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Dragon’s Dogma 2 review: Unconventional and incredibly captivating

With its unique gameplay and fresh minion system, the action role-playing game Dragon’s Dogma became a real fan favorite in 2012. With around 8 million copies sold, the title was also a commercial success. Now, the sequel finally returns to this unique open world, which takes many of the features from the first game and adds useful convenience functions. Nevertheless, some of the mechanics and design ideas feel a little out of date. Our Dragon’s Dogma 2 review reveals what you can expect from the new game.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 facts at a glance

Title Dragon’s Dogma 2
Genre Action RPG
Developer: Capcom Capcom
Publisher Capcom
Release date 22. March 2024
Platforms PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S
Number of players 1

Dragon’s Dogma 2 review: The story remains pale

To be honest, the story of Dragon’s Dogma 2 won’t win a flower pot. Especially as the main premise will be very familiar to fans of the first game. Once again, you slip into the skin of the so-called Awakened One, who has had his heart ripped out of his chest by a dragon, making him immortal.

The difference is that in part two, the main character previously served as a soldier in the village of Melve and tried to protect his home from the attack of the nasty lindworm. Immortally resurrected, we wake up as slaves in a mine, robbed of our hearts and memories.

Scraps of memory gradually return in Dragon’s Dogma 2. Again and again, we remember small details and moments from our past, which the action RPG embellishes with sometimes spectacular cutscenes.

Of course, the story picks up speed with a number of twists and turns over the course of the 40-hour adventure. However, we are miles away from the quality of The Witcher 3, Skyrim or The Legend of Zelda: TotK. Rather, it is the game world, the characters and small side stories that keep you glued to the screen for hours.

Dragon's Dogma 2 Story
Image: Capcom

But back to the beginning of the game. As luck would have it, we manage to escape after being attacked by a huge Medusa, and the adventure begins. Of course, not without first having cobbled together our character in the extensive character editor and choosing one of the four main classes.

Genre fans can spend the first 20 hours of the game in the editor until every cheekbone and every tip of hair is where they want it. Or you can opt for a pre-made character model and get into the game much quicker.

Every mission is like an adventure

What Dragon’s Dogma 2 lacks in story, the role-playing game makes up for in gameplay. What is particularly impressive is how alive, organic and realistic the game world feels. And no, we don’t mean the Red Dead Redemption 2 kind of realistic. Here’s an example:

In one of our first missions, we set off in search of the capital city of Venworth, which serves as the hub or safe haven in Dragon’s Dogma 2. However, we have to find our own way there, as the title largely dispenses with quest markers and extensive hints after the opening minutes.

On our way, we meet soldiers who are also conveniently on their way there. Without further ado, our group joins the troop and is suddenly surprised by a giant cyclops in a ravine. After several minutes of wrestling, the giant finally lies in the mud, and thanks to him we can hop on the oxcart and take a relaxed ride to the capital.

However, we run the risk of the vehicle being attacked by goblins. Alternatively, we can continue our journey on foot and avoid the battles, but with a bit of bad luck we may encounter even greater evils while exploring.

Dragon's Dogma 2 Welt
The game world is full of secrets. Here we spot a giant golem

This example from the first few hours of the game shows very well where the journey in Dragon’s Dogma 2 is heading. Because every mission, every time we leave the capital, involves a certain amount of risk. And we alone decide whether and to what extent we take this risk.

Because there is no quick travel function that is always available. Especially as we should always keep an eye on our health. Because the health bar does not fill up to the top on its own. This is only possible if we rest at a campfire (for which we need the appropriate equipment) or spend the night in an inn, which… sometimes quite expensive.

So we think twice about whether we travel to the next mission objective after our work is done or whether we’d rather make our way back to the safety of the city to rest and recharge our batteries. This gameplay, which you could call old-fashioned, is what makes Dragon’s Dogma 2 so unique.

Dragon's Dogma 2 Test
Image: Capcom

There is always something going on in the huge open game world. It’s not uncommon for us to run from one giant enemy straight into the next. Or scare up a horde of goblins that suddenly join the fight. It’s a good thing we’re not traveling alone.

The minions are the heart of Dragon’s Dogma 2

Huh? Not alone? But Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a single-player game, isn’t it? Exactly, because this is where the minions come into play. These are CPU-controlled characters with whom we experience the adventures together as a party.

These are divided into a main minion, who is our faithful companion and is always at our side, and up to two other minions, who we can swap and replace at any time. The best thing about it is that, provided you have an active internet connection, they come from other players and have their own character traits, memories and special features.

While we are not playing, our minion can also be summoned by other players and collect experience or items that are then useful to us. But also memories: If one of the helpers has already completed a mission with other players, he or she remembers it and then provides us with hints and assistance.

The minion system is simply brilliant and so organically integrated into the game that interacting with the CPU characters is a lot of fun both in and out of combat.

There’s a high-five after winning a battle, while the little helpers carry fallen colleagues out of the danger zone or happily hold out the shield to our archer, which we use as a springboard for a powerful arrow attack. This creates an additional dynamic in Dragon’s Dogma 2 that makes the game so unique.

First old-fashioned and idiosyncratic, then incredibly captivating

From the very first minute, Dragon’s Dogma 2 feels like a game from the 2010s. Exploration, menus, world design and locomotion are different to what younger players are used to from current role-playing game highlights.

And you undoubtedly have to like that and get involved with it. Which is why the action RPG is undoubtedly not a game for everyone. Newcomers in particular, who have not played part one, will have to adjust to the game in the first few hours, and even get used to it.

But the effort is worth it. Because once it has clicked, Dragon’s Dogma 2 unfolds into an idiosyncratic but enormously captivating game. It is the mixture of different mechanics and game elements that makes the title so unique.

