With no asterisk or parentheses after this sentence, Dragon's Dogma has to be my favorite game. While I do have games I absolutely love, Dragon's Dogma really seems to be my favorite for reasons I could but won't explain. The game is a JRPG, but takes more influences from western games setting it apart from the bubbly, anime style RPGs and even past Final Fantasy in terms of tone and look. I really would like everyone to play this game, and since it's now on Steam a lot more people can get at it... but I will be the first to admit some of it's mechanics and features are daunting at best to a beginner. So I'm going to list off a few tips that will help you enjoy the game, hopefully as much as I do.
-The beginning of the game focuses on a pseudo tutorial, teaching you the basics of combat as well as how enemies and allies (pawns) function. It doesn't cover all of the minute aspects but you'll get a pretty good idea of what to expect. I don't think its much of a stretch to say that 'certain enemies have certain weaknesses' as basically every game with combat is just this in a nutshell from RPGs even to shooters. Throughout the game, you'll be told rather than have a list of what an enemy is weak to. Told in the sense that you must find it first or have another person find it. You pawn, which is your main companion with you through the entire game, will learn how to defeat enemies better and sometimes will tell you how best to do it. However, it goes further beyond simply fire beats ice and holy beats dark. Some enemies are weak on certain points or taking apart certain points will make the fight easier. A cyclops' weakness is it's single eye, however hit it too much and it will become enraged and it's attacks will become sporadic and harder not only to dodge but also predict. A chimera has three points of attack which you'll learn at the end of the tutorial: a snake tail, goat on it's back and a lion's body. Cut off the snake allows you to climb on the creature more easily and attack it's other points as well as keeps it from spewing poison. The goat casts powerful magic while the lion rampages around with quick and deadly physical attacks. Some enemies have easy to discern points of weakness such as a glowing heart or undead being weak to various forms of magic, but it won't always be so easy. Being sensible and wary will often lead to your success and survival.
-Every single weapon and piece of clothing can be upgraded to increase it's resistance and attack. While this sword may be slightly more powerful than this other one, you may like the stats better or simply the look on another. Upgrading costs materials, money and you have to go to special vendors to upgrade. Basically, you have to put work into being as lethal as possible. If that's too much of a hassle for you, the game offers an alternative approach. Killing dragons and dragon-like creatures offers the chance for your weapons to be 'Dragon Forged'. The game's official Wiki page (http://dragonsdogma.wikia.com/wiki/Dragon%27s_Dogma_Wiki) offers greater insight into the minute details of how weapons can be Dragon Forged as well as other useful information. You can find a drake early on in the game. If you can brave it's challenge and kill it, you may find a great surprise after the battle.
-There's fast travel... kind of. The world you're plopped into may not be the most expansive compared to the other RPGs out there, but its still a large world in it's own right. While you may be used to fast traveling around Skyrim as you please from simply finding the points on your map, you may be disappointed here. Sure, you can but you'll need an item first and your choices on where to jump to are limited to say the least. You'll need these things called Ferrystones. They are limited to a single use and will take you to your destination. When the game was on consoles, these items were expensive and you weren't going to find them (often) when defeating an enemy or after a mission. They are also expensive. Now that the game is on Steam, you can find an unlimited use one in the main city of the game once you get there. Simply go through the story as normal to get inside the city and go to the Pawn Guild. To the right of it are these stones in a pentagon. In the center is the unlimited use Ferrystone you're looking for. Now those stones are actually how you can fast travel. Those are Portcrystals and they are even more scarce and even more expensive. You'll find about two of these through the game, both are in main quest missions but can be easily over looked if you're not vigilant or perceptive enough. The Wiki should have a better explanation on them but the gist of it is that you pick one up and through your inventory use it and it will be placed. You can travel to that point however often you like and pick it up to move it if you'd like as well. Playing through the game, you might find that missions tend to make you travel far so these can be a blessing if you remember to put them down before hand. My two personal favorite places to put these are right in front of the Shadow Fort and in front of the Blue Moon tower. Again, Wiki if you need the location. This can save you a lot of time and a lot less stress. Side note, there are escort quests in the game which will give you some nice loot at the cost of pulling your hair out because you have to protect someone who can be killed easily. You can fast travel to these Portcrystals if you've placed them before hand and your escort will be transported with you. Keep in mind that you'll encounter massive monsters who will attack you on sight and take a long time to kill so, ya, this is a great thing to have.
-The 'Dark Arisen' title was not from the original game. Dragon's Dogma was the original title of the game when it first came out. Some time later, a separate expansion was added called 'Dark Arisen'. This new expansion is standard with the game and allows you to travel to a new location. This new location has a greater challenges than the main world you'll be in as well as greater rewards you can't find elsewhere. Fight through the horrors and more powerful monsters and you'll find some incredible loot.
-Finally, and unfortunately, you can only have one non manipulable save file. Personally I only have one Skyrim save file... apart from my other save that allows me to restart the game from the character creation screen and my autosaves, but that's besides the point. In Dragon's Dogma, you get one character, one save and that's it. Did you screw up something but the game saved it? You've got two choices. You can either start a new character from scratch or beat the game and continue in New Game Plus to fix your mistake. This sucks and I have no tips for it. Just remember this is a thing. You can save practically anywhere provided you aren't in battle just from the start screen. Sleeping via an inn keeper or rest stop will also save the game. Defeating certain monsters such as the final boss or completing some missions will also do this. I recently screwed up on one quest and lost the most valuable (for me anyways) vendor in the game who sells an arrow that can just about one shot anything in the game if not cut down it's health severely and who also has an extremely important quest for me. The game saved it for me so I'm kind of out of luck. The game is lengthy and I really don't want to start a new character, so I'm just going to have to live with it.
-As a final tip, I suggest you decide what type of character you want your's to be... and then choose Warrior. I know that sounds kind of weird but the Warrior has one skill that I find invaluable. Stick with the class for a while until you get to a certain level in the vocation. The skill allows you to carry more stuff in your inventory without being encumbered. Its about around the sixth level so it may take some time but it is insanely worth it in my perspective. The same goes for just about every other class, or as the game calls them 'vocations'. Some skills can only be gained and used by certain vocations but really it boils down into three categories: Magic, Rouge and Strength characters. Each class has their own intersecting 'hybrid' class. You can be a Magic Archer, a Magic Warrior or an Assassin which can use shields, bows, daggers and swords at any given time. Your main pawn can also be outfitted with a vocation of your choice at will so long as you can purchase it.
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