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Dragons Dogma

Dragon's Dogma photo
Dragon's Dogma

Capcom is very happy with how Dragon's Dogma is doing on PC


Shows what a good port can do for sales
Feb 11
// Joe Parlock
It’s been a few weeks since Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen was launched for the PC, and it's apparently doing very, very well. In an interview with MCV, Capcom said that Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is its faste...

Experience Points .30: Dragon's Dogma

Jan 23 // Ben Davis
Mount your foes Ever since Shadow of the Colossus came out, I've always wondered why climbing on monsters never really became a thing. It's an effective strategy for dealing with massive enemies, and it really opens up options for interesting combat as well. But these days, it seems like monster climbing is relegated to quick time events, like in God of War and Bayonetta, where the majority of combat takes place on the ground or in the air, but every once in a while Kratos or Bayonetta jump up onto a giant foe to chop off its body parts, as long as the player remembers to press X at the right moment.Dragon's Dogma revisits the idea presented by Shadow of the Colossus, allowing players to grab onto enemies and climb around them in the heat of combat. This often makes it easier to deal tons of damage in a short amount of time. I could just latch onto one of that Hydra's heads and hack away for as long as my stamina allowed, or until the creature decides it's tired of being poked by some insect and tries to dislodge me. Even smaller enemies could be grabbed, but usually this was only useful for holding them in place while the pawns attacked freely. My favorite thing to do is to climb atop a flying enemy, such as a Griffin, so that I could keep stabbing it even when it tries to fly away. Some of my most thrilling moments involved slashing away at a vicious Griffin's back as it soared through the sky, its feathers catching fire thanks to my mages, until it finally plummeted back to the ground all bloody, singed, and ragged as I hopped off triumphantly to finish the deed. Those kills were always the most satisfying! Pawn to King 4 The pawn mechanic is an idea unique to Dragon's Dogma, or at least I can't think of another game that has done something similar in quite the same way. Along with creating a main character (the Arisen), players also get to create a pawn, their primary sidekick throughout the game. Pawns act on their own, but the player can choose their equipment, combat strategies, personalities, and so forth. And for a game with such a robust character creator, being able to make two different characters in any given playthrough was a godsend. I made my fighter pawn, Demetrius, a thin, muscular, bald man with a full beard. Eventually, I got him equipped with a huge, rather intimidating spiked mace, and gave him an incognito mask and a golden belt. He basically looked like an executioner who had just won a wrestling championship. Not sure what I was going for, but I thought he looked pretty cool anyway.Pawns also act as the primary way to interact with other people online. By entering a Rift Stone, players can browse through pawns created by others and enlist up to two into their own party. These pawns will have all the equipment and stats provided by their creators, and they might even know some strategies for defeating certain enemies or info about specific quests that the player has yet to encounter. Once a player is done using someone else's pawn, they can send along ratings, messages, and gifts to the original creator. I had a lot of fun simply viewing everyone's pawns to see what they came up with, from the beautiful to the grotesque.I always enjoyed logging back in every now and then to see how my own pawn was doing and find out whether or not he had been helping other people on their adventures. Demetrius received above average ratings and seemed to come back with a lot of different gifts for me, so I'm glad at least a few people got some use out of him. I figured his wrestler/executioner style might get him noticed in the Rift due to his bizarre, yet menacing demeanor. I wonder if someone is still using him today. Three heads are better than one I'm very fond of the enemy designs in Dragon's Dogma. They're based on classic depictions of mythical beasts, so even though they're not particularly fantastic or unique, they have a certain traditional charm to them. They almost look unusually realistic, at least compared to most other video games that contain the same types of monsters. My favorite enemy was the Chimera, one of the more common giant beasts to be found in the game. A chimera is simply a hybrid monster made up of different parts from more than one kind of animal, most commonly depicted as a lion with a goat's head protruding from its back and a snake for a tail. And that's exactly what the Chimera in Dragon's Dogma looks like.Chimeras are so fun to fight because of all the different tactics that can be used to defeat them. Each of its three heads have their own specialties; the lion primarily uses physical attacks, the goat casts magic, and the snake can inflict poison. Each head can also be “killed” independently, so its up to the player to decide which part of the Chimera to destroy first. Personally, I liked to take out the snake first, followed by the goat, and finish with the lion. The best part is seeing the effects of damage in action. The snake head can be chopped off entirely, leaving a severed, bloody stump of a tail flailing around. The goat head will remain attached to the body, but once it's been defeated, it comically flops around like a limp rubber toy. It's even possible to kill the lion head first, in which case it sort of droops and rolls around sadly while the goat and snake keep up the attack. It's a bit unsettling how much I enjoy watching a Chimera