In Dragon’s Dogma II, the creatures are a symbol of destruction.

In Dragon’s Dogma II, the creatures are a symbol of destruction. (Capcom/TNS)

No goblins were spared. My level 15 Beastren fighter saw no reason for them to live. I wandered through the world of Dragon’s Dogma II and chopped them down along with my party of Max, a mage; George, an archer; and Sara, a thief. If we saw a goblin, we attacked it.

As a fighter, I had the strength to lift a rock and throw it at them sending the creature flying. When the pitiful foe raised a shield to defend itself, I just grabbed the monster, dragged them to a ledge and tossed them into the brine. I dispatched goblins so easily that the Goblin Slayer would have approved.

In the hourlong demo I played at Capcom’s TGS By the Bay event, I received a good sense of the combat in the upcoming action role-playing game. It still retains elements of the original. Most notably, Pawns play an important role. In my case, one of them named Max had knowledge the land we were traipsing and guided us as far as she knew.

Letting the pawn lead

I just followed the Pawn with the hand raised icon. She took us through dense forests and hilly terrain. The environments are beautifully crafted and offered a feeling of realism. It’s filled with goblins, people fighting goblins and hobgoblins. If you help a passer-by out, they thank you and casually go their way.

I did run into two non-goblin entities. The first was a cyclops that towered above everyone else. It’s the type of monster where players will have to jump and climb on its legs, scale its body and hope their stamina lasts long enough so that they can get a few stabs in their weak spot: the head and the eye.

Fighting it was impressive and showed an almost Breath of the Wild-type vibe. During the confrontation, I didn’t fight alone. The Pawns helped out. Max was the most helpful of the bunch because the mage not only healed me but also cast a flame buff on my sword. Unfortunately, the cyclops fight caused such a ruckus that attracted a Griffon and the flying beast slaughtered poor Max. She was down for the count.

Attacks at hand

The fighter has several sets of skills. Two attacks are on the face button and Empale was the key to taking down the monster because it was piercing attack and used near the eye, it dealt heavy damage. I had another attack called Onslaught and three more courtesy of the L1 button, which opened up another layer of attacks on the face buttons save for the jump button.

The cyclops smashed me down once, but I revived and managed to climb back atop of it and sent it down. After that, I rushed over to Max and revived her. The Griffon had lost interest in my Pawn and flew away. That was the most harrowing encounter I had.

Eventually, we traveled as far as Max could take us but it was also growing dark. Night is a terrible time to go exploring in Dragon’s Dogma II. The enemies are more powerful and aggressive. Other dangerous creatures who only come out at night also roam the grounds.

Day and night cycles in Dragon’s Dogma II have different types of NPC characters who roam at different times of day. Finding some good campfire buddies is a must at night.

Day and night cycles in Dragon’s Dogma II have different types of NPC characters who roam at different times of day. Finding some good campfire buddies is a must at night. (Capcom/TNS)

Camping experience

I had to quickly find a camp space, and those are marked by fires around the world. I saw one across a bridge, but a Saurian was there. We quickly killed the lizard man and set up camp using a kit. This is when players can chat with their pawns and make idle talk. They can also cook dried meat. Capcom was showing off and basically made a mouth-watering steak as part of the visuals.

The world of Dragon’s Dogma II is complex and the day and night cycles also have its own NPCs who wander the world at different times of day. I assume knowing when these characters appear is important to finishing quests, but that was beside the point. My goal in the demo was to head to a mine and eliminate the goblin threat.

Getting to the mission destination

I followed the quest marker to the destination and I had to equip a lantern to see in the dark. Unfortunately, my Beastren didn’t have anything like night vision to see inside the subterranean dwellings. We cleared out the underground. I avoided traps where the goblins tried to roll heavy boulders atop my party. We found places to mine for ore.

The level design of the mine was intricate and multidimensional. Players had to venture over cliffs and underneath bridges all while battling goblins that infested the area. I found several treasure chests and items, but I was also weighed down so much by the spoils that my stamina meter fell just by walking.

I had to hand some gear to my pawns with a user interface that was surprisingly efficient and fast. Those explosive arrows I found went to my archer so he could use them. I gave other members weapons such as a heavy broadsword that my vocation couldn’t use at the moment.

Dragon’s Dogma II felt satisfying to play and a lot of that had to do with the artificial intelligence and the Pawns. These AI-controlled characters never got in my way and were always helpful. A Capcom representative said that players have one main pawn that sticks with them throughout the campaign, but they can hire others.

The Pawn system is fascinating because it takes into account the experiences that players have during their campaign. The gamer can then send those Pawns out for hire and those experiences they have become important to another player. Also, two players can hire the same Pawn. They aren’t a scarce resource. An experienced pawn may know how to finish a quest or they’ve fought enough foes to know their weakness and they’ll tell players what element an enemy is vulnerable to.

It’s a fascinating system that can create new emergent forms of play. Ones where players will be sharing stories about what their pawns did or didn’t do. Players also have to keep in mind that more powerful Pawns are also more expensive to hire. It’s another factor to consider when acquiring them to kill goblins and perhaps other creatures.

Dragon’s Dogma II has no release date, but it is scheduled to come out on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S and PC.


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