Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen - A great RPG, and still satisfying after a year

Dragons-Dogma-Dark-Arisen-SS01 You know one of days when you walk up to Datablitz(or your usual gaming store) and just look for a specific genre you were craving to play? Well, at the time, I was looking for an RPG that requires hours upon hours to finish, with grinding required to get the best gear and to take on the hardest content. Not only did Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen provides just that, I was reminded on how this game is, even after a year since the original version was released.

I was looking for a game on my Xbox 360, and after 20 minutes of staring at the stacks of games all lined up neatly, only two caught my eye - Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen, and Dark Souls: The Prepare to Die Edition. Oddly enough, they were two games that I have finished. But with my sudden crave, they were the perfect games since they fit what I was looking for, but which one to get. The new Dragon's Dogma was P1,200, while Dark Souls was P1,800. Price wasn't an issue at the time so it was tough to pick. In the end, I decided to let the coin pick. I do this a lot, toss a coin, call a side, and go whatever comes out. I called tails, and it was Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen. That was two weeks ago, and boy am I thrilled that the coin landed on tails.

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is a re-release of one of Capcom's latest franchise released last year for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. I played the game the first time on my PlayStation 3 and enjoyed the Monster Hunter nostalgia it gave. A game that provides that satisfaction of fighting enormous monster in an epic scale. Not stabbing dragons on their feet, I mean literally given the option to climb them and hit them were it hurts. You combine that, with the large-scale world for you to explore, and a surprisingly deep character progression,  and you got yourself a game that deserves to be in any hardcore RPG fan's collection.

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Now, Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is an expansion for the original game that includes new monsters to slay, new gear to loot, and a new island to explore. Now you'd think this would come in a form of a DLC(Downloadable Content), but no, this game is made by Capcom, and what that means is that they like to provide you with new content in the most unusual way. The new content has been repackaged along with the original game and re-released at a lower price, with no way of earning it separately online or on retail. So for previous Dragon's Dogma owners, you kinda have to buy it again. For players who have yet to experience the game for the first time, you're all good, the price is actually a steal. In my case, I didn't mind so much since it has already been a year since I played it, so it felt refreshing. Reminding me how great this game was.

What's funny though is that I'm enjoying this game even more now the second time around. I really can't pinpoint what's making the game better - Is it the new Hard Mode(Which I'm currently on)?, the new monsters and gear? Or the fact that the Japanese Rock song that used to play on the menu screen is finally gone? I'm not too sure. It could be a collection of everything, but the Dark Arisen version of the game definitely provides a better experience

It really hit the spot on what I was looking for as well. Story is still unforgettable, but everything else was perfect. I got an RPG with a big world to explore, and a character progression that would require a lot of thought and planning, as well as grinding in order to conquer the hardest content there is. The combat can be intense and strategic. With you battling against creatures like giant Cyclops, Chimeras, Gryphons, Dragons, and many more iconic high fantasy monsters that are big in size.

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The biggest selling point for me was how each monster you encounter has an effective way of taking it down. You can do it the old fashion way, which is attack and attack and chip away its life until it dies, or you can bring it down in a more cooler fashion, which requires a small amount of effort in your part, and if done right, it will be the fastest way as well. For example - A cyclops. It's weak point is its eye, and you mostly find these creatures with a helmet protecting its eye. What you can do is climb on its back, slash it behind the neck and force him to try and grab you off of it, move out of the way at the right time and you just might get him to remove his helmet, and now you can re-climb the beast, jump on its head, and start stabbing its eye. This process was satisfying and epic. This game is also about preparation. Bringing the right group, items and tools for the right encounter. Fight a Gryphon without any means of setting it on fire? Good luck keeping it on the ground.

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Thanks to me remembering most of the important parts of in the game, I have already finished it. It took me 44 Hours, with not every quest finished and not completing the new content included in Dark Arisen. Now at level 78, I'm now on my second playthrough, and is ready to test that new content called Bitterblack Isle. From what I understand, Dark Arisen content is Capcom's way of giving high level players a challenge. The Ur- Dragon was the only big challenge at the end of the game(still is), so I guess they wanted to add more end-game content. You can access the new island at any time in your playthrough, I tried it when I was level 44, and...well let's just say its not recommended. It is said that this content is just as challenging as Dark Souls or Demon Souls, which is hard to believe. I like a good challenge though, and hopefully it provides just that. Will I need to grind some more levels? Or is my current gear enough to kill whatever comes in front of me? Either way, I'm still having a blast even after finishing the main content. The grinding isn't tedious yet at this level and with the max level being 200, seems like I have a long way to go.

Note: This isn't a full review since I have yet to experience the new content included in this re-package.