A Preview of Dragon’s Dogma II

edited March 20 in Gaming

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is an action-packed, narrative-driven RPG set to release on March 22, 2024, on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and Steam platforms. The sequel to Dragon’s Dogma, this upcoming title promises a blend of adventure and action with enhanced graphics, thanks to Capcom’s RE Engine, which also powered titles like the Resident Evil games from RE: 7 onward as well as Street Fighter 6 and more.

Dragon’s Dogma 2’s reveal came during a special 10th-anniversary video for the first game hosted by game director Itsuno, and fans have been getting glimpses of the game’s capabilities through several gameplay trailer drops over the past year. Read on to find out how this latest title is likely to play out.

The Dragon’s Dogma series

Dragon’s Dogma was originally released by Capcom in the summer of 2012, marking one of the company’s biggest risks of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 era. The game was a hugely expensive, ambitious project attempting to blend Japanese and Western RPG sensibilities into a coherent whole that appealed to customers on both sides of the world. It borrows elements from any number of popular games; the open-world exploration is clearly inspired by Western RPGs such as the Elder Scrolls series, combat is hack-and-slash heavy with bits of a very simplified Devil May Cry–style moveset, climbing larger enemies is reminiscent of a small-scale Shadow of the Colossus, and the oppressive atmosphere in dungeons (and the game’s title) feels like an attempt at capturing the allure of Demon’s/Dark Souls. Since its initial release, Dragon's Dogma has been expanded upon with various DLC and other enhancements and is available on current gen hardware under the title Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen.

Three years after the game’s launch, a massively multiplayer online role-playing version of the game titled Dragon's Dogma Online was released exclusively in Japan, and in 2020, an original net animation adaptation was globally released on Netflix.

The game’s story is heavily fantasy based, casting you into the role of the Arisen, a hero who is destined to reclaim his heart from a dragon who has ripped it out of his very chest. Set in Gransys, a high fantasy world inspired by Sicily, the Arisen embarks on a quest to reclaim his heart and defeat the dragon, a being said to herald the world’s end, while uncovering a deeper conspiracy along the way.

The gameplay in Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen involves your typical action role-playing hack and slash mechanics but also incorporates some interesting and unique features, such as vocations and pawns.

Vocations can be thought of as classes, something you would encounter in any RPG game. Players start the game with access to three starting vocations, namely Fighter, Mage, and Strider, and later unlock advanced and hybrid vocations after reaching certain levels. This enables players to learn different play styles and skills and get to grips with the game.

Pawns are AI-controlled characters who provide combat support and advice and whose one purpose is to follow and aid the Arisen. Pawns are almost as customizable as the player character and are an inseparable part of the Arisen’s journey. Players build a main pawn early on who will provide accompaniment to the player through the remainder of the game, and players can later hire up to two additional pawns who are either premade or crafted by other players. There’s no direct multiplayer component, but being able to journey with characters made by your friends is a big part of the game’s appeal.

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is a game that is well designed and full of intricate details within the world it relays. Nowadays, it would hardly be considered as having stood the test of time as far as visuals are concerned, but the sheer amount of unlocks and abilities it offers prevent the player’s journey from feeling stale, and that is grouped with a solid combat system that rests upon a great deal of enemy and boss variants. The game wasn’t universally well received, with critics across the board panning it for its excessively challenging combat and complicated gameplay mechanics, but over time, many of the game’s supposed failings turned out to be appealing and endearing to a large fanbase, and it has since gone on to achieve a Metacritic user score of 8.0.

Dragon’s Dogma II

Storyline and essential characters

In Dragon’s Dogma 2, you are again the Arisen, a “chosen one” with the power to summon pawns—mysterious otherworldly allies. As the Arisen, you are fated to slay a dragon and take the throne of an entire kingdom. Though this premise brings nothing new to the genre, there is a certain captivating Arthurian charm at work here.

