Dragon’s Dogma 2 Scratches the RPG Itch I Have Ahead of Elden Ring’s DLC

My first play-through of Elden Ring remains the undisputed best experience of my 15 years of actively playing games, and only Dragon’s Dogma 2 comes close to it…

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is everything I expected it to be and much more. The game returned the child-like excitement I felt while exploring the open world of only a few games. Many of the recent open-world games had forgotten the meaning of exploration, hand-holding players through every nook and cranny of the map. As I started to question my interest in Open World games, Elden Ring appeared as a breath of fresh air, making me realize that the problem did not reside with me but with the poorly crafted games.

I will never forget the moment I discovered the Siofra River Well Elevator, which took two entire minutes to reach underground, where I found a huge unexplored area with new enemies and bosses.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is the only other game that reached those heights, in terms of exploration for me. With the Elden Ring DLC scheduled to release in June, I am fortunate enough to have Dragon’s Dogma 2 with me till then. DD2 is the perfect balance of combat and exploration and easily fills the crater-size RPG hole I had been looking to fill ahead of the Elden Ring’s DLC.

Beautifully Crafted World Reminiscent of Elden Ring

Dragons Dogma 2 scenery
Image Courtesy: In-game Screenshot Captured by Sanmay Chakrabarti

Elden Ring had one of the best open worlds I have ever witnessed in an open-world game. The world was beautifully crafted, with deep lore added to each section. Even minor ruins had meaning behind them. Every area had a secret and a boss (many times a reskin), making exploration a very rewarding experience. I will never forget that one random enemy turned into a rune bear when I tried attacking it.

Dragon’s Dogma 2’s open world may not be lore-heavy, but it is equally aesthetic and rewarding. Every corner of Dragon’s Dogma 2 has secrets, and it requires a lot of prying to reveal them all.

The best part about the exploration is that none of it is spoon-fed to the player.

Image Courtesy: In-game Screenshot Captured by Sanmay Chakrabarti

You will often find clues in notices or random NPC dialogues telling you about a specific hidden enemy in some part of the world. If you pay attention to these clues, you can quickly figure out the general area they are pointing at and explore it (a lot like treasure hunts).

One great example is the Medusa fight. In Bakbattahl, you will constantly see clues about the Medusa, and the Sculptor quest straight-up tells you that it would be amazing if the Arisen had a Medusa’s head but doesn’t task the Arisen to find it.

Based on clues, finding Medusa and defeating her to reclaim her head as an item (which is very broken) is a rewarding experience. Finding the Sphinx lair and the Sacred Arbor are also great examples of Dragon’s Dogma 2’s exploration strength.

Boss Fights Lead to Random Memorable Experiences

Image Courtesy: In-game Screenshot Captured by Sanmay Chakrabarti

Dragon’s Dogma 2 features amazing combat, on par with Elden Ring in terms of experience but very different mechanically. Each fight with a Griffin, Drake, Minotaur, Chimera, Dullahan, Ogre, or Cyclops is very different every time you engage. The circumstances for each fight can vastly differ, completely changing the fighting experience with the same boss you have dealt with multiple times.

I still remember fighting a Drake when a Griffin decided to swoop in. After some time, the Drake decided to leave and the Griffin carried me to its nest, in an entirely new area on the map, where I found a Portcrystal.

I had previously defeated Drakes and Griffins, but this sequence of events was completely unexpected. The bizarre events were not pre-planned and happened sporadically. And the game is filled with such experiences.

Image Courtesy: In-game Screenshot Captured by Sanmay Chakrabarti

While riding an OxCart, you can have a Griffin swoop in and destroy it, an ogre may decide to tag team with a Cyclops and fight you, or a Drake might start fighting with a Cyclops while you witness it from far away.

Even Elden Ring pales in comparison when it comes to the sheer number of random encounters in Dragon’s Dogma 2.

DD2 Satisfies the RPG Urge Until June

Image Courtesy: In-game Screenshot Captured by Sanmay Chakrabarti

A big plus point of Dragon’s Dogma 2 is that it is very replayable. Many new players in the Dragon’s Dogma series might disagree with me on this one, but they will realize it soon enough. The strength of Dragon’s Dogma 2 is the random encounters in the overworld, something that will take a long time to get boring.

“But Dragon’s Dogma 2 is very easy, and it would get boring in new game plus.”

Although the base game is indeed very easy, especially with the pawns, and a lack of Hard Mode (which I still expect to be added soon), the game still has a ton of replayability potential.

If you want to experience the true difficulty of Dragon’s Dogma 2, then try playing solo. That’s when you will find yourself racking your brain during every fight, strategizing how or when to engage in battle. After you have mastered that, try doing the same in the Unmoored World. Trust me, you will enjoy and appreciate the game’s difficulty playing solo more than with pawns.

What do you think about Dragon’s Dogma 2 holding the RPG urge until Elden Ring gets here? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!

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