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    “Dragon's Dogma 2” offers unparalleled fantasy spectacle


    The hype surrounding “Dragon's Dogma 2” is great – the fantasy role-playing game brings back memories of “Lord of the Rings” and “Game of Thrones”. Developer Capcom has implemented many ideas in the game that are intended to appeal to both fans of the genre and casual gamers. tested whether the approach works.

    Noble knights, mystical creatures, scheming royal families and huge dragons: there are many genre blueprints in fantasy. “The Lord of the Rings” and “Game of Thrones” set the bar extremely high in the cinematic area. The video game “Dragon's Dogma 2” has nothing to do with the film and series and yet combines their best elements with interesting approaches to role-playing games. tested whether developer Capcom has created a fantasy heavyweight with its open world.

    You don't need to know the predecessor, which was published 13 years ago. Capcom simply lets the new main character lose his memory – so you can start the new adventure fresh. The fantasy world full of myths and monsters is based on the first part. The player takes on the role of the “Awakened” – a mixture of dragon slayer and heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Vermund. However, there is another sovereign sitting on the throne who claims to be an Awakened and appears to have similar abilities using magic. Accordingly, you first have to prove your own abilities as an awakened person and expose the false prince. Sounds simple, but the story is full of twists and surprises that have to do with the Beastrian people – a mixture of humans and lions. There are different approaches to progressing through the story – and multiple endings too.

    It's the mixture that counts

    The first aha moment awaits you when you create your character. Your own figure can be depicted in such detail that popular fantasy characters can be recreated with a little effort. Pictures of “The Witcher” Geralt, Link and Zelda or Legolas were already making the rounds online – in our test we were able to recruit Ziggy Stardust, who then went by the name Bowie. Of course, creating a figure in your own image is also possible. Detailed editors already existed, but the results have never been so satisfactory. Based on the look, the player chooses between the four starting classes: fighter, archer, magician and thief (there are more later on) and distributes the first skills. These are special attacks, spells and passive skills.

    Let off steam in the character editor - Greetings from Geralt. Let off steam in the character editor - Greetings from Geralt.

    Let off steam in the character editor – Greetings from Geralt.

    If the first character is there, a second one has to be created. Because “Dragon's Dogma 2” relies on a vassal system, through which the player always has one to three loyal companions at his side. This is a bit reminiscent of the “Fellowships” from Lord of the Rings. You can put together your entourage in a similarly colorful way and mix character classes. One of the vassals is the permanent companion of the main character and he levels up; his appearance and character class must be determined in advance. A good combination of followers is crucial for success in the game. A horde of fighters a la Commando Steamroller is nice, but not particularly effective against flying creatures. The combination of two fighters, a magician and an archer has proven itself in the test.

    Pondering yes, despair no!

    Then you go into the world full of goblins, minotaurs, giant griffins – and of course dragons. While the developers initially take the player by the hand with tutorials and quests in the typical open world way – target markers on the map or NPCs running ahead show the way – the training wheels are removed relatively quickly. There are many quests that can only be solved by questioning the many supporting characters and gathering clues, like in old-school role-playing games. And every character that appears in the game is at least approachable and has more or less time for the “awakened one”. The different tasks for the player are more of a drawing board: clear the area of ​​monsters, collect information or objects, find treasure chests, overcome obstacle courses and much more.

    The developers explored various mythologies for the monster world in the game. The developers explored various mythologies for the monster world in the game.

    The developers explored various mythologies for the monster world in the game.

    (Photo: Capcom)

    Even though this is familiar from countless action role-playing games, “Dragon's Dogma 2” creates a wonderful balance that makes the player ponder, but doesn't make him despair during more difficult quests. Because if things don't go well, the vassals come into play again. Although there is no online co-op mode, companions created by other gamers roam the land and can be recruited. If they have already gained quest experience, they can give useful tips.

    Compared to other open-world games, “Dragon’s Dogma 2” is a bit more lively. On the one hand, this is due to NPCs who suddenly approach the player to lure them with a side quest. On the other hand, there are weather and day-night changes. Flora and fauna are then differently active – and dangerous. At night you not only meet other monsters, but also stronger ones.

    Up on the Cyclops

    This creates the feeling that pretty much anything can happen and anything is possible. Example: If you attack a griffin flying peacefully in the sky, you will quickly find yourself in a half-hour boss fight. If you defeat the griffin, you can use it as a mount to explore the world. If you climb up the giant creature during the fight, you will be carried to the nest. There are all sorts of rare objects to be found here.

    When it comes to variety, the game could have been even more varied – especially in the first few hours of play. There are mainly duels with goblins and lizard creatures. Small animals also mess up, but the conflicts with colossi, some of which are as high as a house, are really fun.

    Regarding small and giant creatures, the combat system is quite simple, but depends on the character classes. While the fighter and thief can do an evasive jump or block with the shield, the ranged fighters lack these properties. The archer creates acrobatic “Legolas” vibes with various jumping combinations in which he catapults himself away from his opponents. The magician can score points with area-wide attacks. In addition to a basic attack, you can choose four special attacks; depending on your stamina bar, you can then use them as often as you like.

    Only Teamwork Makes The Dream Work... Only Teamwork Makes The Dream Work...

    Only Teamwork Makes The Dream Work…

    (Photo: Capcom)

    There is also the option of climbing up large monsters and then giving them a lot of trouble. Of course, an ogre or cyclops doesn't tolerate this for long and shakes off the unnecessary ballast or throws it to the ground. What's exciting is that depending on how far or what the player is thrown against, this affects their health and condition. In the event of a fall or a violent collision, the player can only crawl away and hope that one of the minions comes to help.

    As already mentioned, collective interaction is crucial in fights and also provides the necessary action spectacle. Four actors take on entire hordes or even huge monsters. The magician casts a healing spell, the fighter rushes ahead, and the archer kills several opponents from a distance.

    “Dragon's Dogma 2” also has flaws

    Once the enemies are defeated, they naturally drop loot. But many useful resources can also be found in nature, villages and cities with which you can brew potions and improve weapons and armor. However, diving into the crafting system is not a must. There are some story-relevant objects that you have to collect, but apart from that you can also do it without the loot madness.

    “Dragon's Dogma 2” is a fantastic game, but not a perfect one either. The graphics are – at least as far as the test on the Playstation 5 is concerned – not the non-plus-ultra. The world seems coherent, but you shouldn't look too closely at many of the textures. There is also no performance mode that goes beyond the frame rate of 30 FPS.

    The cutscenes are graphically well resolved, switching between in-game resolution and sometimes a shadowy comic look. If it weren't for the small, annoying black fades that indicate – albeit short – loading times, the story would be even more dynamic. What's still missing is a German dubbing. Subtitles, menu and index texts are all in German, but in a game that conveys a lot of information through conversations between the characters, this can sometimes turn into intensive reading hours.

    But these are not the determining factors that should decide whether you buy “Dragon’s Dogma 2”. Fans of fantasy role-playing games really get everything here – except the multiplayer aspect. Anyone who feels the fabulous, enchanting “Lord of the Rings” charm and/or celebrates the intrigue of “Game of Thrones” will also find many anchor points in the game as a casual gamer, even though the two franchises have nothing to do with “Dragon's Dogma”. It's simply one of the best games of the young year – a truly fantastic journey that makes solo mode feel like teamwork.

    “Dragon's Dogma 2” will be released on February 22nd for PS5, Xbox Series X|S and PC.

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