Dragon's Dogma 2 review: This is, without a doubt, one of Capcom's best ever games — but many won't 'get it'

Dragon's Dogma 2 review: Thou art Arisen, charge and all.

Dragon's Dogma 2 review: The Great Dragon
(Image: © Windows Central | Capcom)

Windows Central Verdict

Dragon's Dogma 2 is an enigma of a game. Every aspect of it, every system, and every quest is a jigsaw puzzle to solve — that experience will not be for everyone. But it was for me. Playing through Dragon's Dogma 2 without a guide was a truly fantastic experience, with a near-constant drip-feed of "eureka!" moments alongside spectacularly rewarding combat highs. Dragon's Dogma 2 celebrates the patient and committed. For those looking for a relaxing and straightforward experience, perhaps look elsewhere. And it's certainly true that Dragon's Dogma 2 has flaws — particularly with performance on consoles. However, for those who want cavernous depth at every turn, Dragon's Dogma 2 may be your game of the year.

Pros

  • +

    Absolutely spectacular, mind-blowing combat

  • +

    Breathtaking vistas and environmental design

  • +

    Bombastic and memorable soundtrack

  • +

    Some incredibly ambitious, jaw-dropping set-piece moments

Cons

  • -

    The game's quest systems can be frustratingly opaque at times

  • -

    Performance on console can be disappointing, albeit consistent

  • -

    Dragon's Dogma can be punishing for the impatient (maybe that's a plus, depending on your perspective)

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Welcome to our Dragon's Dogma 2 review. 

As I sit here writing this, I just rolled credits on Dragon's Dogma 2 after over fifty-seven hours of non-stop play. That uniquely satisfying aura of finishing an incredible game has washed over me as I load my save into New Game+ for my second run. Oftentimes, it's easy to attach a single word to summarize a truly great game, but Dragon's Dogma 2 is a complex beast. It will mean different things to different people, and I suspect it may be as difficult for some to get to grips with as its predecessor. 

This review will cover what Dragon's Dogma 2 does well (which is a lot), and what I think could be improved — but crucially, if Dragon's Dogma 2 is for you. I suspect many will go into Dragon's Dogma 2 expecting something akin to Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The Witcher 3, or Elden Ring — or one of the other tent pole fantasy games of recent memory. Dragon's Dogma is something entirely different. Something utterly unique, whose pain points are as much about rewarding overcoming adversity as they are literal plot devices. 

Dragon's Dogma 2 will handsomely reward those patient enough to get to grips with its oft-intentionally confounding world, which unashamedly casts aside those who don't fancy themselves in the role of The Arisen. I can't tell you enough how glad I am that I finally cut through Dragon's Dogma's inscrutable shroud because I've discovered a franchise that will sit among my favorite game series of all time. I only hope we're not waiting another 12 years for more. 

Make no mistake, this is one of the best Xbox games and best PC games in recent memory, but you need to know what you're getting into before buying Dragon's Dogma 2. We'll cover that in this review.

Completely spoiler free: let's get into this Dragon's Dogma 2 review, arriving March 22, 2024, for Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and Windows PC. 

Disclaimer

This Dragon's Dogma 2 review was conducted on Xbox Series X primarily, with tests done on Xbox Series S and various Windows PCs. The review codes were provided by Capcom, who weren't provided access to this review's content prior to publishing. 

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Welcome to our Dragon's Dogma 2 review. Unravel political plots, grow your legend, and defeat the Great Dragon. You are the Arisen, cursed with defending the land against its arch-foe that rises every few decades to torment the citizens of a bleak, medieval world. This is action RPG gaming at its finest. 

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Dragon's Dogma 2 review: What is it exactly?

