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 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.
- Parents say
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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?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Capcom
- Release date: April 23, 2019
- 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
- Last updated: October 28, 2019
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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.