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Dragon's Dogma

We Take On The Chimera

Capcom's Dragon's Dogma is an open-world, action-based RPG—a pretty big departure for the company. Earlier, I had a chance to take on a griffin in a mid-boss sized encounter. Today on the floor at E3, I checked out a level that ended with a different mythological beast. And even though this level was the game's prologue, the battle was no less intense.

The beginning stretch of the demo got me reacquainted to the basics, such as equipping and lighting a torch to illuminate a path through a dark series of caverns. The bodies of soldiers littered the ground, and my companion warned me of the dangers ahead. Like me, he was a melee-based fighter, and we both tore through the first few waves of goblins without much trouble. A bit further down the path, I encountered a stone that summoned some more AI companions (or "pawns" in the game's lingo) to accompany us on our journey.

Their timing couldn't have been any better.

Shortly after joining us, the archer and mage proved their worth against a flock of harpies. Hovering overhead, they were tough for my fighter to attack. The archer did a good job of knocking them down, and once the mage imbued my sword with fire, I hacked and burned them with ease. The d-pad was a handy way to issue orders such as "help" and "attack," but the pawns did a decent job of holding their own in the field. Occasionally, one would grab and hold an enemy, allowing a partner to go in for a quick kill. The slow motion effect was interesting, but it also grabbed the camera's focus. I lost track of the action several times, and resorted to mashing on light attack to at least provide some defense while I whirled the camera back to a better position. Maybe I need to get used to it, maybe it's something that's still being tuned, or maybe it's a genuine cause for concern. Who knows.

After slaughtering the harpies, we finally came face to face with the prologue's main baddie: a chimera. If you're a little rusty on your mythology, the chimera is a beast with the head of a lion, a goat's head in the middle of its spine, and a serpent for a tail. It's a weird-looking mishmash of parts, but its definitely dangerous.

I ran in close, and climbed up the creatures front ruff. From there, I hacked at the tail, which was the most immediate threat. It struck out at my party, inflicting status ailments on anyone who was unfortunate enough to get in range. The mage went from providing support to going into full-on nuke mode. That proved to be the best strategy, and after a few minutes of darting in, climbing up, and slashing away, it fell down for the last time.

The demo was relatively brief, but it was definitely exciting. I'm curious to see how the other classes play, particularly the mage. If it's anything as flexible and deadly as my pawn companion, I'm in for a treat.

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