Dragon’s Dogma 2 Hands-on Preview

First announced last year, Dragon’s Dogma 2 has been one of the more highly anticipated titles from Capcom, barring, of course, a new Monster Hunter Announcement. After a strong year with titles like Resident Evil 4 and Street Fighter 6, the company is looking to continue the hot streak.

A playable build of Dragon’s Dogma 2 was available for us to try out during Tokyo Game Show 2023, and after spending only 15 minutes with it, we’re blown away by what we’ve seen so far. While it takes heavily from the original 2012 game, it’s looking to be another stunning release from Capcom, further cementing them as one of the top developers in the space today.

There were three options on what we could try out, but with our limited time, we were able to try out and play the level 15 warrior class mission extensively. The other choices were that of a beginner level archer class at level 5 and an advanced level of the thief class at level 15.

Once we started out Dragon’s Dogma 2, our hero is joined by a primarily NPC party (known as Pawns) consisting of an archer, mage, and cleric. Max, the mage, led our party towards the party’s mission, which is to protect supplies being attacked by goblins.

At first look, Dragon’s Dogma 2 really stands out with its amazing visuals. They were crisp, stunning, and brought the action RPG into life, and the jump in visual quality really shows what a game that is being developer exclusively for the current-gen consoles can be. While the visual style can easily be mistaken for a Soulslike title, the gameplay is something that has an identity of its own.

Dragon's Dogma 2 Party

Despite Dragon’s Dogma 2‘s amazing visual quality, I have to say that my experience with the audio side of things was the exact opposite, possibly pointing to a faulty connection with the demo unit that I used. That said, I can still tell that the effects and character voiceovers were engaging and well recorded, making the experience a much more exciting and intense affair.

Besides fighting provoked beasts and some wandering ruffians, Dragon’s Dogma 2 started to bare its fangs when we encountered the goblins and their troll bodyguard. While I’m saying that the difficulty is not as crushing as a Soulslike game, it’s no pushover either. We comfortably defeated the enemies with some more time to spare to complete the demo, and part of it is due to the great assistance provided by the pawns.

Each party member is imbued with their own skills to contribute towards the party victory. Archers will provide long ranged support, the cleric will heal wounds, the mage can imbue elemental enchantments and cast spells, and finally, my warrior character serves as a tank that can draw enemies in. The game is designed so the party members can rely on each other when facing off against these beasts, so there’s a strategic layer involved that prevents it from being a simple hack and slash game.

Dragon's Dogma Boss Fight

The warrior can block with their shield, has a basic attack and has a lunge strike (empale). He can strafe and dodge attacks, and can also carry/throw items. There’s one thing Capcom almost always gets right – controls. Dragon’s Dogma 2 has intuitive and tight controls that is paired with intense gameplay that culminated in a fight against a giant troll and some goblins.

The rest of our time with the Dragon’s Dogma 2 demo was used to explore the area. I ran around collecting materials like gold and monster drops to add to our inventory. Interacting with NPCs still could use some work as they’re limited to basic dialogue, but the Pawns can even lead you to quests and lead the journey towards a point of interest which is quite refreshing.

Finding waystones in your travels will allow you to modify your party just in case a party member falls in battle. I found this out the funny way when I figured out that you can lift an NPC or party member and use them as a projectile against enemies. Or just for the hell of it. It’s a quirky feature (or is it?) which garnered a lot of strange and baffled looks from the Capcom staff as I was playing through the game. I can definitely see myself throwing NPCs at everything I come across whether or not some grave consequences will occur on the final build of the game.

Dragon's Dogma 2 fighter

Overall, Dragon’s Dogma 2 is shaping up to be another fantastic outing from Capcom, and a title that fans of the series have been longing for since the first game was released back in 2012. In only 15 minutes, that game left me in awe of what I played, and I can’t wait to play more of it in the coming weeks and months leading up to its launch.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is coming soon on the PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC.

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