Cursed with amnesia about their origins and identity, the Arisen, who, just as in the original game, has just had their heart plucked out by a dragon, is encouraged to travel to the capital of Vernsworth to meet with Captain Brant and let him know a new Arisen has been created. It shortly becomes clear that the great power of an Arisen is a major threat for the realm’s existing ruler, Queen Regent Disa, and this sets up the game’s main conflict.

The Arisen is accompanied initially by a main pawn and later by two additional pawns that can be hired as the game progresses. 

Graphics and design 

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is captivating in its unabashed commitment to a traditional, medieval fantasy aesthetic, and this in a gameworld four times the size of its predecessor. The menus and map screen are rendered atop stylized parchment, looking far more like an illuminated manuscript than a game menu. Enemies, also, have a sense of the mythological about them. From pesky flying harpies to towering cycloptic giants, the enemies in Dragon’s Dogma 2 look and feel like they’ve leapt from the pages of a storybook. The larger enemies especially exist on a scope that does justice to these mythic origins. One of the first set-piece bosses, a griffin, is immense—easily the size of a modern-day school bus.

The game’s environments are designed holistically and appear far more in-depth than a drab collection of shops and amenities for the player. Much like the robust towns of Final Fantasy 16, Dragon’s Dogma 2’s settlements are fleshed-out affairs, teeming with the hustle and bustle of activity and life. Rather than just being hubs where players resupply, settlements feel like realized, believable towns where people actually live.

Beyond those towns, the wilderness brings with it an impressive attention to detail. Although not open-world in the strict sense, the developers have stated that they were inspired by Grand Theft Auto 5 to create the “feeling of a living world.” As you explore the game, environments open up to you, revealing new encounters and hidden treasures, both visual and literal.

The world has a full day/night cycle, and the monsters you can run into when it’s dark outside are different from the ones you’ll meet during the day. Some of the creatures you may encounter at night include the undead and roaming specters; these creatures heighten the danger you feel, especially when combined with the shrouding darkness that your lanterns can only counter so much. If you’d rather not venture forth in the night, you can rest at an inn or set up camp in the wilderness. You can even cook realistic and delicious-looking food at your camp’s campfire—a small touch by Capcom, but a very satisfying one after a long day of adventuring.

Gameplay mechanics 

Combat animations and sound do a very good job of making the gameplay feel visceral and dynamic. When you block a blow, you feel the momentum and impact. The overall play style feels fluid and collaborative; pawns make smart moves on their own in sometimes surprising ways, doing things like granting fire powers to the group's weapons or climbing atop a monster of their own accord. 


One of the biggest areas that has been expanded upon in Dragon’s Dogma 2 is the pawn system. Pawn AI has been vastly improved from the original game, and pawns are now even more central to the storyline and gameplay experience than they were before. 

As with Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, you start the game with one main pawn and can hire two more pawns from the Rift. Each pawn has their own personality and vocation and will upgrade their skills and abilities on the basis of decisions you make in your journey.

  • Pawns will not follow you around mindlessly. They will explore, look for items with you, and even collect ingredients or items for you. They also talk among themselves, sharing valuable information.
  • Pawns explain useful things about the environment like key collectibles and enemy vulnerabilities.
  • You can give commands to pawns inside and outside of battle or leave them to proactively contribute to the team, with orders available to do things like help or lead the group to a new quest. 
  • If a pawn possesses relevant information about a certain quest, they will ask if they should guide or assist you in completing the quest objectives. This can range from pointing you in the right direction to taking you to the exact spot.
  • Recruited pawns retain their knowledge of other realms gained from their experience and will share their knowledge at appropriate times.
  • Items that belong to pawns are also transferred when you hire a pawn from another player.


As with its predecessor, Dragon’s Dogma 2 places a strong emphasis on character customization in the form of vocations. Here is where the combat system really shows its depth. Not only does each vocation play distinctively, with available weapons and abilities being dependent on vocation, but vocations synergize together in combat, helping you and your NPC allies work together and complement each other. Vocations also dictate the way stats improve with each level up. As the Arisen, you can choose from all available vocations, whereas pawns have a more limited selection. You can also change your vocation at any time by talking to a tavern keeper.