(Image credit: Windows Central)
Dragon's Dogma 2 Info

Dragon's Dogma 2 Gameplay

(Image credit: Capcom)

Publisher: Capcom
Platforms: Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, PlayStation 5
Players: Single-player
Xbox Game Pass: No
Genre: Action RPG (open world)
Length: 30~ hours for campaign, 100+ hours for completionists
RRP: $69.99

In this Dragon's Dogma 2 review, we'll be examining the question, "is this game for you?" To do that, we need to reiterate what Dragon's Dogma actually is. 

At its core, Dragon's Dogma 2 is an action RPG with a heavy emphasis on adventuring. The game very aggressively avoids "holding your hand," with minimal guidance offered in-game when it comes to completing quests. There are tutorials for gameplay mechanics and combat systems, but oftentimes, the depth and nuances are hidden behind trial and error and reward those with patience and curiosity. 

So much of what makes Dragon's Dogma 2 unique is how closely tied the game's systems are to the narrative. For example, your combat party is made up of yourself and three NPC "Pawns" who behave largely independently of your character. They can also act as in-game tutorials, too, leading you to quest objectives or offering hints in lieu of immersion-busting tooltips or cluttered UI features. Dragon's Dogma 2 is also an incredibly interactive game, owing in part to its physics and its "grab" button. You can pick up objects, stack them, and so on. You can also pick up NPCs — certain quests are even resolved by doing this. 

There are also no instant fast travel systems, save for certain magical items in-game that allow you some limited teleportation spells. There are ox carts that will transport you from place to place and skip time by "dozing off," but the likelihood of being attacked on these journeys is high. Dragon's Dogma 2 is a game that tries to immerse you in that role at every turn — you're part of the world, and that world is dangerous. 

Dragon's Dogma 2 will reward those who are patient enough to explore, and those who enjoy combat gameplay. You will be fighting a lot as you travel around the world, levelling up your vocations, as well as sharing your Pawns through the game's innovative online social systems. 

But for now, let's get into the meat of this Dragon's Dogma 2 review. 

Dragon's Dogma 2 Review: Art and Performance

Dragon's Dogma 2 has a fantastic photo mode too.  (Image credit: Windows Central)

For the first section of this Dragon's Dogma 2 review, let's first dig into one of Dragon's Dogma 2's more controversial topics to begin with, and that revolves around the game's console performance, its presentation, and whether the trade-offs are worth it. 

I primarily conducted this Dragon's Dogma 2 review on Xbox Series X, clocking in around 60 hours. We also tested the game on Xbox Series S, as well as a variety of gaming PCs, and have ultimately found that performance is a bit of a mixed affair. 

Across Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5, Dragon's Dogma 2 arguably offers some of the worst performance. The game sports an unlocked frame rate, which hovers around 30 FPS depending on the current in-game area or situation. In towns and cities, where dozens of NPCs are present, as well as buildings complete with interiors and dynamic objects — that performance can notably dip down into the 20s. PC is a different matter, though. On an RTX 3070 with 32GB DDR4, with NVIDIA DLSS set to balanced, we were able to get around 50 FPS without compromising too heavily on visual quality at 1440p ultrawide with ray tracing on top. However, at max settings, that frame rate dropped to around 20 FPS. Depending on your setup, you will be able to tailor the experience heavily on PC, compromising on some visual quality for frames or opting for NVIDIA DLSS to offset some of the downsides. On PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, you're pretty much stuck at around 28–34 FPS at all times. On some of the AMD Z1 Extreme gaming handhelds like the Lenovo Legion Go and ASUS ROG Ally, Dragon's Dogma 2 isn't something I would recommend, even at max wattage. I wouldn't even bother trying the Steam Deck, which managed around 10 FPS. 

Indeed, Dragon's Dogma 2 is an incredibly demanding game, but it doesn't feel like it's necessarily the result of "poor optimization." Capcom made some conscious decisions around the game's presentation, not just in terms of looking "pretty," but there are some gameplay aspects that are also quite demanding. 

