Dragon’s Dogma 2 is finally a reality. It’s developed on RE Engine and brings many of the same quirks that hardcore players swore by to Xbox Series X/S, PS5 and PC in 2024. Fortunately, we won’t have to wait long to play it. Thanks to a recent showcase by the developer, there’s some stunning new gameplay and details about the action RPG. Let’s look over ten new things that we learned, starting with…
After it was revealed several times by PEGI’s listing and Steam, the developer confirmed that Dragon’s Dogma 2 will launch on March 22nd, 2024. It’s pretty auspicious timing, roughly nine days before the end of the fiscal year. Nevertheless, it means there’s plenty of time after all the big releases in January and February to enjoy the title, assuming the developer doesn’t unleash its major unreleased title that could sell millions (their words, not hours) around the same time.
While the main trailer had its share of intrigue and story details, the gameplay showcased after is a much bigger highlight, especially with the reveal of Talos. Emerging from the ocean, Talos is a massive entity, slowly making its way across the landscape, destroying everything in its path. Watching it brush aside wood and stone is an impressive sight, topped only by throwing its javelin and annihilating a giant bridge.
The role of Talos is still to be revealed, but the Arisen and their Pawns have to stop it. That means firing with ballista turrets, not unlike the Zorah Magdaros fight in Monster Hunter World. However, you must climb and damage its weak points, akin to Shadow of the Colossus. Jumping from the overhead bridges and latching on to flying creatures are also good ways to mount it. Considering how big the bosses could get in the game, Talos is a massive step up.
Players can customize the protagonist and their Main Pawn before embarking on their journey. While we didn’t get to see much of the latter, the options available for the Arisen are pretty extensive. You can customize heads, skin, brows, eyes, ears, cheeks, mouth and more, with numerous options like brow height and spacing, wrinkles and skin sheen, eye height and squint (which can be independent for each eye), and much more.
The nose options alone are more extensive than, say, Destiny 2’s entire character creator (which is a low bar, but still). There are also unique options for races like the Beastren, including fur types, patterns and up to four different pattern colors and thickness settings. Photogrammetry ensures more realistic-looking characters, and the creator is more intuitive to use, especially when selecting a base head.
We’ve seen Vermund, the so-called kingdom of humanity, and Battahl, where the Beastren reside. However, the showcase revealed a completely new place – the Sacred Arbor, a remote village where the Elves live. They aren’t interested in interacting with humans or the Beastren, but welcome the Arisen. While communicating in Elvish is nothing new for a fantasy property, the player can’t understand the language. Fortunately, the new Pawn Specializations offer a way to surmount the language barrier.
As with the first game, you can recruit up to three Pawns to join you, not to mention the Main Pawn, who is always by your side. The latter will grow through your experiences together and change their behavior accordingly. Speaking of which, Inclinations that determine how a Pawn acts in the field and battle also return. There’s a new one called Calm, though it’s unknown what this does.
However, Specializations are brand new and are essentially passive traits that can assist in different ways. A Pawn with the Woodland Wordsmith Specialization can interpret Elvish for the player, making them indispensable in the Arbor. The developer promises “many” other Specializations, including those that seemingly carry items for the player if they become overburdened.
More Detailed Pawn Chatter
One of the highlights of Dragon’s Dogma is enabling Pawn Chatter. While the repeated lines could get tiresome, they would warn of incoming enemies. The sequel ups the ante further with much more detailed Pawn chatter. During the fight with Talos, the Pawns will question how such a large being can move around.
They’ll even point out how it may be futile, but “tis better than watching on in despair.” While the flow of conversations may not be as fluid as completely structured conversations, they still do a great job of setting the tone. Here’s hoping the dialogue in other situations is up to par.
New Enemies (Dullahan)
The world is teeming with enemies, some creatures like the Rattlers, Wolves and Griffins, and others more monstrous like the Chimera and Ogre. While you still fight plenty of familiar foes, including the Drake, who appeared during the showcase to get smacked around by the Warrior, there are also some new challengers, like the Dullahan. This being will use its disembodied head to emit a stunning shout and then lift the player, dealing damage before following up with a melee attack that knocks them back. Overall, a terrifying but cool new threat.
Outside the story, players can also take on quests, often doled out by the regular NPCs roaming around. Speaking to different characters may also open up quests, like one that sees the player venturing to the Arbor to reunite Elven siblings, which quickly turns into a rescue mission. Pawns can also guide you if they know your quest’s objectives, but you can also roam around and explore at your own pace.
Several Vocations return, including the Fighter and Archer, and some new ones, like the Mystic Spearhand, have been added. Another new Vocation is the Trickster, a support type available only to the Arisen. They use a Censer to conjure illusions, causing enemies to fight among themselves, and can even buff Pawns to increase their power. As a Vocation that allows hanging back and manipulating events on the battlefield while supporting the party, it’s an interesting new addition.
$70 for Standard Edition
Pre-orders for Dragon’s Dogma 2 are available now, and surprisingly, the Standard Edition costs $70 (with the Deluxe Edition retailing for $80). By comparison, Street Fighter 6 stuck to the tried and true $60 price.
However, the developer commented last September about raising game prices and how it’s a healthy option for the business since development costs have increased exponentially since the old days. It was perhaps inevitable, but how this will affect Dragon’s Dogma 2 remains to be seen.