"A mere fifty hours later..."
I was fifty hours into Dragonís Dogma: Dark Arisen, and feeling pretty pleased with myself. Most of the game lay beaten. My cliche humble fisherman protagonist had slowly developed into a warrior of legend. He had felled many a mighty beast, first with panicked desperation and then with arrogant swagger.
His first major encounter pitted him against a wounded cyclops who had wandered into the encampment situated just outside his little village. It wasnít like the fisherman was forced to take on the threat alone; he had access to his own platoon of three NPCs by then. The encampmentís modest garrison were also eager to see the monster fall. Did I mention the beast was wounded? Mortally so. Its health lay in slivers. All that remained was to deal the finishing blow. Into the fray I crept, instructed by the game to latch onto the beast, and from there to climb up to his head and stab him in the face. The cyclops was not keen on letting that happen, though; he didnít care that he was little more than a gussied up tutorial. He swung his massive club once, and that was more than enough to send me tumbling over the scenic cliff behind me, into sparkling blue waters and a "Game Over" screen.
The next attempt went somewhat better. I lingered on the edge of the battle, ignored the on-screen prompts to climb the sodding thing, and plugged arrows into his one eye until finally he fell over and stopped twitching.
Fifty hours of play later, though, meant I no longer needed to show such timidity. By then I possessed mad archery skills, was able to unleash volleys of ten arrows at once. A few such bursts would leave even a mighty cyclops with its tusks splintered, its eye put out and its life ended. As I said, I was feeling pretty smug at that point, and why wouldnít I? Cyclopses? Scoff! I had set ablaze griffins from the skies, slashed them to ribbons while they tried to stop their wings from burning. I had walked through abandoned mines, putting the undead to sword and slaying a trio of ogres who (I soon learnt) become significantly tougher once sexually aroused. Which, I suppose, made my
harem trio of lady warriors ill-advised traveling companions for that particular fight.
Only one of the girls was of my own creation, though. Some ways into the game, youíre tasked with creating an NPC partner who will remain with you for the adventure's remainder. I created a tiny loli-mage that was supposed to compliment my towering strider protagonist, but an additional couple of party members are recruitable on top of that. In fact, theyíre the allies of other Dogma players. You can hire them at will, taking on warriors of similar levels and below for free, or spending rift (currency gained by others hiring your own NPC) for varying degrees of over-leveled overkill. These companions called "Pawns," and they learn on the job.
Maybe some Pawns find themselves facing off against a wolf pack, and one of them happens to introduce the little buggers to a spot of fire. Theyíll notice the critters donít much care for that. So theyíll store that information away, and act upon that knowledge when they have the chance. Hiring other peopleís Pawns helps them as much as it helps you for just that reason; they gain no levels and obtain nothing aside from any gifts their employer might choose to bestow upon them, but they come away from dangerous encounters with fresh knowledge. Because people hired her quite regularly, my own Pawn often knew about quests Iíd not even started yet, meaning she was able to offer me advice, even guide me to locations I would have had to otherwise seek out on my own.
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