There's a huge amount of physicality in the combat system and each blow feels weighty, especially against the larger foes as you can topple them to the ground if you strike at their legs/knees. There are weak points for every monster in Dragon's Dogma and exploiting them is the key to long term victory.
There are certain skills that let you or your pawns get to low flying airborne enemies as well, so it's wise to have at least one equipped on your main pawn or yourself. Not only do they look cool, they allow you to bring a Griffin crashing down with its wings on fire. It doesn't get much better than that.
You can also pick up fallen enemies, hurl them off cliffs, grab them and hold them up so your party can finish them off. In short, this combat system is comparable to Dark Souls and just as good.
Finally there are various statuses that can be inflicted on you or the enemy, from drenching to being soaked in oil. One stray flame and you'll be set on fire, or they will.Quests
There are quite a few side quests along with the main story, these are varied at times and pretty fun. Some of them take you to forgotten corners of the world and test your mettle against truly formidable foes. All of them offer rewards in terms of experience, gold and so forth.Pawns
There is a place known as the Rift, where the inhuman pawns come from, these loyal servitors serve the Arisen and will die for you in droves. You can have a main pawn, a character like you, levels up and can be customised just the same, then two support pawns that basically come from the thousands on the game disc, or recruits from other players across the world. You can order them with a simple d-pad press to Go, Help and Come here...the rest of the time they'll follow their AI orders and try and do the best they can.
Once you summon a pawn in the Rift, you can choose to hire them for a sum of Rift Crystals...these are earned from quests and so on or choose someone else. If you do hire a pawn, you can also release them in the Rift at a later time, sending them away with a rating, a present and a comment to let their owner know how things worked out.
Outside of the Rift pawns learn from doing, they learn from how you play and they can be instructed by Knowledge Chairs with a quick Q&A session to change fundamental values they wish to talk about.
Each time you rest, you could well get a bounty of Rift Crystals!Facebook/Twitter
Social Networking is a big thing and Dragon's Dogma lets you post screenshots on facebook or twitter as long as you sign up and link your accounts. We've used this feature quite a lot to showcase some of our craziest moments elsewhere and its pretty ace.Graphics
Dragon's Dogma doesn't look like much visually, until you start really peering at things and checking out the various details in the graphics and how it all ties together. It's got a bit of a pop-in problem but frankly after a while you just don't care about that and you're having fun, even if there are pop-in issues and some screen tearing. Installing the game onto the 360 hard drive mitigates some of this and whilst you do get the odd framerate issue now and then, the game doesn't slow to a mind-bending crawl as in some of the dungeons found in Skyrim for example.
The graphics are nice enough though and the various day/night/vague weather systems work nicely, with wind actually playing a part in a combat especially if you've got a nice and light Arisen/pawn following you around. Animations
Dragon's Dogma uses animations that tie into the physics of the game and it works really well. It lends every movement weight and meaning. From the cut and thrust of combat to climbing/running/jumping around the world, or onto massive monsters, it's truly breathtaking to watch in action.Physics
As previously mentioned physics plays a huge role in the game, for example a giant Cyclops will come crashing down, crushing anything that happens to be underneath it at the time. Monsters like Griffins and Drakes can flap their wings and use the wind to drive you off your feet and roll you around like a rag doll. Hanging on to a massive creature as it flies around shakes your Arisen and depletes your stamina, once you fall off you feel the weight of that landing if it doesn't kill you first.