suffer, really. Your Dragon Aside from the pawns, another way for players to interact with others online was through the dreaded Ur-Dragon. This massive, undead dragon is the most powerful enemy in the game. While playing online, it's simply not feasible for any one player to defeat it on their own. Instead, the battle employs an asynchronous cooperative component, meaning players from around the world will be working together to slay the beast. Damage from each individual player will slowly stack over time until the Ur-Dragon has finally been defeated. Players lucky enough to be fighting during the killing blow will have the chance to earn some nice rewards, and any other player who contributed to the Ur-Dragon's death can enter the Chamber of Lament later to claim some loot as well. Afterwards, the next generation of the Ur-Dragon will spawn as an even more powerful foe than the last. This type of idea isn't anything new, as similar things have been done in some MMOs, but they're still fun to participate in every now and then. I fought a few of the earlier generations of Ur-Dragons, but never managed to land a killing blow (aside from offline). Last I checked, the PlayStation 3 Ur-Dragon was around Generation 800, so it's pretty cool that people are still fighting them. The legendary Hot Pants, forged in dragon's flame This one may seem a bit random at first, but it has to do with one of my funniest moments. There is a ton of equipment to choose from in Dragon's Dogma, ranging from practical, to stylish, to revealing. While there is some gender-specific clothing, most pieces can be worn by either gender – even some of the more revealing ones. Whenever I play games like this, I tend to choose equipment that I think looks good on my character, so I go for the highest possible stats while still trying to look nice.In my first playthrough, I left the first town with not much armor to speak of, since the shops didn't really have much to offer. Since I was playing a Strider, I wanted light armor anyway, so I was dressed in cloth wrappings and a pair of short pants, which basically look like denim hot pants. Not gonna lie, my beefy adventurer could really rock those short pants! I figured I would find better armor later, but eventually I was in Gran Soren and still wearing those short pants. Everything else I could find was either worse stats-wise or just plain ugly. And then I began adventuring farther north and encountered my first Drake. Why mention the Drake? Well, upon defeating a Drake, or any other dragon-type enemy, there is a chance for a piece of equipment to become “dragon forged,” meaning it automatically reaches the highest level of enhancement, past the normal three-star level. And it just so happened that the one piece of equipement to become dragon forged was my pair of short pants. Suddenly, this silly piece of sexy clothing was one of my most powerful possessions. It was a sign – my Arisen was born to wear these short pants. I never switched them out for the remainder of the game, because it was too perfect that they were the first thing to become dragon forged. Plus, by that point, they basically provided more defense than the majority of other pants anyway. My Arisen gets to show off his well-toned legs and can still take a beating doing it. That's definitely a win-win in my book! What is love? Romance options in games have never really interested me all that much. This is partly because there are usually no gay options, but even when it is an option (Mass Effect, Dragon Age), the romance subplots still feel weird, stiff, and out of place in context with the rest of the game for whatever reason. Romance in Dragon's Dogma is also really weird. Like, super weird. So weird that I actually kind of enjoyed it. You see, at a certain point in the game, a character is chosen as the player's “beloved.” Grigori, the antagonistic dragon (dragon-tagonist, if you will), kidnaps the beloved, supposedly as a way to get the player all fired up for revenge and rescue of the character they love most. However, most players won't know who they'll be rescuing until the big reveal. It's like a surprise love interest, and given the romance options provided by the game, the results can be hilarious.Almost any character in Dragon's Dogma can become the beloved. This includes characters of any gender or age, even children and the elderly. That's right, a player might get to the end of the game only to find out that their handsome, burly Arisen is in love with a frail, elderly woman. Or a small child. Or the court jester who bears a striking resemblance to The Legend of Zelda's Tingle (*shiver*). The perceived randomness of it all, while surely annoying to some, was very entertaining to me. I never knew who I was going to romance, and I always looked forward to the eventual reveal.Of course, there are ways to increase the chances of getting a specific beloved, primarily by completing certain quests and giving lots of gifts to increase affinity. However, even knowing that, it's still rather difficult to get who you want. I always had my beefy, bearded Arisen flirt with the armory merchant, Caxton. He may have some annoying catch phrases, but at least he has a nice beard! Apparently, my copious amount of gifts were not enough to woo him, though, because I always ended up with either the young witch, Selene, or the sultry merchant, Madeleine. Dammit, Caxton, quit leaving me with all these ladies! They're nice people, I'm sure, but you're the masterwork of my heart! Where did I go wrong? Past Experience Points Level 1: .01 - .20 .21: Katamari Damacy.22: Tomb Raider.23: Mother 3.24: Deadly Premonition.25: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.26: Dark Souls.27: GoldenEye 007 .28: Pokémon Red/Blue .29: Skies of Arcadia
Dragon's Dogma photo
Masterworks all, you can't go wrong!
Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a p...

