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Dragon's Dogma 2 review roundup: 'An engine to create dynamic moments during every adventure'

 An armored man speaks in a darkened nave, his arms outstretched.
An armored man speaks in a darkened nave, his arms outstretched.

With embargoes lifted and reviews rolling in for Dragon's Dogma 2, I'm willing to say it: after more than a decade since the original game's release, Dragon's Dogma sickos are finally vindicated. We're poised to enter an era where we're regularly regaled by our friends' tales of their Arisen's latest, delightfully-sidetracked quests alongside a gang of misfit pawns. Even if Dragon's Dogma 2 follows its predecessor as a cult classic, it looks like it'll be a much bigger cult.

After shotgunning a healthy hundred hours of adventure alongside his hand-sculpted goblin sidekick, Fraser Brown leads our own Dragon's Dogma 2 review with a bold declaration: "I guarantee this is a game that will be talked about for a long time." Well, critics are already getting a strong start on the talking. Currently sitting with an admirable 87 on Metacritic, Dragon's Dogma 2 looks fit to follow Baldur's Gate 3 as a landmark fantasy RPG—assuming you can stomach some eminent jankiness.

"No other game in recent memory has inspired the same feeling of captivation and wonder"

Eurogamer: 5/5

I mentioned Dragon's Dogma sickos above, and Lewis Parker at Eurogamer seems to be a sicko among sickos, writing that, after an introductory binge of Dragon's Dogma 2, "I realised attempting to be unbiased may no longer be possible, because Dragon's Dogma 2 isn't bothered about appeasing those who had issues with the original game."

Encapsulating the emergent magic on offer, Parker includes a retelling of a prolonged saga that began with escorting a merchant, who was fatally bludgeoned moments later by an ogre, who was then killed a griffin, which was in turn killed by a speeding oxcart (that also collided with Parker and company), whose driver would then go on to give their life in a battle after ferrying Parker to the nearest village which, by coincidence, was in the midst of a dragon attack. Excellent. No notes.

"A living, breathing place that will march on valiantly whether you find what you’re looking for or not"

IGN: 8/10

IGN's Jarrett Green points to Dragon's Dogma 2's "second-to-none action design and vague but robust and alluring world" as its greatest strengths, but those strengths come with "high levels of janky; all of its systems seem precariously fitted together, with the fragility of a well-pruned Jenga tower."

Ultimately, it seems like rising above the brutality that Dragon's Dogma 2 throws at you is rewarding enough to outweigh technical stumbles or mechanical clunkiness, as Green writes that "there’s an action-RPG here that’s richly rewarding and incomparable to its contemporaries if you can be patient with its quirks and open to embracing its hands-off open-world."

"A standout game and a worthy successor"

Game Informer: 9/10

Echoing Eurogamer and IGN, Jesse Vitelli at Game Informer writes that Dragon's Dogma 2 "constantly finds big and small ways to surprise me even 50 hours in. At its core, Dragon’s Dogma 2 captures a sense of adventure."

Vitelli relishes the preparation and experimentation necessary to thrive outside the safety of Dragon's Dogma 2's walled settlements, saying "it’s a risk I happily took and one that always felt like the reward was high enough, even if my party died trying."

Meeting the sphinx
Meeting the sphinx

"An engine to create dynamic moments during every adventure"

Digital Trends: 3.5/5

With one of the more critical reviews in the mix, Tomas Franzese calls Dragon's Dogma 2 "an expansive and brutal open-world RPG," praising the potential for shareable stories in its exploration and breadth of combat options. But he doesn't shy away from underlining the frustrations in its unforgiving save system and performance dips.

Comparing it to Baldur's Gate 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, he writes that Dragon’s Dogma 2 "gets close to rivaling those titles" when it's not suffering from "issues that occasionally make it more jank than genuinely enjoyable." Franzese's overall assessment: "When all the different dynamic aspects of Dragon’s Dogma 2 harmonize, though, it’s beautiful."

"A game unburdened by any influence save that of its own predecessor"

Kotaku: Unscored

Cole Kronman pens a review that's enraptured by Dragon's Dogma 2 as a game that's its own Platonic ideal and fulfillment thereof, writing: "My impression coming away from Dragon’s Dogma 2 is that, throughout the past decade of seismic triple-A releases, Itsuno has been holed up in an underground bunker somewhere, scrupulously taking notes–not on his contemporaries, but on Dragon’s Dogma."

Before celebrating its open world's willingness to resist and repel your heroism, Kronman delights in the thematic tension between the player Arisen and their troupe of pawns, saying "the game’s drama is derived from its decrypting of these roles, and of the hierarchies of power—both political and cosmic—separating them." Also worth noting: Kronman's pawn is named Skroat. Pretty good.