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Dragon's Dogma is Capcom's latest IP to hit stores and one of their first franchises to take a step forward in the open world rpg. While the game excelled in some aspects such as combat, classes, and the pawn system, many other features in the game are left to be desired like a memorable story and characters. It's been stated before that Capcom is interested in having a sequel to Dragon's Dogma. While I loved the first game and got hooked into the game as soon as I got it, I see all the flaws the it had and I want to share what Capcom needs to fix if they make a Dragon's Dogma 2.
A better fleshed out narrative
Dragon's Dogma tells the story of the Arisen, a human being which is picked by the all powerful dragon who steals your heart. The story gets a bit deeper than that and gets into the dragon's motives and the overall theme of eternity. It's not really the story that's the main problem, it's how the story is told. The player is silent so the story is told through the lackluster NPCs of the game (I'll get into NPCs later) A lot of the story actually doesn't make sense until near the end of the game and even then you can get even more confused due to the lack of any explanation in the story. Dragon's Dogma 2 can focus on whatever the devs want, whether they want to go more into the Arisen, the dragon or other beings(that I won't name here for the sake of spoilers) The only thing I ask is that the story is explained thoroughly and not made into a garbled mess like the first one can come out as.
More memorable NPC and characters
Another thing that I feel that Dragon's Dogma really dropped the ball was characters. You'll get a select few that can be memorable and likable, but the rest is more of just life-less zombies with no purpose or story to them. As an open world rpg, it's disappointing to have such a lack of memorable characters. Dragon's Dogma 2 needs to have more NPCs that feel more than a bunch of boring pixels and character models walking and talking to you. Let's get more characters that has a great back story and personality and characters that can make a lasting impression on you.
A larger world to explore
Unlike other rpgs where exploration and freedom was encouraged, Dragon's Dogma didn't have much for you to explore. The most interesting places are blocked off to you until after you beat the game, so your first playthrough may not even look like the map above and even then you may not want to do new game+. The point I'm trying to make is that the world is just small. Compared to other games there's not that much to explore. In the sequel, a bigger world say twice, or even three times as big would be good.
A faster way to travel
One thing that people tend to have a problem with in Dragon's Dogma is that there's no way to get around faster. There's no fast travel unless you buy (expensive) items that lets you travel back to Gran Soren. One of the main themes of Dragon's Dogma is being prepared and going on long journeys. Fast travel would ruin that overall theme, but adding a faster way to get around (i.e. faster than spiriting) would be a great necessary addition to Dragon's Dogma 2. Adding horses would be an easy fix to this as long as they're not as worthless as in other games (looking at you Skyrim). Adding mounted combat would be even better.
More pre-planned quests
Dragon's Dogma doesn't have that many quests. Excluding the main story and notice board quests, there may be around 20 quests that you can take, if that. And most of them aren't that great. The greatest quests is part of the main quests, any of the optional stuff is usually fetch quests or go "kill x amount of y". There are a few quests that has an interesting story behind them, but the majority are uninspiring and boring. Dragon's Dogma 2 should have more quests that have more action and reason behind it. The notice board quests and the main quests can stay and continue being fun (mainly the latter), but side quests could really use being worked on.
One thing Dragon's Dogma does amazingly well is the vocations. Each class is great and works completly different than the other. They all have a certain role in battle that helps contribute to the team. Put this and add it with the pawn system and you have multiple ways to create a team. The 9 vocations are great but wouldn't it be better to have more? How about adding a new vocation that can be combined with other classes? The amount of possibilities that Capcom could do here is infinite and one I hope they consider in a sequel.
The Pawn system is the most interesting and most innovative concept of Dragon's Dogma. The Pawn system is the one thing that I would say doesn't need many changes. Being able to rate Pawns in more detail would be welcome, but other than that, Dragon's Dogma 2 doesn't need to improve much of this system, but leave as it is.
New game+ and difficulty options
It's a great option to include New Game+ into Dragon's Dogma, but the lack of an harder difficulty mode is disappointing, and to me, a turn off to doing a new game. Once you start getting stronger, enemy encounters become easy and boring. There is a point where this changes in the game, but once you beat the game, you have the go the whole game in new game+ just to get back to the more difficult monsters. Having an easy mode is good inclusion, but having a harder mode or a difficulty increase when you start a new game+ similar to Dark Souls would be great.
Besides what listed here there are other things that people want that could be added such as online co-op. Although the idea of having real players being your partners instead of pawns is interesting, it would the whole single player experience. If Capcom wants to add some sort of online feature besides the pawn system, I'd prefer it to be in a different mode and story mode.
Dragon's Dogma 2 has a lot to improve on it's predecessor. However, if Capcom improves on the main things the first one lacked It's sequel could be amazing. I'm incredibly optimistic about Dragon's Dogma 2 and I'm anxious to see the future of this franchise. I would love to see this franchise grow into a great rpg to be reckoned with and comparable to big names like Elder Scrolls and Fallout. Dragon's Dogma may have not been the best game, but it's one of my favorite games of the year and I hope Capcom continue to grow and improve on this franchise.
Hey MH, this blog is awesome, I haven't had much time to read or write on game informer in a while because of school, but I can't agree more with everything you have just said!
They neeeeeed multiplayer, and a faster way to get into the mix with monsters.
I'm gonna get back into dragosn dogma when the expansion comes out as long it isnt too late into 2013. Because well, I'm sure you know MH3U is coming out!