Deals photo
Deals

Renew Xbox Live or PS Plus for under $40 in Weekend Deals


Don't pay full price on these
Jan 16
// Dealzon
Remember that deal from yesterday offering a year of PlayStation Plus for $40? Well, apparently this type of deal comes in twos, because a 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscription is now a lot cheaper, discounted down to&nbs...
Dragon's Dogma photo
Dragon's Dogma

Capcom is listening to requests for a Dragon's Dogma sequel


Dark Arisen PC port feedback matters
Jan 08
// Jordan Devore
We're a week out from the PC release of Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen. Capcom also has the free-to-play Dragon's Dogma Online (in Japan, anyway) for PC, PS3, and PS4. What are the odds we'll get a full-fledged sequel? Better th...

Deals photo
Deals

Dragon's Dogma PC pre-order deals roundup


Conjuring some discounts
Jan 08
// Dealzon
Update 1/15: Game is released. 25% off preorder code is dead but a new 20% off coupon works. Next Friday, Dragon's Dogma is making its way on to the PC. Those with higher-end PCs will be able to enjoy 4K resolution plus 60 fr...
Deals photo
Deals

25 percent off Dragon's Dogma: Boxing Day PC pre-order deals from GMG


XCOM 2, Street Fighter V also makes list
Dec 26
// Dealzon
Green Man Gaming is running a "Most Anticipated 2016" titles Boxing Day sale (its page makes no reference to Boxing Day but that's what it told us, anyways). The sale page doesn't seem to be public yet, but you can view the l...
Dragon's Dogma PC photo
Dragon's Dogma PC

Yep, Dragon's Dogma looks nice on PC


I'm excited for mods
Dec 17
// Jordan Devore
Capcom is bringing Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen to PC. After all these years, it's really happening. Patrick recently sampled the new port and he liked what he saw. There's a new trailer out today which, more than anything, is...
Dragon's Dogma Dark Arise photo
Dragon's Dogma Dark Arise

Capcom shares some tips for Dragon's Dogma Dark Arisen for PC


Coming in January
Nov 27
// Chris Carter
Dragon's Dogma was an unconventional RPG that in many ways, was stuck in the past, but I really dug what it was trying to do. Every so often I'll jump back into it, and it was even more enticing once the Dark Arisen content ...
They're masterworks all photo
They're masterworks all

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen climbs to PC in January


They're masterworks all
Sep 08
// Jordan Devore
I didn't complete Dragon's Dogma, but I'd like to give it another try one day. Preferably on PC. That hasn't been an option yet, but it will be next year. Capcom is bringing the expanded Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen to Windows...
Dragon's Dogma Online photo
Dragon's Dogma Online

Dragon's Dogma Online doing well in Japan, tops 100,000 concurrent players


It's free, but still, Capcom is happy
Sep 08
// Chris Carter
Capcom is reporting a success story for Dragon's Dogma Online, which launched on August 31 in Japan on PC, PS3, and PS4. So far there have been nearly a million downloads (950,000), and the game regularly hosts 100,000 concu...
Dragon's Dogma photo
Dragon's Dogma

Yep, Dragon's Dogma Online still looks awesome


Cross-Play with PC, PS3, and PS4
Jul 27
// Chris Carter
If you don't know what Dragon's Dogma Online is all about yet (being awesome), you can get a look at this new overview video above from Capcom. Sure it's free-to-play, so the jury is out on whether or not it will bombar...
Slay Momma, slay photo
Slay Momma, slay

Watch Dragon's Dogma Online beta gameplay right now!


Free-to-play, free-to-slay
Jul 11
// Jed Whitaker
The free-to-play Dragon's Dogma Online beta is now out in Japan on PS3, PS4, and PC for the lucky few who were selected to test it. Sadly the game hasn't been announced for other regions, but never say never. For the time being, feast your eyes on what you're missing out on.
DDO (dee-doe) photo
DDO (dee-doe)

Capcom looses trailers for Dragon's Dogma Online


PS4, PC, PS3
Jul 07
// Steven Hansen
Dragon's Dogma was a weird one. It was a Japanese take on the Western role-playing genre (Witcher 3 et al) that did some interesting things. The pitch black nights stood out to me. So, too, did the horrible combat barks. Doe...
Dragon's Dogma Online photo
Dragon's Dogma Online

I love everything about this goofy Dragon's Dogma Online image


Sweep the leg
May 29
// Jordan Devore
So, Dragon's Dogma Online isn't ideal for a number of reasons -- it's supported by microtransactions and isn't even planned for release in the West, for starters -- but it is more Dragon's Dogma, and damn if it doesn't at least look cool. Especially the creature designs. After perusing the game's site, I saw this devilish beauty. Zulu, they call him. Zoom in. His expression is priceless.
Capcom photo
Capcom

Capcom seemingly doesn't understand memes


This isn't how things go viral
May 21
// Laura Kate Dale
Back in October last year people on the Internet started taking the cast of Final Fantasy XV, all sat in a car together, and photoshopping them into funny locations. Square Enix saw what the Internet had organically done and ...
Dragon's Dogma Online photo
Dragon's Dogma Online

Dragon's Dogma Online will have its first alpha in April


Invite-only
Mar 06
// Chris Carter
Sony has announced that Dragon's Dogma online will have its first alpha on PlayStation platforms (PS3 and PS4) in April. Apparently the build is "invite-only," but you can still sign up to be selected if you happen ...
Dragon's Dogma photo
Dragon's Dogma

Capcom: 'No plans' to release Dragon's Dogma Online in the West


Guess you don't have to worry about those microtransactions
Jan 28
// Chris Carter
Dragon's Dogma Online sounded sketchy from its the free-to-play scheme and microtransactions angle. But I'll give anything a shot once, and who knows -- maybe it could have been great, right?Well we probably won't get the cha...
Dragon's Dogma photo
Dragon's Dogma

Dragon's Dogma Online officially announced, with microtransactions


As if those trademarks weren't announcement enough
Jan 27
// Chris Carter
Capcom has been suspiciously filing trademarks for Dragon's Dogma Online left and right. They were pretty sneaky. But now we know the truth -- Dragon's Dogma Online exists, and it's been officially unveiled by way o...
Dragon's Dogma photo
Dragon's Dogma

