Science & Technology



Review: ‘Dragon’s Dogma 2’ and ‘Rise of the Ronin’ offer divergent takes on open-world games


Published in Science & Technology News

If you want to win game of the year, your best bet is to create an open-world game. The genre dominates when it comes to end-of-the-year considerations. The efforts are often the most eye-grabbing and they capture the imagination with their promise of adventure and fun.

Despite more than two decades of mining the format, developers are still finding ways to make open-world games feel fresh. “Dragon’s Dogma 2” and “Rise of the Ronin” are two projects that transport players to different worlds but diverge on how they do it. Capcom’s epic demands players immerse themselves in its high-fantasy adventure while Team Ninja’s samurai epic brings fresh eyes to a type of open-world game that Ubisoft specializes in.


Like any open-world game, each has flaws and troublesome bugs, but these are outweighed by the scope of their respected quests. With “Dragon’s Dogma 2,” players take on the role of the Arisen, whose heart is taken by a dragon. That puts players on a quest to defeat the beast, but along the way, they encounter a myriad of dramas and obstacles.

What separates “Dragon’s Dogma 2” from other fantasy action games is its Pawn system, an innovative feature that lets players create their own sidekick who travels with the Arisen. They absorb knowledge as players venture through the kingdoms of Vermund and Battahl. They figure out enemy weaknesses. They gain knowledge about how to finish quests.

Players mold their sidekicks through their adventures and then they’re sent out so that other players can use them. In “Dragon’s Dogma 2,” players hire other Pawns to fill out a party of four. Those other Pawns also have their own backgrounds crafted by others and it makes these background characters feel more organic.



It’s a fascinating system that Hideaki Itsuno introduced on the PlayStation 3 in 2012, but the problem was that the game’s ambitions were limited by the technology. With “Dragon’s Dogma 2,” players get a vision that’s as gorgeous as it is demanding. It’s a title that asks players to invest themselves in the universe and role play as the main character.

The more players do that the more they’ll succeed in the campaign. That’s because everything serves the fiction of this high-fantasy world. “Dragon’s Dogma 2” doesn’t have offer hand-holding when it comes to directing players.

For example, players will have several quests that they can do in any order, but if they don’t do them in time they can miss the opportunity. Even if they fail a mission, they sometimes won’t find themselves with a game over, but instead, they’ll be thrown in jail, opening up a new avenue of adventure. In other instances, if players want to travel, they’ll have to initially do it via ox cart or on foot. Fast travel is an expensive proposition, but again, this all serves to immerse players into that fantasy world. The developers want players to explore and see the land and fall into emergent gameplay moments.


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