Monday, May 28, 2012

Like an excel spreadsheet with swords

I almost feel bad for writing off Dragon's Dogma after only two evenings of play, especially since Chance pointed out that I play games like Venetica on purpose and to completion. Dragon's Dogma also sits right in my wheel house of action RPG's and I was hoping it would be a good time sink like Amalur. There were a few 'issues' that I could not get over. These aren't really problems, because I can certainly see how some people might enjoy the very quirks that drove me to shut it down last night.

Dragon's Dogma has no anchor, no single story line that keeps things grounded even when I am wandering through the wilderness killing rabbits for a pointless quest. Skyrim had hundreds of side quests, but no matter how many there were the primary objective was always listed first so if I ran out of other things to do I could always go back to the main story. Dragon's Dogma, after six hours of play, still had no main quest, or if it did it certainly didn't tell me. I made it to the first major town, following the standard red marker on the world map that designates where I am supposed to go, and once I finished that there was no guidance, no second quest in the main story to keep things moving. I visited a notice board to pick up side quests, and all but one were silly, 'kill a dozen of this monster' jobs, most of which were for areas that I hadn't been to yet. The one that had a set destination was an escort mission to an unexplored area of the map. Desperate for something to do, I took it.

After around thirty real time minutes of walking I got close to my destination, only to run into a goddamned dragon. The dragon killed my entire party with little effort, so I knew that I was somewhere that I was not supposed to be, but there was no clue that I wasn't supposed to be there until I had engaged in a hopeless battle. Dragon's Dogma also only has one save spot, so I was forced to try to sneak around the dragon over and over until I finally got to the end of the quest. It was another town, the person I was guarding left, but I was not allowed to enter the town. Again, I was not supposed to be there yet but the game hadn't bothered to tell me.

Then I had to walk back. No fast travel hear, and walking back was some how worse, as I was ambushed by wave after wave of bandits. It was too difficult, but worse than that it was boring. There was no story in Dragon's Dogma, nothing to anchor the wandering to. All that was left was exploring and watching numbers go up, which for me at least is not a very good time. The game's way of motivating the player was so different than its western counterparts that I could not relate to it. This is a shame, because once I figured out the pawn system trying out new pawns was fun and armor and clothing system actually made sense. Without a main quest the roll playing is removed from the action roll playing game, which also means that it just isn't much fun.

...

I need something terrible to play. Binary Domain should do the trick.

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