The game's minimalistic interface fades quickly while idling, making it easy to grab pretty screenshots.  (Image credit: Windows Central)

Indeed, Dragon's Dogma 2 has some utterly absurd draw distances, and this is a tradition it has brought over from the original. When staring out from a cliff or mountaintop, Dragon's Dogma 2 has some of the most impressive and immersive world designs I've ever seen. Incredible verticality and uncanny realism make me wonder if Capcom performed some kind of topography scanning to build its world. Dragon's Dogma 2 represents the cutting edge of visual presentation, with some of the most realistic, cinematic, and dense environmental designs you're likely to see this generation. 

Those draw distances are hugely important during gameplay, too. This game has no loading to speak of, save for a couple of in-engine cutscenes, with a truly massive amount of interior locations to explore, which is continuous with the overall overworld. There's no "copy and paste" to speak of here, either. Every dungeon, every cave, every cliff, river, mountain, and so on is a lovingly crafted three-dimensional work of art that needs to be seen to be believed. The environment is also heavily destructible, which is rare to see in a game like this, with bridges and trees that can be felled by enemies or your own spells. Walls that can be destroyed with explosives or angry ogres, and river dams that can be burst with a well-placed arrow. Dank and dark dungeons that only provide visibility by lantern, complete with RE Engine's incredible lighting systems. 

The detail extends to the game's monster designs, which are some of the most impressive I've seen so far in the generation. The original designs for classic fantasy beasts like the chimera, cyclops, ogres, goblins, and so on all return in earnest, alongside some new nasties that are too spectacular to spoil. Capcom rewards adventurers curious enough to explore every cave and every fogged-up portion of the map with an abundance of unique battles to undertake made all the more cinematic with incredible special effects and dynamic enemy damage. You'll feel the impact of your abilities when you set a Gryphon's feathers or a Minotaur's fur ablaze or when you examine that felled cyclops for its loot, covered in cuts and stabs from your party.

As usual, you can expect the best performance for Dragon's Dogma 2 on a higher-end PC. With an RTX 4070, i9-13900KF with 32 GB DDR 5 RAM, you're looking at around 60 FPS at 4K, with DLSS set to quality mode. The game is pretty kind to past-gen PC GPUs as well. Xbox Series X|S performance hovers around 30 FPS at 4K and 1080p resolution, respectively, and I would argue it's smooth to play overall. But on Steam Deck and other PC gaming handhelds, Dragon's Dogma 2 borders on unplayable right now.  (Image credit: Windows Central)

I'm sure Dragon's Dogma 2 review opinions will vary here, but I well and truly believe the performance trade-offs are worth it for what is ultimately a generally smooth-running, bleeding-edge cinematic experience that goes far beyond its contemporaries with its open-world design. I would go as far as to say that this is probably the best open-world I've ever seen, and it's made all the more amazing during some truly massive set-piece moments that I absolutely will not spoil. But some of these moments would simply be impossible without sacrificing the breadth of the world, alongside its absurd draw distance — and for these memories, I am thankful that Capcom made the artistic choices they did. When I look back on my Dragon's Dogma 2 review, I won't remember the game's frame rate, but I will remember having to pick my jaw up off the floor after some of these events.

Another aspect of Dragon's Dogma 2's art direction that is absolutely on point is the music. I lack the writing skill to really put into words how majestic, sweeping, and dramatic Dragon's Dogma 2's sound treatment is, but it really is up there with the likes of mega Hollywood blockbusters for just how incredibly epic it comes across. Review guidelines forbid me from talking about the final events of the game in detail per spoilers, but my good god, the music in these final phases represents some of my favorite ever gaming musical moments.

The game's trees and grasses react to your abilities, catching fire or swaying violently depending on the abilities you use.  (Image credit: Windows Central)

While in combat, the music gradually becomes more and more intense as the battles draw on. The score from the original returns, remastered and remixed for a modern era, but there are also new battle songs that feel tied either to specific enemies or specific locations. There's a ton of variety to be found throughout the game's score, and it only serves to elevate the lofty highs you'll feel during those grand combat climaxes. 

