Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is not for the faint of heart, and that’s not because your heart is removed in the opening of the game. The game is difficult. It’s not one of those titles where you have to keep repeating the same challenge until you learn the pattern. It’s the ‘everything here is intelligent and will do its best when it comes to removing you from the world’ type of game, so here’s some tips and tricks to get you by.
These will help you in your exploration of Gransys. It will be tough, but you will overcome it all with the help of the Pawn Legion and the power of the Arisen.
Your Vocation Dictates Your Battle Style
When you start the game, shortly after the first major scene, you will have to choose a Vocation. These are basically the classes in Dark Arisen. You have Fighter, Strider, and Mage. While you are free to do whatever the heck you want in battle, each particular Vocation makes certain spots easier to control, and provides different means of success.
Wanna be a Mage? Be sure to stay far back and let your party handle a lot of the heavy lifting. You should never be standing right next to an enemy unless you have the ability to blind them or slow them down. Use your elemental buffs to give your party members the edge, and keep everyone alive with copious amounts of healing spells.
Striders are your Rogues, great at quickly striking for lots of damage, but also super useful for long range attacks. Since they play both the ranged and up-close sides of battle, they aren’t particularly well armored. Be sneaky, don’t charge into a group, and don’t be afraid to run. You’re just as dangerous 20 yards away as you are in someone’s face.
Fighters are your Tanks/Warriors. Strong, not too fast, but also not easy to put down. Their shields are the party’s shields. Man the front-lines and keep all eyes on you. Do not be afraid to call for help from your Mage; that individual’s job is to keep you buffed and alive.
As long as you know your place, you will be able to keep deaths down to a minimum.
The Pawn Legion
The party system in Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen revolves around the Pawn Legion. These are odd, supernatural mercenaries that are able to travel through rifts to come to you, and you are able to hire up to two of them to join your fight.
A word of advice: do not choose Pawns that are all the same Vocation as you. You want to cover the whole field, so coordinate your strengths and weaknesses and make sure that you’re set for any situation. If you’re going to have two of the same Vocation in Dark Arisen, make sure that they have different skills in the same area. For instance, if you want two mages, have one cover fire and ice and the other cover lightning and holy.
You will also be able to make one Pawn that is truly yours. This one will never leave your side and you’ll have full control over his/her skills and equipment. If you connect your game online, other players will be able to hire this individual and they can earn XP, items, and gear for you.
Inns Are Important
Some people like to think that inns are a waste of time. Who needs rest when there’s adventures to be had? As long as you have potions, some solid healing spells, and a strong party, you’re fine, right? Wrong. The inns in Dark Arisen are so much more than just a place to rest your head, and you’ll need to remember that constantly.
For starters, they do provide a place to rest and heal. When you take damage, there is a portion of your health bar that will not return without either leveling up or resting. That portion can grow to a ridiculous size, often leaving you with less than a fifth of your health bar usable, so rest whenever you get the chance. After you rest, it’s time to get your character sorted out.
You may notice while leveling up that you don’t earn any skills in your character menu. It turns out that you earn points that can be used to purchase and assign skills at the, you guessed it, inns located in the world. You can also change your Vocation (just in case you feel you’ve chosen the wrong one), sort your stored and carried items, and just shoot the breeze.
There is also a very important mechanic for your Pawn at inns as well. Remember that one Pawn you created just for you? Well, that Pawn can be used by other players online, and resting at an inn updates your Pawn’s stats for the servers. Why is this important? Well better stats means a higher chance of getting hired, and that means more chances at getting some very useful items and gear. Inns are great, aren’t they?
The Darkness Is Scary
There is a complete day/night cycle in Dragon’s Dogma, with one full day taking just under an hour (approximately 48 minutes). That’s nothing unusual for an open-world Action RPG. But, the game makes sure that each time of day has its own risks, and nothing is more dangerous than the nighttime.
In a way similar to Dark Souls, enemy health bars don’t just appear because some monster is close to you. They either have to attack you or you have to attack them first, and at night it’s usually the former happening to those ill-prepared. It’s tough enough picking out hiding foes in broad daylight, but it becomes increasingly difficult as the sun goes down.
Bring torches or lanterns (make sure to pack some oil just in case you need to refill your lantern) to make sure you can always see your surroundings. Equip your party members, as well. You will also want to remain close to one another. It’s not too far-fetched to have a comrade dragged away into the darkness only to be viciously murdered.
Don’t Throw Things Away
You’ll pick up a lot of things while playing Dark Arisen, and most of it appears to be just junk. Do yourself a favor and keep it all. At the inns mentioned before, you’ll be able to store a ton of items. So return every so often to offload all of the weight you’re carrying (you don’t want to be bogged down).
These scraps will be necessary when it comes time to upgrade your armor. Enemies are tough, even at low levels, so you’ll want to upgrade often. Without all of the garbage you’ll undoubtedly amass, you won’t be able to do anything.
Dark Arisen’s trash will prove to be your treasure.
Chances are that you will die… a lot. This game pulls no punches and it will throw everything at you from the very beginning. There is no lull to get you comfortable. You’ll find yourself in dark caverns, mysterious ruins, and on twisted trails with no way of knowing if you’ll survive (and nothing is labeled by level, so you’re sort of screwed there too).
If you die, you will have the option of returning to your last save moment. Sometimes you’ll think the game has recently auto-saved, only to find yourself a painful distance back in the game upon respawn. Make sure to pause and save the game yourself if you feel in danger. You can do this at any time during gameplay, so put it to good use.
There is nothing worse than killing 30 scary monsters to only die and having to face them again.
Pay Attention to Your Battles and Listen to Your Pawns
There are plenty of different enemy types in the game, but some are really large. Take this cyclops up above. If you look closely, you will see me clinging to its leg. This is because a Pawn yelled out for the legs to be taken out.
That action dropped the cyclops, allowing the whole party to do massive amounts of damage as it struggled to get back up. Many fights will have opportunities like this, so just take your time and listen. Even the biggest foes will be taken down with ease as long as you listen to the gameplan.
It may require cutting off a specific part of the beast, taking out a mage first, or using a particular element, but the game does a great job of letting you know how to win, it’s just up to you to put it to use.
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen will prove to be one hell of a challenge. But with these tips in mind and a bit of perseverance, you’ll be able to overcome it and prove yourself in its cruel world.