Dragon’s Dogma II Vs. Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen, What’s New?

Rise, our fellow Arisen for it’s time for Dragon’s Dogma II, the new follow-up to the already perfect Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen. No, seriously, the game’s release date is March 22nd, 2024, which is like tomorrow~ and we’re beyond ecstatic. Dragon’s Dogma II is shaping up as a true game of the year contender, nay, a game-changing, genre-defining, open-world RPG. Can y’all tell we’re fanboys, and just itching to go at it?

Let’s face it, the competition in 2024 is fierce. There are some massive hits like Helldivers 2 that’s recently hit the 8 million milestone and is still going strong. Then, there’s Final Fantasy VII Rebirth vindicating the fanbase with THAT romance. The point is, Dragon’s Dogma II has its work cut out. So, now, let’s see what’s new and original in this one from the first title.

RELATED: What Is A Moniker in Dragon’s Dogma II?

What Are The New Features In Dragon’s Dogma II?

Dragon's Dogma II is chock full of new features to discover.

Know this: Dragon’s Dogma II is the passion project of Mr. Devil May Cry himself, Hideaki Itsuno. The love and creativity in this game show he cares to provide the best possible experience for gamers. The guy’s drive to entertain his fans is in the same vein as the late great Akira Toriyama, who’s legacy encompasses Dragon Ball and Chrono Trigger.

So, given that the predecessor to Dragon’s Dogma II is over a decade old, there’s bound to be new features, right? No, duh~ of course there are tons of new features in Dragon’s Dogma II. We’ll go through the broad-stroke approach, and give you bite-sized info on all of the confirmed ones so far. Keep in mind, this is all from the official info out there, plus our own experience playing the demo version. Now let’s roll!

Map Size Presentation In Dragon’s Dogma II is 4 Times Bigger, Denser, And Has Twists

Behold, a glimpse of the new maps in Dragon's Dogma 2.

So, like those rare times when bigger is definitely gonna be better, Dragon’s Dogma II brings its new map size which is huuuuge~ we’re not kidding. Itsuno-San also shared his insight into the map size. It’s so big that it’s roughly 4 times bigger than the original. But he also said the focus was not just expansion of the playable area, but to give the sense of a living breathing world. Not just empty spaces ala Dragon Age Inquisition. Shots fired~ Besides, the guy climbed an actual mountain to seek inspiration and ideas for the game! How cool is that?

Simply majestic.

Mr. Hideaki Itsuno also said that the story takes place in an alternate mirror world of the original game, Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen. Many of the locales will be similar in design, but not the same. But more importantly, you’ll see much more diverse environments, too. Three major cities are gonna be where the bulk of the game’s narrative and quest activity will take place. There’s the cliff-side nation of beast-folk, Battahl, the human kingdom settlement of Vermund, and the pristinely beautiful Elven region of Sacred Arbor.

Beautiful.

Oh, and in a daring move, there won’t be any map markers and HUDs flooding your screen in Dragon’s Dogma II. You’ll have to travel and explore on foot most of the time, not that we’re gonna complain about it. There are gonna be more immersive random encounters with much more engaging dynamics. Fancy way of saying you’ll get quests that way, and if you don’t take your time with map exploration, you’ll miss out on them. This creates a new layer of intrigue in Dragon’s Dogma 2.

The Character Creator Is Bananas In The Best Way Possible

The character creator in Dragon's Dogma II will have new features.

So, another nifty little feature of Dragon’s Dogma 2 that’s new and improved is the already excellent character creator. This time around, you’ll even have the option of finetuning the look you want. Your Arisen will act out your roleplay fantasy vision. The amount of options just in the base versions alone is astonishing with over 200 human facial scans in the database. But more importantly, if ya ever felt like playing as beast-folks, well now you can.

AHHH!

Yep, the templates for different races are there, and you can take your time to create the perfect hero/heroine of legend. Or, come up with unholy abominations that shouldn’t see the light of day, but you’ll do it anyway. Hey, we’re not judging, you do you. Either way, it’s gonna be tons of fun to tinker around to get that unique look just right. Of course, you’ll spend hours and hours, but it’ll be worth it in the end… right?

New and even more diverse selection of body types in Dragon's Dogma II.

Oh, and the improved facial animations will be a treat to watch in action, too. The are a total of 9 base presets for each body type, on top of the dual gender option.  The point we’re making is that players can select from pre-made options and then further modify them according to their taste. It’s gonna be totally fun, too. Plus, it’s not just the aesthetic feature or the weight and height that’ll matter gameplay-wise. Some NPCs will react differently depending on which race you pick, but mostly the whole narrative will be the same.

New Vocations Come With A Balance Of Combat Skills Choices

Vocations in Dragon's Dogma II.

