this Chimera are best served with additional dudes.

Ostensibly, Dragon's Dogma seems very similar to Dark Souls, but once you get down to it they couldn't be more different. Both are third-person action games and both share a similar UI, but where Dark Souls is extremely foreboding with its difficulty, Dragon's Dogma takes a lighter route. Enemies are much easier to deal with and fear of death isn't much of an issue. Also, Capcom noted that instead of taking hours to power up a weapon, Dragon's Dogma makes it a bit easier to immediately start seeing results from newly acquired weaponry.

Dragon's Dogma also will not employ a multiplayer system, something I initially thought was going to be included. Instead, you'll have a plethora of followers to choose from called Pawns. These Pawns level up with you and gain a variety of different attacks as you progress through the game. They also happen to be involved in a unique online component where you can send them to other players. When they come back to join you, you'll gain everything they received in the other player's game.

The Witch King's brother is in this game.

On a related note, the AI in the game is actually quite decent. What I enjoyed the most was the ceaseless banter they provide while attacking foes. Sometimes they'll even go over to an enemy and hold them up for you to strike the killing blow. Yeah, it was pretty cool.

Dragon's Dogma is an interesting beast. With a unique online component, weighted combat and an involving story, we might just have one of the best new intellectual properties on our hands. The game releases May 22nd and if you can't wait that long then do yourself a favor and check out the demo that's out right now.

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- Andrew Whipple III

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