Dragon’s Dogma was one of those pleasant surprises that come along every so often, not only was it one of my favorite games of 2012, it has since become one of my favorite games, period. And with Dark Arisen finally released, it’s only gotten better.

The first game was a lot of things; it was an Elder Scrolls-esque open-world RPG that boasted Devil May Cry-esque combat with a bit of Shadow of the Colossus-esque monster scaling, and finally a bit of a Monster Hunter-esque crafting system. And with the release of Dark Arisen, you can throw a Dark Souls-esque dungeon crawl into the equation. The new island is decrepit, intimidating, and extremely fun to explore. Getting through the whole thing probably won’t take terribly long, if you’re good, but with all the new enemies to fight, items to collect, and upgrades to make, there’s enough here to keep you busy for quite a while.

My only major gripe with the new content is its difficulty; I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, but what you’re expected to deal with in any given situation is borderline evil. As is usually the case, it all comes down to preparation and strategy, and don’t think there’s any shame in retreat either. But this is a petty gripe at best, there was never a challenge I couldn’t overcome, and the hardships endured made victory all the sweeter.

Buying this expansion is a definite judgment call if you already have the original game, but if you love Dragon’s Dogma as much as I do then its forty bucks well spent. And if you haven’t had the chance to play it, then there’s never been a better time or opportunity to experience one of the best RPGs in recent years.