Now we get to the meat of the new content that’ll you see in Dragon’s Dogma II. There are 10 classes or vocations if you will in Dragon’s Dogma II, 4 starting ones, and 6 more that unlock later after progression. The ones from Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen are given tweaks to suit and balance the more flexible system of this new entry. Here’s the rundown of the classes:

  • 1.) Fighter. Main weapons – Single-handed Sword, and  Shield pairing. Role – Well-balanced for offense, defense, and tanking.
  • 2.) Thief. Main weapons – Dual Daggers. Role – Stealth and agility to close in on enemies before slicing them down.
  • 3.) Mage. Main weapons – Magic Staves. Role – Keeping their distance while providing support, healing, and some primary offense spells.
  • 4.) Archer. Main weapons – Long Bow. Role – Peppering enemies from afar with lethal arrows of varying effects.
Advanced vocations that are new in Dragon's Dogma II.
  • 5.) Sorcerer. Man Weapons – Magic Staves. Role – Powerful offensive spells that deal high damage and instantly clear the field, must have time and space to cast, though.
  • 6.) Warrior. Main weapons – Two-handed Swords. Role – Tear through crowds of enemies and tackle the biggest threat.
Mystic Spearhand vs. Magick Archer.
  • 7.) Mystic Spearhand. Main weapons – The Duospear. Role – Offensive hybrid of close-range physical and medium-range magical attacks with emphasis on mobility. (Exclusive to Arisen).

8.) Magic Archer. Main weapons – Magic Bow/Arrow. Role – Hitting enemies with elemental charged arrows and magical attacks from a safe distance. (Exclusive to Arisen).

Trickster class is new in Dragon's Dogma II.

9.) Trickster. Main weapons – Ceremonial Censor. Role – Using tricks, illusions, and deceptions, bait enemies into compromising positions to finish them off. (Exclusive to Arisen).

Warfarer.

10.) Warfarer. Main weapons – Any/All. Role – Mix and match strategies by choosing from all the skills and weapons of other classes. (Exclusive to Arisen).

More Jankier Charm Of Dragon’s Dogma II Will Feel Both Oddly New And Familiar

The janky charm.

So, look, it’s no secret that Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen had its flaws, the jank was real, but that was part of its charm. Its indescribably alluring identity now is inherited in Dragon’s Dogma II but with a bit of a new twist. The environments are still as deadly to you as they are to your enemies. Minding your surroundings is gonna be critical to not dying. When you climb atop enemies and are hacking away at’em, make sure to retreat at the right time or you’ll fall off dangerous heights.

Jank and clunkiness are fun.

The dodge and parry window is also a bit tighter. You’re also limited in skill slots so movement and positioning will be a huge factor. The luscious environments in the RE engine look incredible, but the uncapped frame rate can and will lead to problematic performance in Dragon’s Dogma II. The rendering might slow down, and there might be even input lag or hits not registering. We’re hoping this issue gets resolved post-launch. But yeah, otherwise, expect more of the old janky stuff with the new in Dragon’s Dogma II.

Dynamic Pawn System Is More Integral To The Gameplay

Pawns retain old features while picking up new ones in Dragon's Dogma II.

So, the big unique feature of the original Dragon’s Dogma that makes a comeback in Dragon’s Dogma II with new refinements is the pawn system. Pawns are AI-controlled companions that accompany you throughout your journey. They’re vital to the lore and the gameplay, too, evolving constantly by observing the Arisen’s behavior. Like in the previous game, Dragon’s Dogma II lets you create and finetune your primary pawn. They’ll stick by your side through thick and thin. Additionally, when you’re playing online in Dragon’s Dogma II, you can hire two additional pawns.

Wandering pawns.

These won’t be permanent and will be other player’s created pawns. Depending on if you’re far behind on the story and are in the early-game phase, you might encounter pawns with unique gear, weapons, items, and even knowledge of quests you’ve yet to begin. They’ll be super useful in that regard. If you’re playing offline, don’t worry. You can still hire the Capcom’s pre-made pawns, too, so you’re never gonna be lonely. In addition to filling up the numbers of your party, pawns also fill a very important role as Dragon’s Dogma II will have pawns with specializations.

Pawns will be vital to your survival.

Depending on the race of the pawn, and their specialization, they can help the Arisen in new ways. Hideaki Itsuno mentioned that there’s a new language designed specifically for the Elven race. Those pawns native to that race and having the Woodland Worsdsmith specialization will be able to translate tomes and establish communication with the Elven people. Neat, huh? Well, we’re expecting plenty of similarly new things in Dragon’s Dogma II. Oh, and it goes without saying but life’s much easier with pawns in surviving enemy encounters than without them.

Enemy Variety With New Creature Designs Feel More Polished In Dragon’s Dogma II

The new enemies are relentless in Dragon's Dogma II.

Dragon’s Dogma had a surprisingly good amount of variety, especially in the post-game content. With the Dark Arisen expansion and the Bitter Black Isle DLC, there were even more enemy types added to the game. How do Capcom and Istuno-San top that? Well, apparently quite easily, since there are tons of new enemies in Dragon’s Dogma II. They’re ruthless, and powerful, and possess terrifying yet badass designs, too.

Talos boss fight in Dragon's Dogma II.

