Capcom Co.’s Dragon’s Dogma for Sony Corp.’s Playstation 3 and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 is a well-forged action RPG that includes an engaging combat system, non-linear play, and a band of competent AI allies.

In Dragon’s Dogma, a man known as The Arisen has his heart plucked by an ancient dragon. His wound mysteriously heals and he ventures on a journey to defend the land and win his heart back from the dragon.

Users begin by creating a custom male or female character. The title includes a large number attributes from face, body to voice that users can fine tune. In addition, users can choose a vocation like Fighter, Strider or Mage to focus on specific battle properties.

Players begin in the town of Cassardis where The Arisen can banter with townsfolk to receive quests. Priority quests further the storyline, while standard quests are optional but can enhance relationships and encourage stat growth.

The Arisen is given an entity known as a Pawn that can be customized to be a constant ally through the entire journey. In addition, users can hire up to two additional non-customizable pawns for extra backup.

Further customization is allowed via the purchase of armor and weaponry in each town.

Quests vary from simple retrieval tasks to full-scale battle. The title offers simple instructions and allows Pawns to provide comment and provide hints during each quest. The open world includes a sped-up 24-hour day and night cycle to offer quests can only be seen or completed in certain parts of the day.

The combat system is solid with pitch-perfect analog movement, Light and Heavy Attack, Jump, and Run options, and a Grab move that allows users to grab and climb onto large enemies to attack them. The latter is an innovation to most action RPGs, including Capcom’s Monster Hunter series which typically force users to hack at the legs of large foes. Instead, users can grab, ride, and stab away at monstrous enemies for fulfilling and more realistic combat.

Enemy AI is clever and respond realistically to each attack. Smaller enemies like Goblins can move quickly but can be knocked down with a hefty blow. Pawns also react swiftly to attack enemies, heal allies, or find items on their own accord.

The graphic engine is vast and varied at 30 frames-per-second. The MT Framework engine is capable in rendering a huge open-world with soldiers, enemies, and moving landscape. A drawback is that NPCs can fade in unexpectedly.

The sound engine is solid with wincing stabs and battle cries that layover a strong soundtrack. Pawns and NPCs are very vocal, with enough banter to require chat-style messaging in the HUD.

Dragon’s Dogma is a fine action RPG with plenty of quests, versatile combat, and challenging battles. While the story can be minimal, the large, open world can offers a compelling single-player experience.

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