The Failings of a Gamer – sucking at Dragon’s Dogma

So, a few weeks ago I wrote an article on how I suck major balls at Dark Souls II. I think that some people are too quick to gloat about how incredible they are at a video-game these days, and far too big-headed to admit when they can’t quite get the hang of it. I’m one of those people that will admit their mistakes, however infrequent they may be, and use them as a learning experience. So here we have it, my second article showing the world how I fail as a gamer. I’m sure there will be plenty more than two articles, as I have a tendency to fluctuate between rocking at a game and sucking at a game.

When I first played Dragon’s Dogma, almost a year ago to the day, I thought that it was the hardest game that I’d ever played. It was hair pullingly, fist clenchingly, wall punchingly, controller throwing through television … ly … frustrating. It was thoroughly unforgiving in every sense of the word. That was, of course, before I had played Dark Souls II. I mean, I thought Dragon’s Dogma was bad. At least you can save the game and reload from a checkpoint in Dragon’s Dogma. Plus, you have three other helpers to guide you through the game, whereas you have to rely on the kindness of online players in Dark Souls II. So, after playing Dark Souls II until my hair fell / was torn out, I decided to go back to Dragon’s Dogma. I was full of that new found confidence gained only from defeating one or two of the primal bonfire bosses. Buoyed by my sort of success in the unforgiving world of Dark Souls II, I decided to re-enter the slightly more forgiving bosom, (that’s right, I said bosom), of Dragon’s Dogma. That newly found confidence was quickly diminished as I entered the disk into my Xbox 360 and began my arduous journey towards Gran Soren, the main city in the game.


I know my limits when it comes to Dragon’s Dogma, so I’ve set my game difficulty to easy, and that is where it shall remain. Today I want to give you an example of how I suck at the game. This is just one example of failure so far, so I have a feeling that there will be plenty more to come. I want to start off by saying that you can laugh all you want, just don’t judge me until you’ve walked in my shoes. By ‘walked in my shoes’ I mean ‘played Dragon’s Dogma’. It’s only £8 if you pick it up pre-owned and, despite its immense difficulty on frequent occasion, it’s one of the best RPGs that I’ve played in a long time. Perhaps second to any Elder Scrolls game. So, fail number one!

I had finally made it to Gran Soren, the achievement of reaching the city filled me with a confidence quite unknown in this game. I felt almost invincible, so I decided to accept the quest that had been the undoing of me the first time that I’d played the game. Lying deep in the forest of the world is an old fort. That fort had been ambushed and captured by an army of Goblins and the Earl’s commander wanted me, and my three pawns, to go help recapture it. Last year, when I finally gave up on this game, I wasn’t fully prepared for the quest. I hadn’t been grinding to raise my level, or the level of my pawns, and I hadn’t stacked the odds in my favour by purchasing every single health potion available in the game. By the time I had actually reached the fort, two of my pawns had died and myself and my main pawn were battered beyond recognition. Suffice it to say, I lasted about three minutes in the fort, rage quit and vowed never to play the game again.


This time, however, I came prepared. I’d been grinding to get my level up by completing various side quests, I’d chosen the easier quests to start off with and I’d kept my party fresh by constantly upgrading my two other pawns. I’d even purchased all of the ingredients required to make health and poison potions. In three words, I was ready. My journey had started well after I decided to take on a Chimera (part lion, part goat, part snake) monster in the wilds. I defeated that beast in a matter of minutes, climbing its arse to slice off its snake tail and shuffling my way across its back to chop off its second head, which was a goat. The beast fell at my feet and, as I stood triumphantly over its corpse, I realised that I was ready for my first big test. In those few moments, I was the man, and there was no lion, part goat, part snake that could tell me otherwise. This unknown sense of confidence grew in my belly as I made my way towards the fort, which was still a good few miles away. Though this sense of confidence didn’t stop me from saving every five seconds to make sure that I didn’t lose my game progress. I was confident, not stupid. I reached a clearing and, in the distance, I spotted the fort.


But, just as I made my way towards the goblin infested hell hole, I noticed something in the corner of my eye. It was a beast I hadn’t battled before, it was a dragon. Full of my new found confidence, I ran towards the dragon drawing my bow and firing a single arrow at its head. The arrow struck my foe, but didn’t even register on its health bar (a health bar which was almost as long as the journey I had endured to reach the dragon in the first place). All of a sudden, that confidence disappeared and was quickly replaced with a sense of panic and fear. Especially after I realised that I hadn’t saved the game for almost half an hour. It reared its head and launched itself into the air. It hovered for a moment and I stood in awe, awaiting my fate. The dragon swooped down and torched the ground before me, instantly killing one of my pawns. It then landed next to me and, in one bite, ate my second pawn. I turned to try and run as my final pawn begged me to leave the area, but it was too late. The dragon engulfed me in a ball of flame and with it, burnt my hopes of reaching the fort unscathed. I turned to fire one last arrow at the beast before dying, if I was going down, I was going down swinging. Though I wasn’t, because I died form the burns before I could even reach for an arrow.


And that, ladies and gentleman, concludes the first and most epic fail of my second play through of Dragon’s Dogma. I think the fail highlights both the brilliance of this game and the real need to plan ahead. In Dragon’s Dogma, it’s important not to get too ahead of yourself. That means careful planning and mindful tactics – something that I’ve never excelled at, but I am getting better. Still, I’m addicted to this game and no man eating dragon is going to put me down.