Today we’re taking a look at the long awaited expansion to one of last year’s surprise hits from Capcom Dragon’s Dogma. Initially Dark Arisen was going to be an add-on to the game, but Capcom decided to offer gamers the same game with the added bonus of the new content much like they have done with their Street Fighter games.
Dark Arisen review – Text Version
To be clear, what gamers get here is the complete original Dragon’s Dogma game complete with all the extra trimmings, and then the new dungeon to round things off. We’re not going to go too deep into gameplay specifics here as you can get the gist of the game in our original review. The idea here is to look at the Dark Arisen campaign and primarily determine whether it’s worth buying this new repackaged version all over again, or better yet, trading in the original Dragon’s Dogma to get this one.
We have to state that the core game of Dragon’s Dogma is worthy of your time as it is, and if you’re new into the fold then this new game is a 100 per cent purchase, stop listening and just go out and buy it right now. If like us you’ve pumped over 200 hours into the original game, then there’s perhaps reason to be less excited or inclined to dip into the Dark Arisen campaign.
From the offset, we can say the campaign isn’t very long if you play through with a leveled up character from the original game, in fact, many of the mobs can be taken out with relative ease. You can probably beat the campaign in an afternoon if you’re high level. However, starting over and building up levels in the original game before heading off to the Bitterblack Isle will offer much more investment and challenge as will putting the game on hard difficulty. The island can be accessed at any time (during nightfall) from Gransys and if you’re using an old save file you’ll be awarded an infinite use ferrystone which makes navigation to and from much easier.
High level players will find some challenge on default settings though with some enemies being quite tough and perhaps more time consuming more than anything with their massive health bars. However, it has to be said, once the game is bested, the whole island is open and players can head to the end boss over and over. It’s post game, that the island shows its true colours with new randomly filled areas often containing multiple enemy types and more than one boss. The game really is for expert players and it’s here where the lack of human instinct with the AI lets the game down somewhat.
Dark Arisen’s locations are a bit flat though, and if you can stomach the enclosed interiors then all is fine and dandy. It’s a shame none of the open organic style environments were used to add a bit of variety. Dark Arisen does feel like one continuous dungeon crawl which is a shame. That said, the enemy design and variation makes up for it with some new foes like Minotaurs and variants from the bestiary that are familiar but changed to spice things up. There’s also new crafting available that’s unique to the Dark Arisen campaign, and really what’s neat is how the two games co exist with each other, offering some overlaps at times.
So the question gamers have to ask themselves is, are the extras worth while. No doubt die hard fans will already be enjoying the added challenge and pumping hours into the new content. However, if you only dipped a small toe into the original game, then there’s really no reason to embark on this new journey when there’s so much to explore in the original. We can honestly say you won’t be missing out on much bar the new enemy placements
Dargon’s Dogma Dark Arisen clearly shows that the game could have been a decent downloadable expansion to the original but also makes some sense as a repackaged product to entice newcomers by giving them everything in one neat package. It might be seen as a bit dry to get fans to buy the same game all over again, but this naturally is a contentious issue that you either boycott the game or ignore. Dark Arisen offers more of the same that the original handled so well, and therefore comes well recommended – and what’s probably the best approach is to trade in the original game against the purchase of this new one which in its defense is not being sold full price and can be found for under 20 quid.
Score 8/10 – Review by Robert Cram