Dragon's Dogma's New Switch Port Is Nearly Identical to Its PS4 and Xbox One Counterparts
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen has been released again in what's hopefully its last port before we finally get a sequel.
I have this weird relationship with Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen where I somehow find myself playing the game every year or so as Capcom has now ported the game to PS4, Xbox One, PC, and now, the Nintendo Switch. Compared to its predecessors, the Nintendo Switch version of Dragon’s Dogma does suffer somewhat when it comes to visuals, but it still offers an equally compelling RPG that Capcom should’ve made a sequel to by now.
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is a hefty game and the fact that it’s also quite good makes it an easy recommendation to any JRPG or RPG fan. I’ve never been huge on the visuals in Dragon’s Dogma. The world has a rather bland medieval look to it, with dried out colors that are only saved by the game’s handful of interesting locations. This still holds true on the Switch version of the game. While it’s actually impressively close to the Xbox and PS4 versions of the game, there’s a noticeable amount of pop-in in some of the more open areas. However, character models look just as good as they do in other console versions as well as some of the enemies you face.
While Dragon’s Dogma is filled to the brim with conventional enemy archetypes, there’s a bit of a Monster Hunter-style quality to its bigger enemies. These foes offer a wildly different fight compared to the hordes of ghouls and bandits you take on. While I initially worried that these battles would be hampered by the Switch’s hardware, I didn’t find this to be the case in most encounters. At certain times, there was a noticeable dip in framerate, typically occurring when you had a bunch of enemies grouped around a giant boss. I didn’t find it to be so bad that it became unplayable though.
The game itself runs at 30-frames-per-second in both handheld and docked mode which is quite impressive considering the PS4 and Xbox One version run similarly. I was actually pretty surprised the game didn’t get a boost in frames after being ported onto the stronger consoles. While more frames are always nice, 30 frames feels and looks fine on Nintendo Switch.
Dragon’s Dogma has also always differentiated itself with its Pawn System. It essentially allows you to create your own companion and have them grow alongside you. Additionally, you can upload them to the game’s online servers so other players may use them. You can also recruit and rate other users’ pawns. It’s really fun to experiment and build your own unique party based on other player creations. I hope that the game can get a solid community around it as I think this system is really unique and I really like it. However, it does hamper any sort of narrative character and party growth.
I’m not crazy about the story in Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, but I am a big fan of it as an RPG. It doesn’t blow too many modern games out of the water but as a handheld experience, it’s definitely a good time. Just the base game alone offers about 30 to 40 hours of content, and once you add in the Dark Arisen content, that number only goes up.
While I can’t lie, I’m getting kind of tired of talking about Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, the Switch port is certainly another great RPG on the handheld-console hybrid. If you’ve played the game before, or are just picking it up for the first time, it’s quite a bit of fun although don’t expect anything too groundbreaking compared to modern standards. And like I said — when compared to its PS4 and Xbox One ports, it holds up quite well so there’s no shame in opting for this version.
Now that Hideaki Itsuno is done with Capcom’s recently released Devil May Cry 5, hopefully, he’ll begin work on a sequel to Dragon’s Dogma if one isn’t in the works already. While much of the game feels aged, there’s plenty of room for growth that could set the series apart from other games on the market.
For more, you can check out my original review of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen. The game officially launches for Nintendo Switch tomorrow on April 23.