A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is a role-playing game for adult players, primarily because of the 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.
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What's it about?
Previously available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and now available on Steam for computer users, 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 venture out to find and destroy an ancient evil dragon that has awakened. Along the way, you'll meet friends and foes, overcome obstacles, level up your character, and use might and magic to defeat fantastical enemies. As with the original game, Dark Arisen employs 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. Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen on PC includes the original game, along with additional (pay-to-download) content, up to 4K graphics (four times the resolution of 1080p HD on supported monitors), new frame-rate options, multiple control options (including support for Xbox 360 or Xbox One controllers), and more.
Is it any good?
Even more enjoyable than the nearly four-year-old original game, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is a gratifying mix of fantasy RPG and hack-and-slash action. Aside from magical attacks, the stylized fighting is reminiscent of other third-person Capcom games. Plus the pawn party system is unique (including the option to download a friend's AI fighters). This version's packs were additional graphics and control options, extra content not found in the original (new location, weapons, armor, and items), and 59 Steam Achievements to strive for.
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. But the open-ended world, intense action, clever pawn system, extra content, and improved graphics all make this value-priced PC adventure a good pick for RPG fans.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in the media. Does this title need to feature graphic scenes of dismemberment, gore, and other violent imagery? Does this content add to the game experience? Does it feel appropriate to the plot and story?
Talk about remakes. 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?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Capcom
- Release date: January 21, 2016
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.