I would say another aspect of Dragon's Dogma 2 that excels is the game's character creator, which is among the most detailed we've seen in gaming so far. You might have seen some of the insane Dragon's Dogma 2 character creations people have made, including celebrities, cartoon characters, and so on. However, I will say that there's a downside to all that customization. During conversations, characters can appear incredibly wooden and stiff, akin to games like Starfield and The Elder Scrolls. Unlike those games, however, Dragon's Dogma 2 also sports motion-captured cutscenes at times, which inject some cinematic quality into proceedings. But it is oddly jarring when you go from some of the most spectacular and cinematic combat gameplay we've ever seen to the game's NPCs, which path around like zombies and have incredibly limited gestures during quest dialogue interactions. 

Speaking of quests and dialogue, let's move on to the next Dragon's Dogma 2 review section: story delivery. 

Dragon's Dogma 2 Review: Story (No Spoilers)

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Dragon's Dogma 2's main event is undoubtedly its combat and adventuring (more on that in the next section), and I don't think Capcom would deny that its story delivery plays second fiddle to the game's more action-oriented aspects. That being said, it is quite serviceable overall and has some great moments that dovetail nicely into combat events. 

Dragon's Dogma 2, much like the first, is all about the Arisen and his or her relationship with the Great Dragon. Every few decades, a giant dragon appears and begins wreaking havoc on human settlements, seemingly indiscriminately. At the start of the game, we're shown the dragon incinerating the village of Melve, as well as your player, whose charred remains are subsequently violated by said dragon. Indeed, in Dragon's Dogma, the eponymous wyrm curses a human being of exceptional will by stealing their still-beating heart. This, in turn, makes them immune to aging and sickness, and their charge is to defeat the dragon, reclaim their heart, and kick-start a long period of peace and prosperity as Vernworth's king or queen. 

As you might expect, this cultural system is subject to intense medieval politics and plotting, and indeed, the current acting regent of Vernworth is not exactly happy to hear of your arrival ...

The "Arisen" is essentially a chosen one-type character that also commands the Pawn Legion, as they're known. These individuals are humans who are effectively without a will and identity of their own and simply follow and serve the Arisen in any way said Arisen sees fit. This, of course, comes with various problems. Some cultures are wary of the Arisen and the single-minded Pawns, going as far as to mistreat Pawns when they begin appearing. Indeed, Pawns come from another dimension, known as the "Rift," which is also an in-game explanation for using other players'  Pawns during combat. The intersection between gameplay systems and the overall narrative is refreshingly immersive, and a design trend I enjoy a lot in recent games when done correctly — few games have nailed this like Dragon's Dogma has now and in the past, tying basically all gameplay aspects to some sort of in-universe story explanation. 

Before writing this Dragon's Dogma 2 review, I was asked a fair amount of times if you had to have played the original before jumping in here. You don't need to have played Dragon's Dogma 1 to experience Dragon's Dogma 2, and in a weird way, you might not even want to. Ironically, there are some spoilers for Dragon's Dogma 2 in Dragon's Dogma 1 that I feel might have been more impactful if I had not known beforehand. There are plenty of nods for Dragon's Dogma 1 fans throughout, though, as the vagueness unravels as you progress through the story. 

(Image credit: Windows Central)

I'm trying to avoid spoilers here as much as possible, of course. Dragon's Dogma 2 does have its unexpected twists and turns, with a solid supporting cast and a satisfying conclusion — the latter of which I'll keep as vague as possible to not ruin, but it was among my favorite climaxes in recent memory. Yet still, I can't help but feel like Dragon's Dogma 2 could have gone a bit further here in some regards. I ended the game feeling like there was a bit of a lack of cinematic cutscenes overall, and the wooden in-game performances don't make up for it, generally speaking. The voice acting can also be very mixed; some of the character performances are truly incredible, especially during some of the game's more climactic moments. But some of the NPCs, in English at least, suck the gravitas out of certain events. I think for my second playthrough, I'll probably play in Japanese. 

