Editor's Choice - Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen

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Release Date: 25/04/2013

Editor's Choice

Dragon's Dogma Dark Arisen for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at GAME

The East's unique take on the Western RPG is back with this fiendish standalone pack - and it's gone all dark, mean and moody. Welcome then to the underground in Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

The original was initially shunned by Western publishers. Some complained it was too hard, plunging the player back into the 80s and 90s; an era where big, flashing arrows pointing gormlessly to your next objective would have been laughed at. But once gamers managed to actually get their chainmailed mitts on it, they loved it all the same.

No, we're not talking about the original Dragon's Dogma but Demon's Souls, the game that put hairs on the chest of even the most feminine of battle-weary gamers with its punishing gameplay. Gamers shouted out in fury as they were stabbed through stomach/heart/face for the 2,304th time and fell to the dank dungeon floor, dead. Before reloading and trying again. And again. And again.

And so did Capcom by the looks of it because gone are the sprawling vistas of the original Dragon's Dogma, replaced with the dark, labyrinthine fortress found on Bitterblack Isle (not quite the Maldives then). You can kiss your meadows and forests goodbye as you are plunged into a network of caverns, dungeons and more, charged with unearthing the isle's many dastardly secrets.

Dragon's Dogma Dark Arisen for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at GAME

What this means for players is 25 tough new enemies, a mass of new skills and augments and over 100 new pieces of equipment. Capcom has also been busy under the hood, tweaking graphics plus the menu system to make everything more manageable - and even allowing you to have Japanese voice acting. Awesome! Most importantly though, expect to die. Over and over again. Or be forced to run away screaming for your mummy (with your now-extended team of tooled-up pawns quivering in tow).

Even better news is that for players new to the Dogma experience, not only do you get the add-on but the original game as well; that's shockingly good value. Meanwhile, veterans of the first game can take comfort in the fact that not only have all the graphics and gameplay upgrades been retrofitted to the original title but most importantly, Dark Arisen is profoundly epic in its own right.

A word of warning though - the recommended 'jump-in point' for tackling Bitterblack Isle is level 50 so existing fans can expect the fight of their lives, while newbies will be required to man/woman-up in the Dragon's Dogma before daring to venture within spitting distance of Bitterblack. But with the original game such a pleasure to play, that's hardly what we'd call a deal breaker...

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