Now I started the adventures of Phaedra (my regular name for a dashing heroine), named after a tragic figure in greek mythology
. After my fishing village got attacked by a enormous red dragon I became the Arisen. Main feat of the Arisen seems to be that I can take what's not bolted to the wall and nobody seems to care. I've been plundering a couple of houses already and all the residents say is essentially "everything's getting worse all the time". I guess that's why they don't care me looting their stuff while my pawns smash every piece of furniture on the search for even more stuff.
But I'm getting ahead of myself: I started as strider, one of the three basic classes (next to the self explanatory fighter and some magic user). The strider's main weapons are daggers and a bow and switching between ranged and closed combat is effortless. In order to prove to a talking stone that I am the Arisen I helped slaying a cyclops. To get to the obvious weak spot (his eye) I climbed up on him while he was smashing parts of a camp (including soldiers) to bits (I am aware that shadow of the collosus is a monster-climbing-simulator, but I never played it so for me this is quite novel). At that point it didn't occur to me that I could just shoot arrows, so never mind. The combat is exhilarating. The monsters do massive damage when they hit, hence it's important to evade attacks while looking for weak points to exploit. Some stabbing in the cyclops eye later he fell off a cliff and the talking stone finally believed that I was the chosen one.
That was when my pawn entered the scene. I called him Zakalwe, after a character in the novel Use of Weapons
. He is a fighter and I trimmed his personality so that he would do whatever necessary to protect me. I also recruited another pawn, a warrior of a friend of mine, who was already of a bit higher level. But pawns of friends can be hired for free, while pawns of other players above a certain level cost something. I found the AI of the pawns surprisingly competent so far. They do useful stuff during combat according to their personalities. So if your pawn turns out to have suicidal tendencies you should sit down with it and have a chat about this issue.
Just as I have a nap, some giant monster appears and rips the camp apart. A frantic fight ensues where soldiers and pawns alike run around trying to fight the beast without being eaten alive. Something I excel at by running to the monsters tail. Just to be whacked about by said tail. Being heroic and all I manage to scare the beast away and get hired for a escort quest to the capital city.
Normally I hate escort quests, because normally they are extremely annoying. But in Dragon's Dogma they somehow work really nice and create quite some tension. We started at noon and when we were halfway it became dark. Night in this game is dark and scary. I have a lantern but that of course only lights the vicinity and monsters appear like out of nowhere, since they seem to see perfectly well without a light source of their own. As an archer myself, I actually would prefer them to have the lanterns while sneaking in the shadow. A couple of attacks from goblins, bandits, harpies, undead and wolves later we arrive in the capital city, where I finally find vendors (there was apparently one in the first camp already, but I didn't see it before it was smashed up by all those monster attacks). I also changed my class (or vocation, as they call it) to Magick Archer.
Classes (vocations) are not as strict as in other games. With enough xp (called differently) it's no problem to switch to a new class. Once a class is unlocked it's always possible to go back to it. There are 9 classes in total, with 3 basic (strider, fighter, mage), 3 that trade in utility for more damage (ranger, warrior, sorcerer) and 3 hybrid classes (mystic knight, magick archer, assassin). Player characters can use all 9 classes, while pawns are restricted to 6 of them and can't be hybrids.
I took a couple of more quests and that was when I realized the game doesn't scale and there is not much warning if a quest is appropriate for my level. I went down some dungeon, just to activate some ancient nonsense that suddenly spawned some tentacle monster from which I could do nothing else than flee. And even fleeing was difficult. I died about 10 times, attempting to get back to the surface. But completing the quest gave quite some xp and I was level 15 before I knew it.
Now I started to take on some more quests and have an invitation to the duke or something, but I am happy to just explore the surroundings a bit and run into random monsters. So far I really like it, despite some little problems here and there. It reminds me a bit on Elder Scrolls games, but with interesting combat. In TES I found the combat always extremely boring and the endless seeming continents felt pretty empty. Here the combat is fun and the open world is filled with interesting things to find.