Another aspect of the game's story that some may find irritating is tied to the game's systems and restrictions. For example, your decisions really, really matter in Dragon's Dogma 2 and can impact the game's ending. However, you're quite limited in "reloading" into an older save to repair the damage you may have caused with your choices. It can be fun to live with the consequences of your actions, but sometimes, your actions can have unintended consequences — and the game doesn't do a particularly great job at even hinting to you when you're making a choice that could have consequences. Some quests require you to "sneak around" into certain places, but there's no "stealth" system to speak of, meaning you just have to run past the NPCs like it's a Looney Tunes cartoon. The "jail" and "crime" systems are stuck in the Xbox 360 era as well, and guards will simply ignore you as you walk out. It's as if the quest and story designers' ambitions didn't line up with the team designing the gameplay and world interaction systems at times, and it does hurt the story's credibility. 

There's also a generalized lack of clarity about how to resolve or even trigger some quests, much like the original. I would never have known that you need to wear specific clothes to access certain NPCs without a guide. Or that a certain quest required me to physically carry someone to another area to trigger the next part of the story. Some quests also seemed to get completely stuck — but it could simply be that I didn't know what kind of esoteric feat I had to perform in order to move them forward. Guides and wikis will no doubt do some heavy lifting here post-launch, but overcoming Dragon's Dogma 2's vagueness isn't always as rewarding as it perhaps could be. 

(Image credit: Windows Central)

And sure, some may find the general lack of clarity to be irritating, but some may find it part and parcel of the experience. Dragon's Dogma 2 reminisces of old-school tabletop role-playing in that context, and you may welcome it. My experience here was tarred a bit by the fact I hit the "point of no return" without really being warned, or perhaps I missed the warning, meaning I lost the opportunity to resolve certain quests without going very far back to a previous save at an inn. I'm not denigrating the game for this, though, since it knows what it wants to be — it wants your decisions to have consequences, and it also wants you to live with them. It wants you to experiment, and it wants you to study the NPCs to discover those hidden outcomes.

Dragon's Dogma 2, like most RPGs, has a main campaign quest to chase alongside various character-oriented side quests to partake in. The game's NPCs might gossip, hinting at other things you could explore to trigger more quests or locations of interest that might also present story opportunities. Like the first game, different quests will appear at different times of the day, too, since all NPCs have a daily life that involves traveling around the town, perhaps going to work, maybe attending a bar, and then perhaps going to sleep. Other quests will only appear when certain story conditions have been met or a certain amount of in-game days have elapsed. There's also quite an impressive array of ways to resolve quests, leading to an array of different outcomes. Everything happens in real-time in Dragon's Dogma 2, and yes, if you wait too long to visit an NPC who asks you to return to them later, you may well miss out on some story beats as a result. 

I know full well I missed a lot of stuff. I didn't resolve certain quest threads, and I somehow missed an entire city during my playthrough, which is insane to me, because I thought I had explored every corner of each of the game's three main areas. Indeed, much like the game in general, Dragon's Dogma 2 will reward the curious and patient with additional story beats and context, and I can't help but wonder again how much I missed out on overall here. I'm certain there's plenty of content that none of the reviewers in the program have seen yet, and that's quite exciting to consider for my second playthrough. 

(Image credit: Windows Central)

I knew what to expect to some degree when going into Dragon's Dogma 2, having played the original, but I was still awe-struck by some of the game's big story moments and unexpected twists. But seriously, in short, don't go in expecting something as high quality as The Witcher 3 or Game of Thrones, even though I feel like the developers' ambitions were peeking through the clouds at times. I can't help but feel some aspects of the game's overarching story undermine some aspects of itself — but that's for another spoiler-heavy Dragon's Dogma 2 story analysis in the future. 

