Dragon's Dogma 2 is the best RPG since Elden Ring — here's my verdict after 30 hours

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a rewarding fantasy RPG that isn’t afraid to frustrate players

Dragon's Dogma 2 screenshot
(Image: © Capcom)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a unique RPG that succeeds in making you feel like a fantasy hero on an epic adventure. The overarching story is disappointingly flimsy, but the memorable moments you’ll create along the way stay with you.


  • +

    Huge world

  • +

    Versatile class system

  • +

    Thrilling combat

  • +

    Sense of adventure


  • -

    Generic fantasy story

  • -

    Inconsistent performance

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Dragon's Dogma 2 review: Specs

Platforms: PC, PS5 (reviewed), Xbox Series X
Price: $69
Release Date: March 22, 2024
Genre: RPG

When I booted up Dragon’s Dogma 2 for the first time, I was surprised to see that the title screen omits the numeral, simply reading “Dragon’s Dogma”. At first, I wondered if it was an accidental oversight, but after sinking a couple of dozen hours into the game, I realized it was a very intentional statement. 

Released in 2012, the first Dragon’s Dogma presented some fascinating ideas: the companion system is novel, its large-scale combat encounters are exhilarating, and it’s set in a believable, and very hostile, fantasy world. But it also has a rough draft quality about it with blemishes that even the expanded Dark Arisen version released in 2013 couldn’t quite fix.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 takes the concept of its predecessor and presents it in a finished form. This is the Dragon’s Dogma game that I suspect the development team at Capcom had envisioned creating the first time around. And that makes Dragon’s Dogma 2 a very appealing proposition for players craving an RPG that isn’t afraid to be demanding.

If you embark on this adventure you’ll have to tolerate some aspects that add more frustration than fun, and its quest writing lacks originality. But Dragon’s Dogma 2 is one of the most absorbing games I’ve ever played and constantly made me feel like a medieval hero questing across a vast open-world. Read on for our full Dragon’s Dogma 2 review.

Dragon's Dogma 2: Cheat Sheet

  • What is it? Dragon’s Dogma 2 is an action RPG set in an original fantasy world that casts you as a legendary hero on a mission to defeat a mythical dragon and save the entire realm.
  • Who is it for? Players seeking a demanding RPG will love Dragon’s Dogma 2. Combat encounters can be difficult, and you’ll need to carefully consider character upgrades and manage resources. Players looking to get lost in a fantasy world will also find much to enjoy. 
  • What is the price? Dragon’s Dogma 2 costs $69 on PS5, Xbox Series X and PC. There is also a digital Deluxe Edition, which includes an additional DLC pack, and costs $79.
  • What other games has the developer made? Dragon’s Dogma 2 comes from Capcom, the Japanese publisher/developer responsible for the likes of Resident Evil, Devil May Cry and Monster Hunter. 
  • What games is this similar to? Dragon’s Dogma is a fairly unique concoction but its closest parallels are Elden Ring, Monster Hunter World and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Dragon's Dogma 2: The basics

Dragon's Dogma 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Capcom)

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a third-person role-playing game where you play the “Arisen”. Essentially, you’re a mythical hero who is destined to save the realm (yes, it’s pretty generic fantasy stuff). You begin your adventure by creating your protagonist in the game’s truly ludicrously deep character creator, and then repeat the process over to create a computer-controlled companion known as a “Pawn”. 

Assembling a party of up to three Pawns — your custom Pawn sticks with you throughout but the other two can be swapped at will from a randomly selected pool of Pawns created by other players — you embark on lengthy quests across an almost intimidatingly large open world. Throughout, Dragon’s Dogma 2 refuses to hold your hand, with many quests only giving you a vague idea of where to go or what’s required to advance further.

Dragon's Dogma 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Capcom)

The large map is filled to bursting with all manner of deadly threats from packs of wolves to gigantic mountain trolls and much more. If you don’t carefully plan for all possibilities, your Arisen will fall in mere seconds. Emerging from skirmishes victorious requires you to keep your wits about you and always play to the strength of your character class and Pawns.

The hardcore nature of Dragon’s Dogma 2 will be off-putting to players looking for a more accessible game that can be enjoyed casually. But players craving a game that genuinely makes them feel like a fantasy adventurer will be enthralled. And occasionally frustrated. 

Dragon's Dogma 2: The Ups

All vocations are viable

Dragon's Dogma 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Capcom)

Like the majority of RPGs, Dragon’s Dogma 2 packs a class system that determines your combat abilities and what equipment you can effectively wield. Unlike some of its contemporaries, where you select a class at the start, and are then locked in, Dragon’s Dogma 2 gives you the freedom to switch to a new class (called a “vocation” here) freely.

