Dragon's Dogma 2 Is Smart to Lean into Wacky Slapstick Absurdism

Total eclipse of the camp.

Dragon's Dogma 2

Two hours into my Dragon’s Dogma 2 demo, a hyena bit my face and dragged my bloody corpse across a dirt road before a pack of hyenas and hobgoblins descended on my carcass. THIS TALE HAS ENDED, the screen flashed. It was ludicrous.

The game is made for a very specific kind of gamer — and as it turns out, I might be one of them.

In Dragon’s Dogma 2, you get to role-play as the Arisen, a powerful hero who had their heart eaten by a dragon, but is so courageous and resolute that they are followed around by three AI-controlled pawns. Thrust into this high fantasy landscape, you can go to a variety of places, take quests, wander around, do crime, and live however you’d like.

This is the sequel to 2012’s cult favorite Dragon’s Dogma, which later spawned a Netflix show. The new addition expands upon the mainstays that fans already like, such as loyal pawns and comical non-playable characters. And, like in the original, things get really weird.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 adds a new race called Beastren.


Despite the dramatic premise, what follows is a fairly wacky game with a lot of campy writing and cornball moments. The variety of odd acts you can improvise seems to have no end. Climb up a griffin’s butt? Check. Pick up a rabbit and toss it with no regard for its life? Check. Grab a man and lug him around for fun? Check.

Last Wednesday, I had a chance to check out Dragon’s Dogma 2 ahead of its official release. This was my second demo with the game, and publisher Capcom showed off new features, including two new classes called Mystic Spearhand and Magick Archer that weren’t in the original, while allowing me to revisit this surprisingly silly fantasy world.

Dragon’s Dogma 2’s charm

I also bought a jade orb for 10,000 gold, and then accidentally sold it for 2,000, and then bought it back again for 15,000, nearly wiping out my money.


Here’s just one example of a ridiculous thing that I experienced in Dragon’s Dogma 2.

To get through a gate, I had to forge my way in by purchasing a fake permit from shopkeeper Ibrahim, who requested that I patiently wait for his craft. Once I managed to sleep at an inn for time to pass, I returned to retrieve my forgery and then had to pretend to be a beastren to make the scheme believable (a new race introduced in Dragon’s Dogma 2).

Ibrahim also happened to sell a jade orb I needed for a side quest, which I procured for 10,000 gold. Then I accidentally sold it back to him for 2,000 and had to buy it back again for 15,000, nearly wiping out all of my money. It’s a real testament to this NPC’s level of dishonesty that he was able to scam me for so much, but that’s somehow part of Dragon’s Dogma 2’s charm.

After sinking 57 hours into Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, I had to retrain my muscle memory for a new game. In Rebirth, pressing R2 on the PS5 controller makes your character dash. But in Dragon’s Dogma 2, R2 lets you pick things up, so I was comically picking up dudes and slinging them over my shoulders even though they were weighing me down. I discovered I could even pick up rabbits and throw them, though that ended up slaying them in a gruesome fashion. Most unfortunately, you’re not allowed to pick up the giant rats that are bigger than cats, scurrying around.

What’s new in Dragon’s Dogma 2?

The game is made for a very specific kind of gamer — and as it turns out, I might be one of them.


One of the most beloved features from Dragon’s Dogma was pawns, even though they were kind of glitchy and often repeated the same dialogue. Dragon’s Dogma 2 helpfully adds more capabilities for the pawns, like guiding players to quest objectives. They also serve different functions in the party. In the build I played, one pawn was a tank, another a healer, and a third was a rakish combat pro.

The pawns sometimes idiotically fall down a ravine without your express permission. But don’t sweat. Even if some perish, others will live on. Those fools are not my problem, anymore.

The sequel also upgrades the game’s NPCs. Now they can like or dislike you based off of your actions towards a different NPC, a move aimed at making the world feel even more immersive. They will rudely walk up to you and interrupt everything you’re doing to shout some corny line.

The snarky and silly writing is held up by a slick combat system. Dragon’s Dogma 2 expands beyond the fighter, thief, and mage of the original, adding two new classes: Mystic Spearhand and Magick Archer. Both have very different play styles, with the archer most notably needing a charge up time to launch magic arrows. The Spearhand is new to the sequel, combining melee damage with flashy blue magic.

My preview ended with my game crashing multiple times when I finally fulfilled a particularly annoying fetch quest. But even though my run ended early, I felt fairly satisfied with the experience. I got to watch my three pawns mysteriously perish, while I made safe passage into town. I had fooled a gatekeeper into thinking I had the face of a beast. I had cradled a few rabbits, before their untimely demise.

Most of all, I had seen Dragon’s Dogma 2’s weirdness, and knew this is a world that draws me in.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 arrives on March 22, 2024 on the PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC.

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