Every journey into the open world is like an adventure, the course of which is just as uncertain as the outcome. Just a quick run from A to B sometimes culminates in a multi-hour exploration of magical forests, atmospheric villages and dark caves, for which we should ideally have packed a supply of lamp oil for our lantern.

Dragon's Dogma 2 Nacht
Visibility drops significantly at night. Enemies are also more dangerous

There is almost always more than one approach to completing the tasks, so Dragon’s Dogma 2 feels a little different for everyone. Not to mention the thrilling and action-packed battles, in which we issue simple commands to our minions and deal out bold blows ourselves with sword, wand or bow.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 review: Gripping, tactical combat system

The fact that even supposedly harmless groups of enemies consisting of goblins or harpies can strike down our party in no time at all makes things all the more exciting. This is because the battles in Dragon’s Dogma 2 involve a great deal of tactics – something you also have to be aware of first.

To be successful, it is not only our positioning in battle that is decisive. You also need to find and exploit your opponents’ weak points so that their life bar suddenly empties at lightning speed.

When I’m using my archer to rake the armored hide of a giant cyclops, I have the feeling that I’m doing no damage at all. It’s a completely different story when I suddenly shoot the ogre in the eye. It doesn’t like that at all and not only takes a lot of damage, but also starts to stagger pretty quickly.

Dragon's Dogma 2 Kampf

Of course, the preparations and your party decisions also have a significant influence on the level of difficulty. The nimble thief, for example, can climb large enemies and plunge a dagger straight into their hearts, while mages can not only heal the party but also knock vulnerable enemies off their feet. On the other hand, if you set off with four fighters, you won’t get very far.

Fortunately, the ten classes in Dragon’s Dogma 2 are extremely varied and the title doesn’t tie us down to our initial selection. Theoretically, we can change our vocation at any time and switch from archer to mage.

The technology of Dragon’s Dogma 2

There’s no question about it: Dragon’s Dogma 2 doesn’t unleash graphic fireworks on the screen. Many of the textures appear somewhat lacking in detail and have a coarse resolution. Although the landscapes look harmonious and inviting, they are comparatively lifeless and barren. Of course, there are beautiful lighting moods and some impressive graphic effects to marvel at, but the game is by no means a real graphic highlight.

Especially as the PC version in particular has to contend with severe framerate drops despite having powerful hardware including AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D and RTX 4080 Super. In the open world, the title largely maintains the 60 frames per second, but the frame rate often drops to significantly lower values, especially in busy cities.

Especially in battles, these micro-jerks can sometimes cause frustration, as a well-aimed shot or attack can suddenly come to nothing. There is undoubtedly room for improvement here. However, the same cannot be said of the soundtrack. It scores with excellent English voice actors and an atmospheric fantasy soundtrack.

Dragon's Dogma 2 Technik

The enjoyment of the game is also slightly dampened by a few small bugs. These range from NPCs that get stuck in the environment to conversations and quests that are simply not triggered, although this should actually happen after a certain action.

I even witnessed curious scenes when a nice CPU visitor to the inn in the capital stepped through the door and was suddenly beaten up by the entire staff. I wonder what the lady had done?

Dragon’s Dogma 2 review: Conclusion

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is an idiosyncratic game. Just like its predecessor was. The only difference is that its game mechanics were still in keeping with the times over ten years ago. From today’s perspective, the systems in the second part seem almost antiquated, which could put off younger players in particular.

But that’s also what makes Capcom’s action role-playing game so appealing. Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a sparring match. At times uncomfortable and not very beginner-friendly. But those who get involved will be rewarded with a really successful role-playing game, an excellent and unique minion system and brutal battles.

While the many fans of part one will get their money’s worth, Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a game that is likely to divide the camps. After all, it is certainly not to everyone’s taste to first have to ask for and find the quest objectives themselves, to travel through the countryside without fast travel. Or biting the dust in every battle, no matter how small, because you were unprepared for an attack.

In my opinion, the story and gameplay never reach the quality of the really big RPG high-flyers, but this unique adventure is definitely a successful action role-playing game for fantasy fans with a lot of patience and time. Let’s hope that the developers work a little more on the technology and bugs.

Dragon's Dogma 2 Test: Silver Award

exciting side stories
strong sense of community
– Main story seems unimaginative
– Story is slow to get going
brutal battles
10 varied classes
motivating minion system
– Paths and quests have to be found by yourself
– some unsightly bugs
– some outdated-looking game mechanics (intentional)
useful AI companions
Tutorials explain the basics
well doable with preparation
– no different levels of difficulty
– can get pretty tough at times
– some repetitive quests
40-100 hours playing time
alternative ending; New Game Plus
extensive crafting and upgrade system
– seems stretched in places
– Traveling is often very tedious
Graphics & Sound
varied game world
beautiful lighting moods
excellent soundtrack
– sometimes harsh drops in performance
– wooden animations
– angular, low-detail textures

Dragon's Dogma 2

Graphics & Sound


The excellent combat system and the successful minion system make Dragon's Dogma 2 a feast for die-hard RPG fans. The story remains rather pale, while many game mechanics may not appeal to everyone.

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With its unique gameplay and fresh minion system, the action role-playing game Dragon’s Dogma became a real fan favorite in 2012. With around 8 million copies sold, the title was also a commercial success. Now, the sequel finally returns to this unique open world, which takes many of the features from the first game and adds useful convenience functions. Nevertheless, some of the mechanics and design ideas feel a little out of date. Our Dragon’s Dogma 2 review reveals what you can expect from the new game. Read more: Dragon’s Dogma 2 Class Guide – All vocations in detail Dragon’s … (Weiterlesen...)

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