Oh dear. This is one of those situations where critic reviews hail the game as a ‘Masterpiece’, ‘Game of a generation’ — that kind of thing. Then it lands in player hands and immediately plunges to Mostly Negative. (Although it has clambered its way up to a Mixed rating now, the following morning, sitting at 42% positive across 17k reviews.)

There are two key complaints:

Performance — Particularly in Major Towns

I have a strong PC. Enough so that I can brute force my way through many performance issues. Not every kind or scenario — but a lot of them. This is not one of those cases I was able to brute force my way through. Towns become jittery, giving the impression of either running somewhere around 15-20 FPS or with poor frame timings, causing visual hitches as you run through it.

I’ve been fortunate not to have this carry over into any combat scenarios or out-of-town locales — but not everyone can say the same.

To be fair to the critics, I did see this issue highlighted and offered as a warning in the reviews I watched, but no 0-day patch came riding in to save the day here.

Microtransactions — Microtransactions as Far as the Eye Can See

First callout here is that reviewers had no insight into what MTX would be made available for the game during the pre-release review window. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the discourse around the game in the critic space to, at least to some extent, do an about-face over the coming days.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a fully single-player game. But with a cash shop. With items ranging from appearance changes to the ability to place a stone you can portal back to later. Oof. The portal stone in particular got me, as the devs spoke of how they focused so hard on making journeying across the landscape on foot interesting. They minimised fast travel options to maintain the sense of adventure that comes from such journeys, especially when they also included a meaningful night/day cycle… And then… this?

It reeks of someone outside the core development coming in and doing this without a great deal of thought. Aside from the inconsistency in design philosophy and apparent developer passion for their project, there are things like the fact that you can buy the appearance-changing book for NZD $3.25 1, or for 500 RC. The 500 RC only costs NZD $1.64 to buy outright.

Or…

Thankfully…

You can just skip all that noise and obtain it completely in-game. RC is an in-game currency and is earned fairly easily through the course of play.

Anything on offer here is available directly in the game, or via RC in-game, and oftentimes a better version of it to boot.

There is no need to buy anything from the MTX line-up which is mostly what held my hand on refunding. If the port crystal had been shifted from an awesome in-game acquisition like in Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, to DLC/MTX only here, that would’ve been me done.

However, it’s still fairly scummy and I think the vehement reaction showing up in reviews — even from players who do not understand everything on sale is pointless — is justified and deserved. Dragon’s Dogma 2 is not a cheap game. In NZD terms, it’s $127.95 for the basic edition. To then be nickel and dimed over and above that… Eesh.

How About Everything Else?

So that was a lot of negative!

In terms of how to most clearly explain my feelings on the game otherwise… Hmm.

Well, before Dragon’s Dogma 2 came out… I’d fallen into one of my ‘Taste ALL the games!!11!’ moods. I had jumped between no less than half a dozen (maybe edging closer to a full dozen) games in the span of a matter of nights. It wasn’t that none of the things I tried were any good, just nothing was sticking with me.

I wanted to play everything I wasn’t playing, and I wanted to play nothing I was playing — there was really no sorting it out.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 I sat down and played straight for a probably unhealthy number of hours to an unhealthy time of the morning. It utterly engrossed me. It nails the feeling of going on an adventure into the unknown better than anything else I can point a finger at, especially in conjunction that I managed to break away from my general overriding desire to do everything ‘optimally’ and just let myself play and explore as it came.

The overland combat is regular enough to keep you engaged without being overbearing or annoying.

It can also be very intense!

My party was adventuring out at night, when we came to a fork in the road where some ethereal-looking spirit loomed to the left, and barely illuminated by the torch of the last guard standing over to the right, was an ogre or cyclops. The battle that ensued was quite the event for our rather inexperienced and low-level characters.

By the end, I very much felt the need to take a breather break in real life, as well as in the game!

So ultimately, the game needs performance fixes. It needs to be clearer to prospective buyers that they don’t need to touch any of the MTX at all, as everything available there is in the game in an as-good or even better form. But unlike Cities: Skylines 2’s launch, I’m pleased to say the game is not fundamentally broken. You can play this now and have the time of your life, and it has absolutely broken me out of the cycle of circling through games looking for something to stick.

Footnotes

  1. NZD for this example, but this concept carries across to USD and Euro as well, at the very least

Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.