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2012’s release of Dragon’s Dogma was an absolute surprise: action-packed combat, a complex and especially fun class system and unique design decisions elevated this game from the contemporary market standard.
If you want to inform yourself extensively about the main game, read our review of it. Here we focus ourselves on the added content in Dark Arisen and the general performance on next-gen consoles.
Dark Arisen was released in 2013 as an add-on and brought new quality of life improvements aswell as a huge new dungeon to the table. The most useful addition was arguably the Eternal Ferrystone which allowed the player to quick-travel back to the capital or the starting area, as many times as needed. Apart from that there were four additional Port Crystals hidden in the game which used as means to quick-travel. Both of these mechanics helped shorten the long ways even though your journeys by foot still were pretty long.
Dark Arisen also introduced an Hard Mode in which monster deal double the damage but you can also gain more gold.
The main attraction certainly was Bitterblack Isle. This dungeon offered the toughest challenges in the game and awaited with plenty of new bosses, monsters and other dangers to be dealt with and was therefore aimed at higher skilled characters.
If you wanted to face death in its purest form, you get what ask for but be prepared to experience some losses on the way.
From a technical point of view we honestly expected more. The game wasn’t pretty back when it was originally released, so we cannot understand why it doesn’t run in 60 frames per second. Nonetheless texture quality slightly improved but certainly isn’t state-of-the-art. Overall the remaster could’ve used more fine-tuning.
Even after all these years the lack of the visuals isn’t that crucial considering the fantastic animations. Wounded monsters begin to limp and griffins flail wildly before rising majestically into the air. The dynamics of every fight shift dramatically and make us forget the blurry textures.
The sudden pop-in of enemies is annoyingly noticible and disturbs the atmosphere severly.
[In a short while you’ll find here a video comparison of the Xbox One and PS3 versions of the game.]
Conclusion: Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is a special title which goes well beyond conventions and goes its own way, all to the frustration of the player in certain parts of the game. Nevertheless even after completing the game severtal time, the gripping monster hunts keep us glued to the screen and are especially fun because of the dynamic combat. If you’re willing to go along with this unconventional deep adventure, you should do so without hesitation.