I would sooner compare Dragon's Dogma 2's story delivery to something like Skyrim, where you essentially choose the pace of your engagement with story-based content, as well as some of the outcomes. At the same time, it's a lot less transparent about those things than Skyrim. You will have no idea how to resolve certain quests without heavy experimentation or using online Dragon's Dogma 2 guides (like ours!). Some may love this, and some may hate it.

I honestly had hoped Dragon's Dogma 2's story ambitions would go a bit further than the original, overall, but I want to be transparent — I'm cognizant of the fact I haven't discovered everything there is to discover yet, despite 60+ hours of play. In any case, I would argue that Dragon's Dogma 2 knows where it excels, and that is in its combat gameplay and open-world adventuring. The story works best when it dovetails directly into some of these epic moments.

Dragon's Dogma 2 Review: Gameplay

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Dragon's Dogma 2's crowning achievement is its open world, adventuring RPG gameplay, and, much like the original, the game innovates in ways that I feel like other RPG makers will be catching up to for years to come. 

Heavily physics-based and restlessly dynamic, Dragon's Dogma 2's combat remains the centerpiece of the overall package. As the player "Arisen," you have access to 9 unique class vocations and an additional "jack of all trades" vocation that combines aspects of the others. We have a full list of Dragon's Dogma 2 vocations and skills over here, but the sheer amount of variety is truly exhaustive and bordering on MMO-like, without the MMO-jank. 

Dragon's Dogma 2 is challenging but not quite soulsian in its delivery. You aren't punished for dying, for example, and the auto-save feature triggers almost constantly. However, you will be punished for going into a fight unprepared. Monsters have all sorts of weaknesses to learn and exploit, as well as fixed levels that make them difficult to fight if you go into battle too early. Indeed, the difficulty in Dragon's Dogma 2 is essentially dynamic as well — you can set your own challenges based on how you approach combat. 

As the Arisen, you command the Pawn Legion. These are player-made companions (or automatically generated ones by Capcom) that can join you in your adventures. You create one special Pawn, your main companion, who can be used and shared by other players. You hire two more from other players in the world or those on your friends list. It's a really fun and cool system returning from the original, and your party composition will evolve throughout the game as you explore Dragon's Dogma 2's challenges. 

(Image credit: Windows Central)

For my first playthrough, I played primarily as a mage and then a sorcerer. In the original, you retained the stats after leveling up with a certain vocation, but now, your stats change when you swap vocations. This means you can change your vocation without restrictions if you get bored of playing in a specific play style. Although, having multiple sets of gear can get quite expensive on the first play through. 

As a sorcerer, you get access to some truly spectacular spells and abilities that deal crazy damage and can also send enemies flying with satisfying ragdoll physics. The downside is that you're squishy as heck, with an angry slap from a dragon being enough to nigh one-hit kill you. Thankfully, you can reduce the chances of being slapped by employing a Pawn specifically tailored for tanking and holding a monster's attention, allowing you to cast those spells with reckless abandon. You could also opt to play for a more defensive, heavy-armor-wearing class like a warrior, able to slice and dice large groups of enemies or wreak havoc on giant enemies by literally climbing on top of them. Indeed, since the game's combat is entirely physics-based, you needn't worry about taking random bits of damage simply for standing near an enemy. Using the "grab" button to push and pull at enemies or climb on top of them is a huge part of the game's combat loop and approach to strategic play. 

I can't tell you how satisfying it is in Dragon's Dogma 2 to land one of those incredibly slow-casting but powerful spells, sending enemies flying through a huge tornado or squashed by a falling meteor. Some of the new vocations, like the Mystic Spearhand, are akin to playing a medieval Darth Maul, flinging enemies with force magic and wielding a dual-tipped spear like a buzzsaw. The new additions of finishing moves for melee combat players are a welcome addition and heaps of an additional flair to what was already some incredibly spectacular and cinematic combat design. 