Ten vocations for the sequel have been confirmed so far, including two new hybrid vocations: Trickster and Warfarer. Vocations are again divided into three categories:

  • Starting vocations: Fighter, Mage, Thief, and Archer. These basic vocations should feel very familiar to those who have experienced the previous game. With a mix of melee combat, range combat, and magic, there are plenty of powerful options here for both the player character and their pawns.
  • Advanced vocations: Warrior and Sorcerer. These will be unlocked through quests that will become available at various points in the game. By visiting a Vocation Guild, you will be able to pick up a quest to acquire the necessary weapon type for a particular vocation. A greatsword or hammer for Warrior, or an archistaff for the Sorcerer. In fact, you can accept both quests and return with each in order to unlock both vocations.
  • Hybrid vocations: Magick Archer, Mystic Spearhand, Trickster, and Warfarer. Available only to the Arisen, hybrid vocations are the most challenging to pursue. In the original game, hybrid vocations became available to players upon reaching Level 10; however, in the sequel, vocation maisters will teach you these vocations after you have completed a quest for them or trained with them.

Vocational Mastery

On your travels, you will encounter vocation maisters who have mastered their chosen vocation to the fullest. By deepening your relationship with a vocation maister and gaining their approval, you can gain access to their vocation. Alternatively, they may grant you special tomes that teach skills of the highest order: the “maister’s teachings.” The Fighter maister, Lennart, has long served the fortress village of Melve. With his exceptional swordsmanship and leadership skills, he has held the fort together to protect the land from the Dragon. Meanwhile, the Mystic Spearhand maister Sigurd hunts dragons for his own personal reasons. He is a quiet man with an inquisitive mind, and he constantly trains to improve his fighting skills and unique style. Formerly the court Oracle of Vermund, the Trickster maister Luz is currently in hiding out of fear for her life over speaking out against the false Arisen taking the throne.

Dragonsplague (from the official website) 

Dragonsplague is a contagious disease–like condition that infects pawns as they travel between worlds. Rather than being weakened, pawns with the disease are said to display remarkable performance and to become conspicuously bold in their speech and behavior. According to folklore, when the symptoms of dragonsplague reach a terminal stage, it will result in devastating calamity, but the veracity of those claims is unclear.

Dragon’s Dogma II release date

Dragon’s Dogma 2 will release on March 22, 2024, on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam. If you want to secure the game before it launches, you can preorder a physical copy for PlayStation 5 or one for Xbox Series X|S on Amazon.

While you wait for the game’s official launch, why not browse through the other excellent games available on Xbox? Get access to the most thrilling action-adventure games out there right now with an Xbox Game Pass. Furthermore, with the purchase of a Windows 11 PC from Acer, you can enjoy one month free of Xbox Game Pass.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 system requirements 

Given that nearly 12 years of technological advancements separate Dragon’s Dogma 2 from its predecessor, the hardware needed to play this sequel is understandably much higher. Even so, this sequel doesn’t appear poised to test the mettle of your gaming PC. The game calls for processors with performance equal to or greater than the Intel Core i5 10600 or AMD Ryzen 5 3600. These chips are four to five years old already, so if you’ve not yet upgraded your system, doing so now may prove wise. Just make sure you have the 16 GB of RAM the game requires as a minimum (32 GB recommended for 4K, 30 fps playback). Two recent additions to Acer's powerful Predator gaming laptop lineup can easily provide a smooth playback experience in Dragon's Dogma 2 at high quality settings: the Acer Predator Triton Neo 16 and the Predator Helios Neo 16, both excellent machines for professionals and gamers alike. 

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Ashley is a technology writer who is interested in computers and software development. He is also a fintech researcher and is fascinated with emerging trends in DeFi, blockchain, and bitcoin. He has been writing, editing, and creating content for the ESL industry in Asia for eight years, with a special focus on interactive, digital learning.


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