Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Let Me Actually Talk About Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen

I have really said a lot about Dragon's Dogma:  Dark Arisen, without saying very much -about- it at all, I think.  Mostly that I really like it and still really like it a couple weeks later.  I like those stories.  I liked writing them, I like reading them over, and, thankfully, I don't seem to be the only one who likes them, so I will probably continue to do them.  More as a testament to the fact that a game like Dragon's Dogma can inspire me to write those by simply playing it.  I just really don't want there to be any misconceptions associated with my stories and the game itself, because I understand that someone who has no knowledge of Dragon's Dogma:  Dark Arisen might read those stories and go "Well, gee, I wonder how much of that actually happened in the game?".  It's a fair question.

The answer is 99% of it.  I give myself a 1% margin of embellishment for adding character to the pawns, cutting out the bulk of big-bad fights and the occasional NPC interaction.  Which I'll explain in a bit.

Dragon's Dogma is an interesting breed of game that allows -so much-, and you're not really sure as to how it manages to do it.  It is this living, breathing world in a sense, with so much of a background to it that, at times, it almost asks you to sort of 'know' things already.  I assume some of these things are in the Digital Instruction Manual, but I didn't read that because my time with the PS3 is short when I use it and I can't be assed to 'waste' some of it reading inconsequential things that I will eventually figure out on my own.  However, the point is simply that the game is large and impressive alone for that feat, but it offers so much more than that in a way I'm struggling to really explain.

The easiest way around it, I believe, is simply to point out the embellishments that I made in my two little stories to allow you to re-read them and find the full breadth of what Dragon's Dogma actually has and can do.

  • Pawns talk a lot more - Seriously, if there's one singular gripe that every single person to play Dragon's Dogma (and Dark Arisen) has, it's that Pawns do not shut the fuck up.  99% of the time, it's inconsequential nonsense that you wish they would stop spouting constantly, and that 1% of the time is the first time they say something useful about a situation or enemy.  Every instance thereafter becomes part of the 99%.  So while I sort of made Rook seem like a twit with the shit he was spouting, the sad fact is that Zero kept saying the same things too.  They both did.  Constantly.  Over and over and over again.  Through the entire ten to fifteen minutes spent on the Cyclops fight alone.  The absurdities of the context with Rook are why I high-lighted them - while I could've used magic items, I assume, neither my character nor Zero can wield magic, being the melee-focused Fighter vocation.  I shouldn't have to say why telling me the eye of the creature is vulnerable while I am literally attacking it is absurd.
  • Big fights take a long time - I sort of allude to it in the latter post at least, but if you come across a big beast, you're in it for the long haul if you don't run away.  The fun of it lies in the fact that every big creature that I've encountered so far has a sort of Shadow of the Colossus quality to it where you -want- to climb on them and attack the weak spot for massive damage.  Not only because it makes them go faster/smoother, but because it's badass.  Only thing is, you'll end up doing that a lot, because your stamina only lasts so long and your weapon doesn't do a hell of a lot of damage, even on the weak spot, initially.  (Mind, I'm not super geared out or anything)  So I cut a lot of time by simply inferring time spent, because I don't want to write something that will have a Minutes to read : Minutes to do ratio of 1:1.
  • Your pawn is just as dumb as the rest of them - Worth saying again - I really like Zero, but I more like the -concept- of Zero than anything.  (Yes, she is based on Drakengard 3's Zero and yes, my MC is based on Drakengard's Caim.  They are ~Murder Buddies~)  Functionally in Dragon's Dogma, she is the same as any other pawn - there's no real special abilities or anything granted by having her around as opposed to not/having others around.  It just makes for a better story to have these two characters matter, obviously, so it just makes sense to do it that way.
  • You cannot murder NPCs - NPCs are invulnerable to a point, from what I can tell.  So while my second story ended with Caim running that merchant through and leaving him for dead, in reality it was just me being frustrated and striking out at something.  I might as well have hit a wall, all told, because the result is the exact same.  The Merchant didn't get mad at me or anything - just sort of got up and went back to his spot.  It's....anti-climactic, unfortunately.

Really, aside from the personalization bits that I added to my main character, those are the only things I really had to change in the transition from what happened in game to what happened in what I wrote.  Which I think is damn impressive, personally.  Everything you do feels personalized, feels like your -own- encounter or scenario, which allows you to have these little stories in your head like this.  For me, that's one of the neatest things that a game -could- do, so it's no surprise that I'm basing my urging on people picking up the game on that alone.  (Relax, Chance, it's not going anywhere so you don't have to get it -now-)  Really, that's -why- I'm probably going to write a few more of these little stories from my DD experiences before all is said and done.  Not just because I like them and enjoy them, but because it's just that easy, and it's just that possible to do so.  I just wish I had played this game -last year- when it came out.  But I wouldn't have gotten the Dark Arisen version (which adds a host of improvements, I'm told, as well as, you know, the big DLC) if I did, so it's something of a wash.

So, as stated, you haven't seen the last of the Arisen.

oh, okay, so really it was less flowery when I yelled at Rook, too.  "ROOK.  SHUT THE HELL UP.  I AM ATTACKING THE EYE YOU DUMB FUCK" is basically what I said, but that didn't fit too well

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