Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen or Where’s My Title Song?

The first thing Rabidgames realised when booting up Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen was the missing “title song” … you know, the one praised here. Instead, you only get the one with female vocals. Interesting now, isn’t it?

Alright, let’s talk about the Bitterblack Isle, the setting where Dark Arisen takes place. It is one massive area full of maze-like caves, mysteries and monsters. Huge monsters. And Death lurking in the shadows. Literally lurking there. And this Death definitely fights in capital letters:

But that’s not the end of it: Imagine having barely defeated a cockatrice, and then, scavengers show up to feast on … well, you. Dark Arisen offers two choices: Fight or run. Sometimes, run wins. Basically, it is more of the same, but if the same was your style in Dragon’s Dogma, you’ll enjoy Dark Arisen, too.

Apart from the battles which are still fun as always, Dark Arisen admittedly takes a step towards Dark Souls: It throws you into an unknown world you know nothing about. There are traps and enemies behind many corners. There’s tons of new gear (and old gear as well) waiting for you (although you have to purify some of it first now). But let’s make no mistake: Dark Arisen is not more Dark Souls than Dragon’s Dogma was – if you imagine meeting the thieves on your way to Witchwood at level 10, you already know that Dragon’s Dogma has always been a rather unforgiving game which likes to punish you. So bear in mind that the gameplay is the same, albeit the world design of the Bitterblack Isle is a bow to the world of Dark Souls; shortcuts, more massive boss fights, mysteries to be solved etc.

However, there are a couple of technical issues: When Rabidgames once died against an insane scavenger ogre who dropkicked the party into oblivion, the game loaded a save 5 hours earlier. If this happens DO NOT SAVE THIS GAME! Exit without saving and try to load your save game. If you’re lucky, it loads to your previous point. If not … you’re screwed. After tons of issues with vanilla Dragon’s Dogma, it pains to see Dark Arisen is stricken with the same problems once more. This proves two things: One, a system which binds you to one save file per account is bullshit, two Capcom does not learn from its mistakes. The result – we have to learn: It’s still best to back-up your saves as often as possible if you want to avoid possibly losing those 259 hours of progress.

One word about the DLC: Yes, it seems all of the Dragon’s Dogma DLC is included, however, it is not free to obtain in-game anymore. With Dark Arisen, you have to walk to the Black Cat and buy everyfuckingthing. If you have a high level character it doesn’tmatter but if you start fresh, it sucks to no end to pay those hefty sums. Dear Capcom, this could have been solved better, don’t you think? By the way, yes, Capcom included all DLC of the vanilla game, but they sneakily included some customisation micro-transaction DLC for 160 MS points. Come on!

Rabidgames looks forward: At the end of the day, Dark Arisen is exactly what an expansion should be like and even more: A new world, the main game plus all DLC for half price (let’s forget the new DLC for a sec, okay?). Well done, Capcom. Sure, there are some minor flaws, but all this profane trifle is forgiven in the depths of Bitterblack Isle.

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