Dragon’s Dogma 2 hands-on: How Capcom brings new life to the RPG sequel

It’s been 11 years since the release of Capcom’s fantasy action-role playing game Dragon’s Dogma, with fans readily anticipating the March 22 release of its long-awaited sequel, Dragon’s Dogma 2.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 takes everything that made the original a cult classic and builds upon that foundation. There are new vocations, more monsters to take on, more ways to defeat them, more places to venture to, and above all, more life in the world of the Arisen.

I got the chance to go hands-on with Dragon’s Dogma 2 and speak with its director, Hideaki Itsuno. Here’s some of the standout features from my experience with Dragon’s Dogma 2, along with some quotes provided by the director.

A connected world

The first thing I noticed on my adventure in Dragon’s Dogma 2 is how real the world feels. Thanks to the PlayStation 5 SSD, there were no loading times when traveling from land to land, making the adventure feel that much more captivating. I went straight from the starting village to monster-filled outskirts without even noticing how far I traveled due to the world’s interconnected feel.

This interconnection applies to the monsters as well. After a losing battle with a dragon and attempting to escape, I was horrified to see the scaly fiend still chasing me as I made my way back to what I thought was the safety of the village.

Of course, Itsuno was delighted to hear about my reaction to this, as it was one of his main goals to make the game feel that much more lively on current-gen hardware.

“Back on the PlayStation 3 with the original we were limited and thus, creatures would eventually load out after you got far away enough. We wanted to use the innovations to make these creatures feel alive, so now when you try to run away you’ll look back and see it won’t be as easy as before.”

More ways to battle

I didn’t run from every battle, however. Once I was accustomed to the enemies of this world I realized the additions to the battle system and new vocations take Dragon’s Dogma 2 to new heights.

One vocation that stands out is the Mystic Spearhand, which gives access to magick arts and physical attacks using a dual-ended spear. Using this class against the many fiends sprawling this world I was able to not only defend with physical resistant buffs, but also take on the hordes with simple spear swings, dash attacks, and telekinetic attacks that allowed me to pick up and throw monsters. To hit two birds with one stone, you can toss one monster at another.

This feels like a class made for all obstacles. I enjoyed the freedom granted by the dash attack to both get in quickly with a damaging stab and evade enemy attacks. And now that all vocations can preserve stamina while standing atop giant monsters, I felt ready to take on any challenge the game threw at me.

A land of endless adventure

The land of Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a large one that I immediately was lost in, heading out into the wilderness to seek adventure, where the magic of this game lies. Itsuno detailed it as a true journey title, a game where players don’t necessarily have to follow preset rules and destinations, but can make their own story. 

Enhanced AI and Pawns

Upgrades in the AI department were also made. Pawns, which are your allies, are a lot more helpful and characteristically present throughout the adventure. The Pawn system is unchanged from the original. They still do the same things, such as grabbing items for you and helping in battle, but now they do it all more efficiently. They were always nearby when I needed them and it felt more than necessary to keep them alive to aid me in battle. They also lead the way to objectives whenever you find yourself lost in the vast world.

My favorite addition to these companions comes in the personality department. Pawns will speak to you and one another, making them feel like actual characters you can feel for, even though you may trade them off for another Pawn down the road.

Immersive PlayStation 5 features

The PlayStation 5 SSD isn’t the only feature the console highlights in Dragon’s Dogma 2. The game adds even more interactivity in battle, with the DualSense wireless controller’s haptics taking center stage. Both when you attack and get struck in turn, you’ll feel the ferocity of each blow through the DualSense controller.

You can get this experience and more when Dragon’s Dogma 2 releases March 22 on PlayStation 5.

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