Michael loves Dragon’s Dogma. He loves it so much he gives it pet names. I call it “That Dawgma or “Dawgma” for short. Dawgma came into my life and I gladly sacrificed 85 hours before I finally finished it, and I don’t really finish games very often. I tend to grab an RPG, sink a bunch of time into it, experiment with the mechanics, put it down, and start over a lot, but I seldom murder whoever caused all those problems in the kingdom. I did this with Final Fantasy 7 – 10, Oblivion and Skyrim, and even Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana (which I SWEAR we’re gonna beat, Lee). All quality games, but I’m terrible.
… but I finished Dragon’s Dogma.
This is why I was so terribly excited at the announcement for the next game in the franchise called Dragon’s Dogma Online. It’s like Capcom heard the collective prayers of its fanbase and decided to give us the multiplayer we wanted, the lack of which was the most heartbreaking thing about the original game. Rather than giving us something we could play with friends, we got pawns; customizable NPCs who would fight with you throughout your journey. You could build and teach your main pawn while using the pawns of friends and other players, but Dragon’s Dogma always felt like it was meant to allow for more particularly with multiplayer
It wasn’t the plot or graphics that managed to entice me enough to actually finish the game; it was the mechanics. When you fight a dragon in Skyrim, you swing wildly at his wing or leg until he dies stupidly. When you fight a dragon in That Dawgma, you leap atop his scaly hide as he attempts to gain altitude, hack or cast spells at his wings until he careens into earth at which point your pawns dog pile him in an attempt to keep him grounded long enough for you to attack at his exposed heart.
Fights with giant monsters like griffins, manticores, and the dreaded cockatrice were complex, nuanced, tense, and satisfying as was fighting the variety of bandits, wolves and lizard men that would dare stand against you. Combined with excellent an excellent and diverse class system, survival horror elements, and a solid equipment system, Dawgma was a great and expansive world to ruin with medieval superpowers. To exist in this world with friends would have taken the experience to incredible heights and deliver an experience even more unlike any other RPG I’ve ever played.