Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen (Switch) Review

One of the best things about re-releases is the ability for more players to experience something. Similar to Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy, Dragon’s Dogma is offering Switch players the chance to try it at home or on the go. With this being the latest in a long series of re-releases, will the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 title prove to be a wise decision or is it time to move on?

For Switch owners who have never played the game before, Dragon’s Dogma story is quite bland. Upon booting the game, you will be playing as a customizable human avatar in your quest to rid of the dragon in a dark dungeon. You will followed by three AI-controlled character called Pawns, which unfortunately can only be controlled by giving them directions. While it may sound disappointing that your companions are all AI-controlled, each of them have their own unique classes and there is a plethora of them that you can recruit.

Upon the defeat of the Dragon, time will be fast-forwarded where you will now find yourself in a town where you will see that a Dragon is once again terrorizing the townspeople. As you attack the Dragon and put it in its demise once and for all, it unfortunately takes your heart. Luckily, with everything that happened, you find yourself still alive and with this, you are marked as the Arisen, a figure destined to face the Dragon and stop the coming apocalypse.

Pawn is the alternative word for followers in the game. In your adventure in defeating the Dragon, you will seek help from the pawns from the otherworld through the Rift stone. At the beginning of the game, you will have to customize your Pawn that will aid you in your journey. Up to two pawns can join you and each of them can have different vocations/job classes. Customizing your pawns is similar as customizing your own character. They can equip armors, learn skills, and pretty much have the same thing as the main character does, except it will be controlled by the A.I. most of the time.

Pawns will be useful in Dragon’s Dogma especially in tough boss fights. When in a middle of a big fight, your pawns can help you in several things such as healing, give you buffs to increase the effectiveness of weapons and many more. It’s imperative to choose the right combination of pawns as it will benefit your adventure. Having different classes in your party, pretty much a healer, a tank or warrior, will be an idea combination. Within Dragon’s Dogma, your character and the pawn can move from one vocation to the next, depending on how well you train your party.

Hoping for an online co-op, players will be disappointed as Dragon’s Dogma doesn’t have any co-operative gameplay, despite having all those pawns. However, the game has some kind of an online feature and it will involve you searching and recruiting pawns online. Since you will be asked to connect your game online, the data and stats of the pawn you’re using will be uploaded on the server for everyone to download. It gets updated every time you sleep in the inn. Those who are looking for a Pawn should check out the Rift stones, which can be found in all towns. Please note that before this can work, please make sure that you are subscribed to Nintendo Switch Online service.

Nothing has been really changed in terms of gameplay. Instead of the traditional turn-based system, Dark Arisen has real-time action combat. During battle, players will have to combine two buttons to perform a combo. One is a heavy while other is a light attack. Upon progressing throughout the game, your avatar will learn new skills and you can combine those basic attacks to the skills that you set.

As far as classes go, they are called vocations in Dragon’s Dogma. There are three levels of vocations available in the game: Fighter, Strider and Mage. When any of these three are mastered, the next set of vocation will be unlocked which are the Warrior, Ranger and Sorcerer. And for the last vocation, there are Mystic Knight, Assassin and Magick Archer. To get one from vocation to the next, you must acquire enough discipline points through quests.

Gamers who love questing will love Dragon’s Dogma. Yes, it does have a lot of content that you can do. There are about over a hundred quests available in the main story quests and there are even more that gets unlocked after beating the game.

For anyone who has played Dark Arisen before from either the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, what you will be playing on the Switch is the same version. All of the previously released DLCs for Dragon’s Dogma are released in the Dark Arisen version, which means there is a plethora of meaty content to look forward to. However, those who are expecting some sort extra content for the Switch version, there is sadly none.

As far as visuals goes, the game looks a little bit rough but certainly not a bad one. While the game is somewhat open-world, the vistas and environment that you get to see are breathtaking. Regardless if you are playing handheld or docked mode, the complaint that I had before is unfortunately apparent on this one. Prepare to encounter random pop-ups in both textures and characters. Fortunately, the technical glitches aren’t really a hindrance for you to enjoy the game.


Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen on Nintendo Switch shows the title has certainly aged. While the visuals are not on par with other titles, it still has plenty of moments that will appeal to hardcore RPG fans. Given the amount of time players can invest, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen retains its charm despite shortcomings. Though, if you don’t care about the portable aspect, the Xbox One, PC and PlayStation 4 versions will give you a better overall experience.