Oh dear: Dragon's Dogma Online trademarked


I don't want to assume the worst, but...
Dec 05
// Jordan Devore
Well, my emotions have been sufficiently toyed with. A European trademark for Dragon's Dogma Online was discovered today by NeoGAF and as far as words I don't want to see appear in videogame names go, particularly from a comp...
Dragon's Dogma Quest photo
Dragon's Dogma Quest

F2P Dragon's Dogma Quest coming to Vita December 19


Already on iOS
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
Dragon's Dogma Quest was originally announced as a Vita game. Perhaps it isn't surprising that the free-to-play, 2D, online-only RPG ended up coming to iOS (in Japan) much sooner. Still, a Vita version is still in the works....
PS Plus photo
PS Plus

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen free this week with PS Plus


Guacamelee! on sale
Nov 04
// Jordan Devore
We've already been given the full rundown of what software is joining the Instant Game Collection for PlayStation Plus members in North America this month. I was thrilled to see so many nods of approval for Binary Domain, by ...
 photo
Jimquisition happens every Monday!
You don't have to hate downloadable content to avoid ever buying the stuff. Even heartfelt fans of the concept can be thoroughly turned off, and it's all thanks to the idiots trying to sell it. Your old pal Jim loves DLC, as...

Deep Down photo
Deep Down

Deep Down a ways away, not related to Dragon's Dogma


Should 'have it at E3 next year'
Jun 18
// Steven Hansen
During Sony's PlayStation 4 reveal event, Capcom showed off Deep Down, a game slated for PS4 and running on Capcom's next-gen engine, codenamed "Panta Rhei." The game looks positively medieval, not too dissimilar from Capcom ...
Dragon's Dogma Quest photo
Dragon's Dogma Quest

Dragon's Dogma Quest announced as a free-to-play Vita RPG


Oh, and it's online-only
Jun 05
// Chris Carter
When Capcom said that Dragon's Dogma was a valuable franchise, I assumed they planned on following it up with a carefully constructed sequel, addressing the concerns of the original. Well, maybe that will happen eventually, b...

