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Dragon's Dogma Preview

At the Capcom Gamers Day last week, GameZone checked out a build of Dragon’s Dogma, Capcom’s stab at a large scale fantasy RPG. The game has some features that they believe will make it stand out from staples of the genre like Skyrim and Oblivion. Only time will tell, but what they showed us was pretty impressive.

Dragon’s Dogma is Capcom’s first attempt at an open-world game and is largely inspired by the Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.

The first feature demonstrated was the rather extensive player customization integrated into the beginning of the game. A large majority of the presentation was dedicated to this feature which was rather impressive. You can choose between male or female and edit the most bizarre, but lifelike, details such as their posture, height, age and level of scarring. Your hero could be a battle-hardened dwarf lady in her 40’s if you so wish. The most impressive part of it all is that your character gets rendered into every cinematic in real time, and the cinematics look great.

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There are 3 classes to choose from in the beginning: Mage, Strider and Fighter. As you progress through the game you can unlock more classes, bringing the grand total to 9. This might seem like a strange decision but you can change your class as you play through the game and reallocate upgrade points so you’re never unnecessarily underpowered.

Just like Skyrim and Oblivion, the challenge with an open-world game of this nature is to breathe life into the NPCs and they’ve gone at lengh to give the citizens a believable feel. An example was their activity at different times of the day and how that would change their behaviour. During working hours, the town they showed was bustling with life, only to have the streets empty out at night.

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But what ultimately distinguishes DD from other RPGs is the ability to create ‘pawns’ and bring them into battle with you. What’s a fantasy medieval adventure without a team of heroes that can join you on the quest? Unfortunately these pawns are only NPCs but they are as fully customizable as your main hero. Not only that, but you can tweak the personality of your pawns on the fly, just in case you’ve made a bad decision at the get-go and she/he begins to piss you off or bore you.

You can also choose to do multiple quests simultaneously, allowing you the option of doing a less or more challenging quest as you feel like it. This feature, with the extreme character customization of both your hero and your team, really turn the game into your own unique fantasy story. No one play-through will be the same. Each pawn will develop their own characteristics, the way you approach quests will never be the same and having 9 classes to use truly make this a sandbox fantasy title.

With your game controller you’re writing your own Lord of the Rings.

After the presentation, i can say I’m extremely excited for DD. The features aren’t revolutionary, but the way they’re executed is well thought out and is geared towards an extremely personal single player campaign, something that’s lacking in the industry right now. Dragon’s Dogma has a North American release date of 27 March 2012.

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