Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen Game Poster Image
Violent fantasy adventure remix trades story for action.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

No positive messages; you kill countless creatures and humans. Even though you’re tasked with finding and killing an evil dragon, your actions don’t make you any less evil. You can also kill innocent civilians, but you're penalized with lower "charisma" levels.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You play a tough fighter on a quest to kill an evil dragon ravaging lands, but constant combat and fighting reduces any positive impact your character has.

Ease of Play

The game has simple controls and is easy to learn, but the challenge is in getting your "pawns," or AI-designed assistant warriors, to do what you need them to do in the middle of battle to be helpful.


Gameplay is extremely violent, bloody, and gory. You can slice and dice enemies with weapons, which causes lots of bloodshed. Heads can be cut off of opponents. A dragon pokes out (and eats) someone's heart using its fingernail. Fallen enemies scream out in pain before they perish. In one scene, a man strangles a woman.


The game features partial nudity, including bare-chested harpies in a few scenes.


Some sexually suggestive dialogue with references, such as "I would never violate His Grace's privacy while he violates milady's privates" and " … perhaps you seek … a turn in the sheets with His Grace's own wife."


Includes previously released purchasable downloadable content and packs that expand gameplay.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is a role-playing game that's available for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. The game casts players as a warrior that tries to defeat a dragon that's terrorizing the land. The game is notable for its graphic combat, blood, and gore. Both in-game and cinematic scenes can be very violent, including dismemberment, impalement, and decapitation. Players use all kinds of weapons and magic spells to kill enemies, some of whom are human; it's possible to kill unarmed civilians, but there are repercussions for doing so. Some scenes also show breasts and have sexually suggestive dialogue in some of the sequences.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAdjudicus April 29, 2018

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... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's it about?

DRAGON’S DOGMA: DARK ARISEN is an action-heavy fantasy role-playing game (RPG) set in a huge and expansive open world. The single-player adventure has you exploring the land to find and destroy an ancient evil dragon that has awakened to threaten the people. Along the way, you'll meet friends and foes, overcome obstacles, level up your character, and use might and magic to defeat fantastical enemies. Like the original game, Dark Arisen uses a "pawn" system, where you're adventuring with a party of three AI (artificial intelligence) characters who fight independently of you, and they can be created by other players and downloaded to your game.

Is it any good?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in the media. Is the impact of the violence in Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen affected by the graphic visuals of dismemberment, gore, and other violence? Would the game be as intense if it didn't have the gory content included? Does this content add to the game experience? Does it feel appropriate to the plot and story?

  • Are remakes a way to expand the experience for players who love a game or may have missed it the first time, or is it intended to sell more copies of a title?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love role-playing games

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