Game music on guitar like you've never heard before

May 15 // Jayson Napolitano
Top Picks TransfigurationRelease Date: May 3, 2013Price: $10.00Availability: Loudr (digital) / Mustin Enterprises (physical)Artist(s): The Altered Beasts [embed]253588:48627:0[/embed] This is definitely the album I never knew I always wanted. William Reyes and Tim Yarbrough from The OneUps have formed a side project called The Altered Beasts, performing a variety of game music arrangements for guitar, and the results are amazing. Not only are they spot on with their song selection, they also offer some great interpretations throughout. Everything is laid back and surprisingly full despite only featuring two instruments. A number of tracks stay true to their original source stylings. "Green Hill Zone" from Sonic the Hedgehog retains its coolness; "Fisherman's Horizon" from Final Fantasy VIII is as beautiful as ever (if not more so!); "Overworld" from Super Mario Bros. 2 is as bouncy and fun as you'd expect; "Pollyanna" from Mother is still one of the best ballads in the business; "Radical Dreamers" from Chrono Cross is incredibly sweet; and "Dire, Dire Docks" from Super Mario 64 is super dreamy. "Sub-Castle" from Super Mario World was always a desperate and broody track and retains that feeling here, making it one of the darker songs on the album, but it's still subdued and plays well with the others. Now, on to the surprises. The rhythmic variation in "To Zanarkand" from Final Fantasy X, the funky swing in "Zelda's Lullaby," and the sunny and joyous "Bloody Tears" from Castlevania II blow my mind (what a wonderful day to have a curse!). "Menu Select" from Metroid Prime is another treat as a wondrous and contemplative tune that remains upbeat. The album closes with another dreamy one, "The Legendary Theme" from Gitaroo Man. With this track and "Pollyana," I would have guessed that Dale North came up with this track listing! This album is simply fantastic and will be on constant rotation throughout my house on lazy days. I've been looking for something like this to relax to lately, so the timing couldn't have been better. Perhaps you'd like to chime in with other recommendations after picking this one up? BioShock Infinite Digital SoundtrackRelease Date: March 26, 2013Price: Not for saleAvailability: Digital bonus with collector's editionsArtist(s): Garry Schyman, et al. Despite a number of deviations from the BioShock formula, Infinite has been a huge success. Series composer Garry Schyman is back on board and provides 40+ minutes of orchestral music. After reprises of some comforting Christian hymns, we get bombastic combat, an emotional standout with "Elizabeth," and a lot of tension and great musical moments. The somewhat mischievous "Lions Walk with Lions" with pizzicato strings and xylophone and the heavy and unsettling "Smothered" are among my favorites. The licensed tracks are a lot of fun and work nicely with Schyman's pieces as well, including the playful and upbeat Irish jig, "Rory O'More/Saddle the Pony." Schyman shows his mastery of the videogame medium once again, crafting a score worthy of the game and franchise. Most tracks are under two minutes in length, but I still can't help but love everything here. Other Releases [embed]253588:48649:0[/embed] Dead Space 3 Original Video Game SoundtrackRelease Date: February 13, 2013Price: $9.99Availability: iTunesArtist(s): Jason Graves and James Hannigan Series composer Jason Graves is joined by James Hannigan to take you along a tense ride full of ominous orchestral themes in Dead Space 3. There are some great moments here, but as you would expect, the score is very cinematic, so it's hard to pick out a single track that shines given how many emotions are contained within a single piece. Still, I love the chugging electronic moments that Hannigan brings in "The Broken Past" and "Lunar Express" along with his more emotional "Rosetta Suite." I would say that there are several moments that are more "cool" that "horrifying," which coincides with the more action-oriented gameplay that the game features. Graves brings the terror, however, with the explosive "Apoplexia" and foreboding "In Tents." This is a great score with some great moments and is more action-oriented than its predecessors, just like the game. That's good or bad, depending on what you thought of the game. Dragon's Dogma Dark Arisen Original SoundtrackRelease Date: April 24, 2013Price: 2,800 Yen (~$27)Availability: CD JapanArtist(s): Tadayoshi Makino [Sound Samples] This two-disc set contains music from the new Dark Arisen content as well as a "best of" collection from the original soundtrack album along with some unreleased and bonus tracks. The same complaints I had regarding the original Dragon's Dogma soundtrack still stand: There is a lot of moody rock-infused orchestral music here, but the melodies don't really draw you in and there's not a strong sense of atmosphere to compensate. I will say, however, that this album sports far more standouts than the original soundtrack. I really like a few of the more mellow tracks, and there are a couple pieces that rock really hard and had me looking up to find out what I was listening to. Somber vocal themes featuring a young boy's voice found at the end of the album are simply stellar, and are worth your attention (go to the official site to hear). The unreleased tracks feature strong melodies and should have been on the original album (I would have probably liked it a little better if they had!), and two remixes, one by Square Enix guitarist/composer Tsuyoshi Sekito and one by Dragon's Dogma composer Tadayoshi Makino (on piano) are also nice treats. So if anything, this is the Dragon's Dogma soundtrack to own. The Dark Arisen music has some shining moments, and you still get the best of the original soundtrack with some excellent bonus content [embed]253588:48623:0[/embed] Dungeon Hearts Official SoundtrackRelease Date: March 15, 2013Price: Not for saleAvailability: SoundCloudArtist(s): Various artists We've talked about the puzzle/RPG title Dungeon Hearts a few times here on Destructoid, and I was curious about the game's multiple soundtracks. What you have is series of soundtracks that come in fantasy, chiptune, rock, and electronic flavors. I'd say that the fantasy version by Sam English is my favorite of the bunch, but there's good stuff across the entire collection. English's harpsichord-laden and electronic-infused "Demon Slayers" and "Troublesome Foe" had me thinking of a hybrid between Castlevania and Mega Man, while Bill Killey's chippy "Acro Circus" makes great use of 8-bit evil laughs. PostPre's smooth "They of Legend" works in beautiful arpeggios, and VikingJesus's decisive "Under a Gray Sky" is simply great. While