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Again, though, where I think some will struggle with Dragon's Dogma 2 is in that familiar opaqueness I talked about in the story section. Finding and unlocking vocations can be difficult, to begin with, but many also have higher-end secret abilities that can only be taught after doing specific quests in specific ways. Guides will help fix that confusion for most, but if you find hard-baked "resistive" design to be irritating, know that Dragon's Dogma 2 is quite full of those kinds of systems. I feel like adding friction to games is an important thing to do to add challenge. Too many modern games opt to completely forego all challenges, robbing your accomplishments of meaning in the process. Dragon's Dogma 2 sits up and says "no" to all that, and I love the game for it overall. 

Dragon's Dogma 2 adeptly balances that line in some ways but trips over itself in others. I think it's disappointing that the game only allows for one save file per profile, for example. I also think it's odd that you can only cook and eat meals out in the field while camping and not in main cities — even in homes you've purchased. Many will find the fast travel systems, or lack thereof, to be tiring too — but I find the combat and exploration gameplay to be so fun that I'm often more than willing to walk from point A to point B, even if it takes an hour to do so. There are tons of caves brimming with crafting materials and loot that make the effort worthwhile, as acquiring gold forms a large part of upgrading and progressing your character. Every weapon upgrade will make it increasingly easier to defeat certain foes until those towering enemies you once feared become mere fodder in your quest to fell the Great Dragon. 

Camping with your Pawns lets you recover lost health, and gain powerful food buffs.  (Image credit: Windows Central)

Dragon's Dogma 2 does try to make some of its "friction" uniquely interesting, though. There may not be instant fast travel systems all over the world, but there are ox carts you can ride in and "doze off" in to skip to different towns. Of course, you can be attacked while riding these ox carts. And hilariously, once, my ox cart got utterly destroyed by an angry griffon, who landed on it with an angry splat. 

In Batthal, the game's desert badlands region, ox carts are replaced by rope lifts that precariously need to be hand-wound with a crank handle. Flying enemies like harpies can make traveling this way incredibly dangerous, but the risk is often worth the reward of quicker traversal. Just make sure you have a bunch of arrows handy. 

All of this friction really does give Dragon's Dogma 2 a sense of "adventure" that other open-world games don't even come close to achieving, but you need to know what you're getting in for. You need to approach travel with patience, and caution, but also curiosity. Your Pawns will banter amongst themselves while traveling and also point out areas of interest that might reveal hidden treasure or loot. They may even know the locations of quest objectives if they've completed them on another player's world as well. You can camp with them in the field, too, gain powerful food buffs, and recap your current quest objectives — alongside some witty banter for good measure. 

The game's dungeons and locales are all handcrafted, full of characters to interact with, unique secrets to uncover, and dangerous enemies to fell. I don't think there's been a game that really nailed that sense of "adventure" for a really long time, reminiscent of legendary fantasy journeys from the likes of Lord of the Rings to Dune. The difference here is that it really is your story, and from the character creator to the game's fantastic climax, Dragon's Dogma 2 immerses you like very few other games are capable of. 

Dragon's Dogma 2 Review: Conclusion

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Despite the game's shortcomings with regard to story delivery and the moments where its restrictions seem to go a bit too far to the point of being arbitrary, Dragon's Dogma 2 is an incredible experience that quite easily sits among Capcom's greatest-ever games. 

Dragon's Dogma 2 has some of the most incredible "adventure" gameplay ever committed to code. A truly gargantuan journey spanning hundreds of virtual miles along a vast mountainous coast through desert badlands, culminating atop a volcanic moss-washed island. I loved almost every minute of my time with Dragon's Dogma 2, and I'm already eager to start over fresh once I finish my assignments this week. 

Dragon's Dogma 2 has flaws that go beyond its intentional frictions, but they're very easily overlooked, given how incredible the vast majority of the game is in every aspect. Dragon's Dogma 2 goes further than most games in its quest to make you feel like a total badass, and by the game's conclusion, you absolutely will be. 


