Dragon Dogma 2’s Not-So-Fast Travel Is Good, Actually
The road less traveled.
Most people love a good open world game. But most people do not love having to trek across said world numerous times throughout a long game just to get the most menial of tasks done. That’s what fast travel is for. But not in Dragon’s Dogma 2. Just like its predecessor, the RPG will take an unconventional approach to fast travel that will encourage the player to truly spend time in its fantasy kingdoms.
And if you think that’s boring, then just listen to the words of director Hideaki Itsuno from an interview with IGN: “Travel is boring? That's not true. It's only an issue because your game is boring.”
The original Dragon’s Dogma is big. It’s a traditional medieval fantasy world filled with lots of mountains, forests, and open plains. There are a handful of major cities and small villages peppered across it. There is also no easy way to traverse the world. Players will spend most of their time walking from point A to point B. The game’s only forms of fast travel are Ferrystones and Portcrystals.
Portcrystals act as fast travel points in the world. A handful of important locations have permanent Portcrystals, but the player can also place a limited number of Portcrystals anywhere on the map. To actually teleport to a Portcrystal, the player has to consume a Ferrystone, which is just one more thing to worry about. It all relies on limited resources and forces the player to think carefully about how they want to use the fast travel system. Dragon’s Dogma 2 is bringing this back.
This convoluted fast travel system can be intimidating to players because it sounds like an absolute pain in the ass. An adventure gets way less fun when you have to spend too much real-world time walking your character across the same paths over and over again. But weirdly enough that isn’t the case. Because Dragon’s Dogma is brimming with life in its world around every corner. Every NPC, town, or enemy you come across has some story to weave.
This only works because you naturally stumble into adventures on your travels. It also makes the player appreciate the true scale of the world and the stakes of the story. Think of how games like Breath of the Wild and Elden Ring, and Hideo Kojima’s walking simulator all have a focus on player movement and how the world itself is navigated (even with more robust fast travel systems). Dragon’s Dogma and its sequel take that mentality to the extreme.
Furthermore, Dragon’s Dogma 2 is expanding the modes of transportation. A new cart system offers players an easier (but still not easy) way to navigate the world. Players can hire carts to take them to major towns and cities but these rides won’t be a loading screen, they’ll be long journeys that you must sit through. Things also won’t always go to plan.
“While riding one, you might find the path blocked by goblins and have no choice but to get off and join the battle.” Itsuno tells IGN, “Then as you do, a Griffin might swoop in and destroy the entire cart with one blow, forcing you to walk the rest of the way while cursing its name.”
Again, that may sound horrible to some players, but to me, that sounds exciting! It deepens the world and makes random encounters all the more fun to experience. Dragon’s Dogma was never a game that made things easy, and while that turns some players off, it offers a wonderful counter to a style of open world game that smooths off any hint of a rough edge that may cause the player trouble. By challenging the player to spend time traveling, Dragon’s Dogma 2 encourages players to absorb the world’s delights and horrors in a new way.
Traveling isn’t boring. As Itsuno says, “All you have to do is make travel fun.”