various artists involved have offered the soundtrack for streaming or purchase across the web, the developer has a nice collection of tracks from the game totaling nearly an hour of music. Check it out. GINGA FORCE Complete SoundtrackRelease Date: March 22, 2013Price: 3,000 Yen (~$29)Availability: CD JapanArtist(s): Various artistsThis is the two-disc soundtrack to the Xbox 360 shooter Ginga Force, composed by the electronic music masters at SuperSweep. As you can imagine, there's a lot of heavy-hitting electronic music with a retro edge. After an intentionally anime-esque opener with female vocals, it's strictly on to electronic and rock. Some of my favorites are the bassy and contemplative menu theme, the incredibly funky briefing theme, and a handful of stage themes, including the bumpin' "Dubious Dealer," the rockin' "Gallant Gunshot," and the dark and foreboding "Illicit Ideology -Invasion-" (cool track names, right?). A few featured remixes take a more modern approach, but for a soundtrack that focuses on a retro soundscape, I can't say they did much for me. While Ginga Force nails that retro shmup sound perfectly, I feel there's a lot of flash here without substance. Very few tracks stuck with me after repeated listens, which is a shame, because it's so well-composed and produced. Still, fans of this retro style or the game itself may find something to like, especially with in-game context. [embed]253588:48624:0[/embed] MONACO / GENTLEMAN'S PRIVATE COLLECTION - BundleRelease Date: April 24, 2013Price: $9Availability: BandcampArtist(s): Austin WintoryWe loved Monaco, but what you might not have known is that Journey's Austin Wintory was behind the music. This bundle combines the original soundtrack with a series of remixes by artists that include Mega Ran, VikingGuitar, and others. But don't come looking for a follow-up to Journey. This honky tonk piano score is a ton of fun and is not meant to be a moving orchestral experience. So forget about Journey coming into this and enjoy it for what it is: an incredibly zany and original score that matches the game's visuals and chaotic gameplay quite perfectly. I love the rambunctious main theme, "What's Yours Is Mine," the swanky "Liquidity," and the tense "The Devil's Trick." The remixes are also quite nice, including a jazzy flute performance by Laura Intravia, a fun a cappella by Peter Hollens, the ominous cello of Tina Guo, and some retro gaminess provided by William Kage. Check out the game and the soundtrack. They're both a blast and worth your investment! SOUL SACRIFICE Original SoundtrackRelease Date: March 13, 2013Price: 3,150 Yen ($31) (physical) / $9.99 (digital)Availability: CD Japan (physical) / PlayStation Network Store (digital)Artist(s): Yasunori Mitsuda and Wataru Hokoyama [Sound Samples] This isn't your typical Mitsuda and Hokoyama (AFRIKA). I've been extremely curious to see how they would tackle a darker title like Soul Sacrifice, and as you'd expect given their work with the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra, you've got a lot of big, bombastic, and tense orchestral soundscapes. The production values here are amazing. There are a lot of great moments, but unfortunately there isn't a lot to latch onto with track lengths falling under two minutes. To name a few of my favorites, though, I love the exotic female vocals and swaying strings in "A Certain Magician's Life," the somber "Tearful Tone," the beautiful string swells in "Requiem Within," the uplifting and adventurous "The Sky Used to be Blue," and the horrifying "Rumbles Echoing with Regrets." There's also some great electric guitar work in tracks like "Dangerous Miasma," "An Eternal Fight to End," and the main theme, "Soul Melody.” The closing track, "Hope and Future on the Same Page," finally shows a softer side and also incorporates vocals. Overall, I really like this album, but don't see myself coming back to it often. I just wish there were some lengthier listening experiences to really allow some of these great ideas to sink in. [embed]253588:48625:0[/embed] Star Command Original SoundtrackRelease Date: May 2, 2013Price: $8Availability: BandcampArtist(s): Marius Masalar If you're like me and weren't following Star Command, it's a pretty awesome and deep spaceship strategy game for iOS. The game certainly displays a sense of humor that is present throughout the comically epic space orchestra soundtrack. It's just unfortunate that there's only 40 minutes of it, given how much time I know I'd end up spending on this game. Right out the gate, you have the powerful "Skyward (Star Command Theme)" which is quite fitting. The regal brass of "Admiral on the Horn," the strong melody and sense of tension in "Steady as She Blows," the quirky "Doing Science," and the contemplative "Wonder" (my favorite track) all stand out. Still, $8 may be too much to ask for a soundtrack without a big name behind it. I really dig a lot of the lengthier tracks but wish some of the others had the play times to develop further. I'd love to hear some arrangements, however, as there are some solid ideas and melodies present. [embed]253588:48626:0[/embed] The Lost Angelic Chronicles of Frane: Dragons' Odyssey Original SoundtrackRelease Date: May 11, 2012Price: $10Availability: BandcampArtist(s): Steven Jordan Jordan "bLiNd" Steven's appearance at MAGFest 2013 and release of NESteryears have been some of my favorite things this year, so I was curious to see how he'd tackle a traditional action RPG. What we have is two hours of amazingly well-produced music written for the US release of the game (replacing the Japanese soundtrack), covering all of the typical RPG trappings from rockin' battle themes to jovial towns and ominous dungeons. I'll touch on a few of my favorites. A piano rendition of the main theme titled "Salvation" is both contemplative and catchy (and, in my opinion, is far superior to the vocal version of the theme that's also featured on this album), while "Snow Angels" channels the same vibe with strings and some dreamy reverberating guitar work. From there, it's time to rock out with the Asian-flavored "Fired Up!," the badass "Hell's Angel," the tumultuous and epic "Hades Beckons," and the retro-tinged "Bloody Rose." In all, this is a pleasant surprise from Steven, whom I've mostly known for his electronic work. I think he's well on his way to doing great things in a variety of genres and styles if this is any indication.
Latest Game Soundtracks photo
Note Worthy 015: Soundtracks you should be listening to!
Top honors for this month's Note Worthy go to a new guitar duo, The Altered Beasts, who you may recognize as the guitar players from the best game music cover band out there, The OneUps. The two team up for their debut album,...

