Parents' Guide to

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen

By Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Violent fantasy adventure remix trades story for action.

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 13+

Progress Your Faith

Before a proper review, let me say this game is a reasonable hack-n-slash for 13+. Mostly a hum-drum RPG with the classic, single-player mechanics and elements of a third-person fighter. If you're looking for outstanding gameplay or graphics, this is not your stop. If you're looking for thought-provoking story and might want to let your kids start questioning, wrestling with faith in a more controlled way... Dragon's Dogma, in both iterations, is very much a Japanese game at heart. The story and the reason for the character's journey are heavily centered around purpose. Your heart is stolen by the titular Dragon. You are removed from humanity and fated never to die, save by battle. Now apart, the purpose for which the character sets out is to recover their heart, their humanity, and understand why the Dragon chose them. (Spoilers Ahead) What the story resolves into is a statement about the difference between those that simply flow along and those who seek to understand their reason for being, and perhaps even exert influence (their will) over that existence. Upon reaching the Dragon, the character is offered an admittedly hamfisted choice: betray your most beloved for fame, fortune, and renown, or challenge the Dragon to reclaim your heart and truly break your shackles. If one chooses to fight the Dragon, and defeats him, they are rewarded with their heart and a little hint. Seek the truth at the world's utmost depths. The full, true journey sees the character standing before a sit-in for God, asked if they will take on the burden of being a battery for Creation. Not God Himself, but an energy source to keep his work alive. Why this has been set in place is never explained. However, the underlying message is clear: Do not simply sit and flow along and accept, but question and challenge and understand. Faith is not a matter of being spoon-fed; this is why God gave us free will. We are to question, to wrestle, and to seek any other perspective we can. That is the message of this game, in its own strange, keenly Japanese delivery. This site, as usual, has not done justice in their short-sighted review. If you're going to review something, perhaps understand it first?
age 16+

Excellent action rpg

Brutal swordplay and moderate gore (dismemberment is mostly to creatures/animals). Otherwise no mature content. Exceptional RPG build mechanics, robust combat and rewarding exploration. What it lacks in Skyrim's storytelling and accessibility it easily makes up for in gameplay depth and fun.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Even more enjoyable than the original game, this expanded adventure is a gratifying mix of fantasy RPG (role-playing game) and hack-and-slash action. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is a large open-world environment that tasks players with eliminating an evil dragon threatening the realm. The frequent and stylized fighting is reminiscent of other third-person Capcom games, down to offering a limited number of character types that players can choose to specialize in. The addition of magical attacks does add a bit of distinction to these game elements. But what manages to stand out is the inclusion of the unique pawn party system (including the option to download a friend's AI fighters). These computer controlled fighters give you additional help when you're in the midst of battle, making it feel like you're adventuring with a party of friends.

It's great to see the additional content as well, such as the improved graphics and control options and extra downloadable content that wasn't found in the original (such as a new location, weapons, armor, and items). The added visual flair really shines, but some of the issues with the original game remain -- namely, an uninteresting story, clichéd characters, and lame dialogue, especially when compared to timeless single-player RPGs such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Fallout 4, and the Mass Effect franchise. The unfair difficulty level remains in this reboot, which might frustrate players who don't understand why they're constantly dying in combat sequences you believe your character should be more than prepared for. There are also some technical issues not found in the original, including frame-rate drops, clipping issues, and the odd crash. Finally, pawns, while useful, can sometimes be very dumb until they've learned how to be useful to your play style. But the open-ended world, intense action, pawn party system, extra content, and improved graphics all make this adventure a good pick for RPG fans.

Game Details

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