✅ You should buy Dragon's Dogma 2 if: 

  • You like massive and deep action RPGs with meaty systems. 
  • You don't mind experimenting and "figuring things out" for yourself.
  • You enjoy challenging games that offer mountains of player choice. 
  • You love games that offer completionists anywhere up to 100 hours of raw content. 

❌ You should skip Dragon's Dogma 2 if: 

  • You get easily frustrated when games don't offer total clarity. 
  • You prefer story-heavy RPGs, rather than combat-heavy ones. 
  • You're on Xbox Series X|S or PlayStation 5 and dislike 30~ FPS.

I do wish that Capcom had done more to develop the game's quest systems and perhaps worked in some bespoke features tailored specifically to quest interactions. It's wild to me how interactive the game's combat engines are in comparison, from stabbing an airborne griffon while clinging to its fur to being caught by a Pawn when you fall off. Only for quest interactions to be as basic as thumbing through dialogue or delivering an object through a trade interface. NPCs aren't capable of doing anything except walk around outside of pre-rendered cinematics either, which is so jarring when you consider how impressive the game's combat is. 

The game knows what its strengths are, but I think Dragon's Dogma has huge potential to move beyond simply being "combat-first," owing to the uniquely intriguing world, particularly as pertains to some of the deeper philosophical concepts it explores. Alas, you can't have everything. 

I also sorely hope we're not waiting 12 years for Dragon's Dogma 3, and I also sorely hope that Dragon's Dogma 2 will have plenty of expansions and DLC to flesh out what is already a beefy offering. 

When I write reviews, I find that the best games are the ones that are so easy to write about, and I've committed over 5000 words to this Dragon's Dogma 2 review in a single sitting. I loved Dragon's Dogma 2, and can't wait to start over fresh — Dragon's Dogma 2 is uniquely magnificent and grand, but you should absolutely know what you're getting into. 

Steel yourself, Arisen. Dragon's Dogma 2 drops on March 22, for Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and PC. 

Dragon's Dogma 2$58.89 at CDKeys (Steam) | $64.99 at CDKeys (Xbox)

Dragon's Dogma 2: <a href="https://cdkeys.pxf.io/c/221109/1566025/18216?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdkeys.com%2Fdragon-s-dogma-2-pc-na-steam" data-link-merchant="cdkeys.com"">$58.89 at CDKeys (Steam) | <a href="https://cdkeys.pxf.io/c/221109/1566025/18216?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdkeys.com%2Fxbox-live%2Fdragon-s-dogma-2-xbox-series-x-s-ww" data-link-merchant="cdkeys.com"" data-link-merchant="cdkeys.com"">$64.99 at CDKeys (Xbox)

Dragon's Dogma 2 review: This is one of Capcom's greatest ever games, and it's available from March 22, 2024 for Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and Windows PC. This action RPG will keep you satisfied for dozens of hours, rewarding the patient and creative with its deep systems and infectious combat. 

💰Price check: <a href="https://greenmangaming.sjv.io/c/221109/1219987/15105?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.greenmangaming.com%2Fgames%2Fdragons-dogma-2-pc%2F" data-link-merchant="greenmangaming.com"" data-link-merchant="cdkeys.com"" data-link-merchant="cdkeys.com"" target="_blank">$60.19 at GMG (Steam) | <a href="https://store.steampowered.com/app/2054970/Dragons_Dogma_2/" data-link-merchant="store.steampowered.com"" data-link-merchant="greenmangaming.com"" data-link-merchant="cdkeys.com"" data-link-merchant="cdkeys.com"" target="_blank">$69.99 at Steam | <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=8428&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FDragons-Dogma-2-XBX-Xbox-X%2Fdp%2FB0CP34Z3DC%2Fref%3Dsr_1_2%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" data-link-merchant="store.steampowered.com"" data-link-merchant="greenmangaming.com"" data-link-merchant="cdkeys.com"" data-link-merchant="cdkeys.com"">$69.99 at Amazon (Xbox)

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!