Dark Arisen photo
Dark Arisen

Latest Dragon's Dogma update may destroy your save file


You better back it up
May 01
// Harry Monogenis
Well, snap, talk about a patch release going horribly wrong; Capcom Unity has put out a warning of sorts aimed at Dragon's Dogma and Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen players regarding a recent patch that was pushed out. Failu...

Very quick tips for Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen

May 01 // Chris Carter
General tips: Capcom recommends that you level to at least 45 before you begin the new Dark Arisen content, the Bitterblack Isle. You actually will need to be around level 70 before you really start to feel comfortable. As a side note, it is possible to go in the first few areas, run around, and find items well below level 45. If you deploy a Portcrystal (an expensive item that lets you return to a point on the world map with a Ferrystone) in your first playthrough, it will remain there in New Game+. You can deploy up to 10 crystals (even in your first playthrough, as the one crystal limit is gone in Dark Arisen) -- use this to your advantage if you want to level up to 45-70 through New Game+ to tackle the Dark Arisen content. Remember, Dark Arisen gives you a free infinite-use Ferrystone if you have a save file from the original game. Once you boot up Dark Arisen with an old save file, you'll find your new bonus items at the inn, in a chest. Only one save per account can make use of these bonuses, so if you play in a household with multiple gamers, have them save a generic file before you sell/trade the original game in. Take every Notice Board quest ever. The quest system in Dragon's Dogma is pretty awesome. You can take a ton of quests at once and not worry about overcrowding. A ton of the board quests are "kill x amount of enemies" -- you'll do a lot of these automatically by just playing the game. In Dark Arisen, a lot of the DLC quests are hidden in random boards. Switch Vocations (respec classes) frequently. Augmentations, skills, and core skills carry over to other classes, and can help create unstoppable hybrid characters. Augmentations can be used across all Vocations, but some will limit you in terms of skills that are attached to equipment -- a dagger ability will not work with a staff based class, for instance. Switching between Vocations is free once you buy them. Oh, and if you want to change Vocations, learn skills, and so on, you do that at the Gran Soren inn. Save frequently. If a Pawn says something like "this would be a great opportunity to ambush us," you are probably going to get attacked soon. The way saves work is the game holds two types of saves on one file -- a quicksave (usually room-to-room checkpoints or by actually hitting "save" on the start menu), and a hard save at the inn. If you find yourself in a terrible spot, you may want to completely reload an inn save -- to do this, pause the game and select return to last checkpoint. If you want to load a quicksave, you have to quit the game entirely without saving, or just simply die and select the top option. Confusing, I know. Speaking of the inn, make sure you actually pay the 500G to rest frequently before heading out. Not only does this reset your maximum health bar (the white space degrades over time as you take damage), but it also can reset the time of day to "Morning," which means less deadly enemies roaming the world map, and an easier exploration experience. Remember to constantly cycle your support Pawns as they do not level up. You can limit your Pawn's abilities to customize them down to the exact tactics you want him to use. You don't have to have a Pawn fill every single ability slot. Compliment your own playstyle with your Main Pawn -- if you're heavy on physical damage, make him magical, and so on. If a support Pawn dies, all of the items will go back to your inn's storage chest -- the game will warn you before you offer up a gift to the Pawn's owner, which cannot be returned. Pick up everything, ever. Don't be afraid to use your Pawns as pack mules, as all items will go back to your storage if they die. You never know when a seemingly useless item will come in handy for a weapon or armor augmentation/enhancement. Speaking of enhancements, use the armory near the inn in Gran Soren for that. Like Demon's/Dark Souls, weight matters. Make sure your character is light in terms of what they're carrying -- again, pack mule Pawns are great for this. Pawns can use restoration items if you give them the right ones. For instance, give them Secret Softener, and they will automatically heal the stone condition when fighting an enemy like the Cockatrice. Deck out your Main Pawn in cool gear, name him something catchy (a pop culture reference will earn you lots of summons), and even-out his skillset. You'll find that other players will hire him more, which will earn you extra RP to spend on new items in the Dark Arisen content. The best way to farm experience/loot if you're looking to boost to level 70 is to use the Everfall dungeon. You'll encounter part of the Everfall in one of my first quests in the game, but the real dungeon doesn't open up until after you've completed the main quest -- it is essentially a giant post-game dungeon that lets you fight various bosses over again, Mega Man style. You can farm Wakestones to sell to merchants -- use the Sorceror's Suasion augmentation, equipped on both yourself and your Main Pawn and sell Wakestones to make mad easy cash during these runs. Don't turn in the 20 Wakestones required to end the quest before you're sure you want to start a New Game+ run -- you will not be able to return to the Everfall dungeon to farm until you've beaten the game again. Want to farm Everfall items the extreme way? Save right before you're at a group of chests in the Chamber of Hope. If you don't like the items, use the Godsbane item to kill yourself, and restart from your last quicksave point. Are you having trouble doing damage? Buy buff charms from Fournival (make sure you acquit him in the trial!). You can use up to four buff charms at a time, and Fournival sells an infinite amount. Another tactic to dealing more damage is to stack one type. If you're a hybrid class that uses physical or magical attacks, try stacking one over the other -- you need to reach a certain threshold. This works especially well on Death in the new content. Dagger Vocations can use the double jump ability to get to some hidden areas in the new Arisen content. Want easy healing items to take to the new content? Buy tons of empty flasks, and head to the Wellspring near Gran Soren. You can fill these up and heal your entire party with them. Are you a fan of the manga/anime Berserk? You can get Guts and Griffith's armor and weapons in the core game (same with the original Dragon's Dogma for that matter). Go to the Ancient Quarry, talk to the NPC in front of it, and complete the two quests involved. The merchant will set up shop near the room where the thieves ambushed you, and he'll sell both pieces of armor. You should be around level 20 before you tackle the monsters within.
Dragon's Dogma guide photo
Don't be bitter on Bitterblack Isle
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is out, which means thousands of newcomers who haven't experienced the game yet are itching to finally try out the franchise for the first time. Once you get the hang of things, Dragon's Dogma as a whole isn't that tough, but there's a ton of concepts to grasp before you get to that point. Here's some tips to help ease you into the dragon-slaying state of mind.