You can start as a sword and shield-wielding knight, and then experiment with a little magic as a mage, before switching back at will. The flexibility of the Vocation system ensures that combat never grows stale, and it also allows you to approach tricky boss encounters in different ways. If a sword isn’t getting the job done, why not try a bow and arrow instead? 

However, I found that the more I played, the less incentive I felt to regularly switch to new unlockable Vocations as my preferred classes had ranked up to a high enough level that swapping to an unleveled one started to feel like more of a combat hindrance than a help.

Expect the unexpected

Dragon's Dogma 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Capcom)

You’ll find no shortage of dynamic moments in Dragon’s Dogma 2. When traveling between the game’s numerous towns you're guaranteed to stumble upon something dangerous. Usually, you’ll encounter hulking enemies that will wreak havoc on your party, but the world is also brimming with secrets to uncover and valuable treasures to loot.

Even when you’re housed within the stone walls of a larger settlement, you’re not always safe. I had one memorable encounter where a minotaur wandered into the town square, and the ensuing brawl saw all manner of damage to the city’s market stalls and ornate statues.

Quests can be similarly unpredictable. While several boil down to little more than going to a certain place on the map and killing whatever you find. There are a handful of more original questlines, and some of the very best quests incorporate player choice in rewarding ways.

I'm going on an adventure

Dragon's Dogma 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Capcom)

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a little lacking in a few key areas (more below) but there’s one area where it excels in a way I’ve not experienced since Elden Ring: Its sense of adventure.

The simple act of leaving the (relative) safety of a city tavern, and heading deep into the wilderness feels thrilling. Before you set off you’ll need to ensure you’re well rested to restore your health and have purchased all the necessary provisions you might need on your journey. In the hostile world of Dragon’s Dogma 2, if you’re not prepared for the journey ahead, you will fail.  

While fast travel is an option, it’s restricted and requires a rare consumable resource, which further serves to make the simple act of getting from point A to B feel like an achievement. 

Dragon's Dogma 2: The downs

Occasional frustrations

Dragon's Dogma 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Capcom)

The downside of Dragon Dogma 2’s hardcore approach comes in the form of occasionally frustrating moments. Stripping away many modern conveniences found in other fantasy RPGs greatly adds to the overall sense of adventure, but can lead to no-win scenarios.

For example, during an early game quest, I was tasked with clearing out a cave full of goblins. After making my way through the cave, culling goblins as I went, I emerged with my party in bad shape. My health was depleted, and I had run out of restorative resources. The ensuing trek back to town, along a path swarming with enemies, was absolutely maddening. I was ultimately forced to inch my way back to safety, creating a new save every few steps.

Granted, the above situation arose because I was ill-equipped for the task at hand, but it’s not uncommon for Dragon’s Dogma 2 to put you in situations that can cross over from fun to frustrating. Fortunately, the moments of sheer delight easily win out in the end.

You've heard this one before

Dragon's Dogma 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Capcom)

Dragon’s Dogma 2 has plenty of personality. Some of the banter between Pawns is downright hilarious. At one point, a recently recruited Pawn questioned why my whole party was comprised exclusively of males (I recruited a female at the next town out of shame).

However, the game’s main story, and the majority of quest writing, are less remarkable. There’s a generic quality to Dragon’s Dogma 2’s quests, and the game’s lore relies heavily on overdone fantasy tropes. But even if the game’s main story isn’t especially compelling, the tales you create yourself while adventuring will stay with you.

Frequently dropping frames

Dragon's Dogma 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Capcom)

It’s also worth noting that Dragon’s Dogma 2 struggles to maintain a consistent framerate on PS5. While the visuals are generally impressive with strong animation work and plenty of sweeping vistas encouraging me to play with Photo Mode regularly, the framerate is far from stable. Particularly during hectic combat expect dips below 30fps.

I never found the framerate hitches to be a dealbreaker. However, if you have a low tolerance for performance hiccups, then you might want to wait until Dragon’s Dogma 2 receives a few post-launch patches. Hopefully, this will remedy this largely minor issue.

Dragon's Dogma 2: Verdict

Dragon's Dogma 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Capcom)

Dragon's Dogma 2 has a few notable stumbling blocks but when it's methodical gameplay systems click together, it's rivals the very best efforts in the RPG genre. 

Every time I gathered my party, equipped my best gear, pooled together my resources, and ventured out into its hostile world, I relished how Dragon’s Dogma 2 had me completely captivated. In those memorable moments, any lingering frustrations melted away as I was transported to a compelling fantasy world. 

However, I cannot universally recommend Dragon Dogma 2. Its refusal to make concessions in the name of convenience will alienate some players. But if you’re looking for an experience that conveys a real sense of adventure, and you’re willing to put in the work to overcome the drawback of its unapologetic vision, then Dragon’s Dogma 2 is an essential purchase. 

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.