I bought this game with great expectations and although it didn't quite live up to some of them, I'm still really glad I bought it. The game has an enjoyable pace, beautiful cutscenes and varied gameplay right from the start.
Gameplay - 8/10
The gameplay is a bit hit and miss. The combat system is amazing, taking notes from Shadow of Colossus with it's BIG bosses that you can climb and latch onto while not comprimising on the smaller enemies who are still a lot of fun to fight, each with their own fighting style, strengths, weaknesses and even personalities. The variety of monsters and enemies is decent and 40+ hours in, I'm still not sick of grabing on while a griffin takes flight and trying to kill it before I fall off.
But more than anything these things just accentuate the massive flaws in the look of the game. The land you inhabit is huge and you spend a great deal of time walking through it and there isn't enough variance, everything is just grass, trees and big cliffs that stop you from progressing certain ways, with the occasional fort thrown in that all look the same anyway. The NPCs look horribly undetailed and the movement of their mouths has no apparent correlation with the words they say. In addition to that, the voice acting is pretty flat and the old English speech is overdone and takes away from the characters. This all adds massively to the shallowness of both the NPCs themselves and the storyline as a whole. This look of the game is absolutely great for combat and feels unfinished everywhere else.
This review may sound a bit nitpicky and negative, but this is only because they were SO close to something amazing with this game. Had they made a few tweaks to the gameplay, wrote an actual story and put the same attention to detail into the whole game as they did into just the combat aspect, this could have easily been among the RPG greats arguably even the greatest.
While this game has great combat and I enjoyed playing it a lot, it clearly isn't for everyone. You have to accept it's faults and forget about them to really enjoy Dragon's Dogma.
If you need story to enjoy a game and spend most of your time in RPGs exploring the social aspects, talking to people or gaining the trust of factions, I strongly recommend you don't buy this game.
But, if you're one of those people who skips the cutscenes and doesn't care about the story and just wants to roam around the land killing things and occasionally coming back to the city to hand in quests for nothing other than the rewards, this games is perfect for you.
Chances are you're like me, somewhere in the middle, and you like bits of both styles of play. If this is the case, you will develop a love-hate relationship with this game. Every new, brilliant aspect of the combat will increase your hatred for the rest of the game.
It's a tough call but I recommend that fans of the genre at least give it a go if only for the big monster fights. You may love the game or hate it, but I can guarantee you will have fun taking down a 20 foot cyclops with nothing but your sword.
This game deserves a 7.5/10