In particular, the boss fights are a significant step up from the original game. There are so many jam-packed secrets in Dragon’s Dogma II, but one of the most outstanding ones was the Talos boss fight. Really, the throwback homage to The Shadow Of Colossus is done tastefully. It caught us by surprise, and we really had a blast in it. Sure, the pressure was on, but the fun factor was also through the roof. It felt a good chunk like playing Monster Hunter, too. Not surprising, given that Capcom owns that one, too.

The Sphinx.

Now, not all enemies will be driven by bloodlust alone. No, some will use cunning, and even talk during fights, like the drakes, wyverns, and dragons in the original Dragon’s Dogma. However, during our time with the game, there was one pleasant little surprise we managed to uncover. Yep, you know the one, that’s gonna be the target of many fan-arts and fan-fictions. The Sphinx. She’s no ordinary creature, she’ll fight if you mess up the answers to her riddles, yes you talk to her. You’ll have to impress her to progress in her plotline. These new additions to Dragon’s Dogma II are hella impressive.

Story Will Be More Prominent But Dragon’s Dogma II Is Experience-Driven To The Core

The new story is much more intriguing in Dragon's Dogma II.

Look, we’ll admit the previous Dragon’s Dogma game didn’t have the most captivating narrative. But it wasn’t that bad either. The twist of the cycle of the Arisen with the Dragon was still pretty cool, though. But, other than that, no other aspect of Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen really was all that memorable. The new story beats in Dragon’s Dogma II, though? Yeah, we’re digging that the main plot is also featuring politicking and scheming. We love a good mystery, too.

Take up arms, Arisen.

Yeah, there’s an imposter Arisen, too. We’re gonna uncover what’s up with that. In a way, these kinds of plot points already have us more curious to know about the story than the original. Also, the lack of markers and any sort of video gamey indicators will kinda force us to search every nook and cranny. Which, like, we said before, we don’t mind. The non-scripted events and enemy encounters will pad out the pacing excellently, too.

This is what  Itsuno-San meant by a more experience-driven game when he dissed on fast-travel. One thing’s for sure, he’s got style and substance backing his game and dared to openly say things most are shy about. We respect the hell out of that. But, yeah, one of the new things in Dragon’s Dogma II that’s making us wanna jump into the game straight away is the story. The different threads and storylines intersecting together, we have high expectations, now.

Last, But Not Least, Dragon’s Dogma II Will Have A New And Mature Romance System With Risque Action

Dragon's Dogma II will have a new romance system.

Well, saving the best for last, as ever, we’re now gonna briefly touch on Dragon’s Dogma II having a new romance system and mature content. Sure, the original also kinda had romance with it’s affinity system, but it felt tedious. We’re hoping for a more intuitive system to live out our geeky shipping fantasies. After all, we’re seeing some gorgeous and stunning candidates to woo by our Arisen. Whether it’s the deadly femme fatales or the pure-hearted Elven maidens, we’re gonna give it our all.

Good choice for romance eh?

Another thing to note here is that Dragon’s Dogma II ain’t gonna shy away from spicy scenes, either. Taking a page out of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Dragon’s Dogma II will have brothels for some extra quickies on the side. Now, we’re not one to judge, cause let’s be real, this is something we’re all gonna try one time or another in the game. We really appreciate this inclusion by Capcom and Hideaki Itsuno for not backing down against any backlash. Just pay attention to the person you wanna romance and you’ll score eventually.

Steamy and cute? Sign us up!

It’s not even that big of a deal if you think about it. Like, there is a market and sub-niche for games that dive into romantic fantasy fulfillment. We’ve even got a list of top-tier steamiest dating simulator romance games with great stories as proof. If the hard-hitting combat, janky movement and hijinks, superb enemy variety, and level design, as well as a welcome overhaul of the entire experience, are the highlights, then this new romance is the cherry on top of Dragon’s Dogma II. The only way it’ll be better is if there’s Into Free playing in the main menu, we’re not kidding when we say it’s among the most iconic video game soundtracks ever.

Final Thoughts

Phew~ that was quite a lot to cover, but we think we did most of it pretty well, huh? Well, the hype is real, and everything we’ve seen has us convinced that the other open-world games are gonna have some serious competition on their hands. Dragon’s Dogma II is like the new and improved version of the first one, and honestly, we’re here for it. So, then, who’s excited to play this one? We sure are, and if you’re like us, please tell us which class you’ll be starting as.

Well, that’s gonna do it for now, we’ll leave you with a bit of trivia and then a recommendation. Did you know Dragon’s Dogma has had an anime adaptation? It was crap, honestly. Flip side? We’ve got some great recommendations for awesome anime based on video games. Take a look-see, and tell us which one’s your favorite. Anyway, until next time, happy gaming fellow Arisen!

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Rafi Ahmed
Rafi Ahmed
Retro(and modern) gamer, proud comic geek, anime connoisseur, and opinionated peach without a filter. I'm bringing you hot takes, recommendations, and what-if fantasy scenarios and championing the gamer cause against corporate greed. You're welcome!

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