Review: Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen

Apr 29 // Chris Carter
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: CapcomPublisher: CapcomReleased: April 23, 2013MSRP: $39.99 Bitterblack Isle is the main draw of Dark Arisen, as it offers up approximately 10-15 hours of new, linear content. After automatically gaining a new quest and speaking to an NPC named Olra, you'll be on your way to Bitterblack Isle -- the decidedly Demon's/Dark Souls flavored new zone. When I say this area is linear, I mean it -- you'll basically start at the top, and head down into the depths of a single dungeon as you fight creature after creature. For people who love the game's combat, Bitterblack Isle will most likely win you over due to the fact that it's nonstop fighting. New bosses will pepper the dungeon, some of which are actually new, some of which are re-skins or reworks of already existing enemies. To be blunt, Bitterblack Isle didn't blow me away, but it was a pretty fun experience that augmented the game decently enough. Capcom channeled their inner Demon's Souls love for Bitterblack Isle in a good way, and even if it wasn't as imaginative as either game in the Souls series, it still did a decent job of giving off the allure of a dark and dangerous place. The addition of the personification of Death in particular (that could show up at any moment) makes the experience even more harrowing, and despite some frustration with Pawn combat, was a neat addition to the fray. You'll need to be level 45 to really event stand a chance with the new content (even though you can enter it at any time), and around level 70 to comfortably best it -- so if you're expecting to jump right in with your low level or non-existent character, you'll be disappointed. After besting Bitterblack, you can go at it again with an even tougher challenge. If you're returning from the original game with a save file, you'll earn yourself a bonus of an unlimited use Ferrystone (previously expensive one-use fast-travel items), 100,000 Rift Points (which you can use to hire Pawns or access new items on Bitterblack Isle), and six unique outfits (which will be in your storage, at the inn). There's also a "texture enhancement and Japanese voice pack" on a second disc included with Dark Arisen that smooths out the game's visuals (only slightly, in my experience) and decreases load times. When I say that Capcom could have done better here to entice returning players, that's an understatement. There's no real new skills to speak of or new modes -- so the 10 or so hours of content won't really be enough to sway some of you if you aren't keen on replaying the game over and over (and thus, multiple playthroughs of Bitterblack Isle). Capcom also didn't use this opportunity to rework the biggest issues of Dragon's Dogma -- namely, the Pawn system. For the uninitiated, your party consists of yourself, one other party member who can level up with you (a special Pawn), and two other NPCs called "Pawns." The latter two characters cannot level up, utilize unique equipment, or otherwise progress with your main two characters. Now, the prospect of constant hiring static characters has worked in other games, but here, it kind of falls flat. Mostly this is due to the fact that Pawns are still as dumb as a box of rocks, which causes problems during the game's toughest combat situations -- most of which occur in the new Dark Arisen content. Pawns are supposed to "adapt" after fighting a new enemy, but the problem is two-fold -- the game presupposes you're willing to put up with a dumber than normal AI for the first encounter, and even then, sometimes the Pawns will still act like morons during the next fight with the same enemy type. Finally, the repetitive dialog from the Pawns returns (even if you sit them down and tell them to talk less using a special area), despite Capcom's claims that they toned down the repetition. But for every misstep, Dragon's Dogma as a whole can really shine. You'll completely forget about your trials and tribulations with some of the antiquated mechanics as you're slashing your way through a giant creature, leveling up your two main characters, and trying out new skills, classes and strategies to best your enemies. All of that core gameplay translates to Dark Arisen, not to mention the fact that the entire original game (with all DLC, including the Hard Mode and Speed Run gametypes) is included in the package. Capcom could have done better with their upgrades to the game, but fortunately for them, the original game is charming enough for newcomers in particular. With a price drop on Dark Arisen, you'd be crazy not to at least try to experience the world of Dragon's Dogma for the first time. [embed]252264:48306:0[/embed] In an odd move, the game is only available currently in its fully priced form -- so if you own the original, you need to purchase the $39.99 disc or full digital game with no option to purchase a discounted DLC package. As a result, it's really tough to recommend the game to anyone who felt lukewarm with the original given the fact that it's essentially the same experience, just with a new island. The small extras almost feel like a bribe of sorts, and Capcom could have done much better than this. Then again, it works both ways as you could rent the original, save a file, and then reap these benefits with Dark Arisen as your first experience. While I can't wholly recommend Dark Arisen to anyone but the most hardcore of Dragon's Dogma fans, if you haven't touched the franchise yet, this is a perfect opportunity to do so. Despite the issues, the series is an intriguing prospect that does many things right, and shouldn't be missed by action or RPG fans alike. While Capcom could have done a whole lot more with this expansion, the fact of the matter is the solid game underneath is still faithfully preserved.
DD: Dark Arisen review photo
Sometimes, dragons may double-dip
I thought Jim was spot on with his review of the original Dragon's Dogma. It had grand ideas, but in many areas, it failed to execute them, and was marred by some fairly glaring design choices. With a full sequel, Capcom coul...

Dark Arisen photo
Dark Arisen

More foes to be fought in Dragon's Dogma: DA trailer


They are all ready and waiting...to be slayed!
Apr 22
// Raz Rauf
With Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen available from today for US citizens, and just a couple days away for their European counterparts, Capcom decided to shower us with more enemies to feast our eyes upon in a trailer. This...
New releases photo
New releases

New releases: Don't Starve will be the end of you


Plus Dead Island: Riptide, Star Trek, StarDrive, and Monaco
Apr 22
// Fraser Brown
I'm a bit late with this week's new releases, as I'm still recovering from my wee sister's wedding, where I wracked up an ungodly bar bill. Your sympathy and donations will be greatly appreciated.  It's a busy week, and...

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