‘Dragon’s Dogma 2’ is a Game Of The Year contender thanks to one feature


What was the last thing you threw off a cliff? If you haven’t played Dragon’s Dogma 2, the answer is probably nothing. But if you’ve spent this weekend like we have, passing every waking hour in Capcom’s massive fantasy role-playing game (RPG), your cliff-chucking escapades will likely involve some manner of mythical creature – perhaps a bloodthirsty goblin, or a cat-furred bandit who ambushed your leisurely oxcart ride.

It’s all made possible due to Dragon’s Dogma 2’s grab button, which is first used to carry rocks out of a mine. It’s a dull introduction, but when you realise it can be used to throw just about anything, living or inanimate, a whole new world opens up. Those same rocks can be bounced off an unsuspecting skeleton’s skull, or you can bowl the skeleton itself into the rest of its bony cronies. For gigantic beasts that are too big to lift, there are alternatives. You can push an off-balance ogre’s ankle to topple it over, or clutch a flying griffin’s feathers and hold on for dear life when it takes to the sky.

Even Pawns, non-playable characters who accompany you on your adventure, get in on the action. If one of your allies is knocked down in battle, another will often carry their body over to you to revive. On one occasion, a newly-recruited Pawn – a large, naked mage named Bob – proved his worth by charging into the heat of battle to pin down a rampaging goblin, holding it on the ground until we ran over to deliver a finishing blow.

Dragon’s Dogma 2. Credit: Capcom.

But all of this pales in comparison to the simplest pleasure in Dragon’s Dogma 2: chucking stuff from massive heights. Hoisting enemies up mid-fight and bouncing them down a hill, their death quietly acknowledged by experience points popping up on your screen when they land, guarantees a (slightly dark) dopamine rush. Bonus points if you toss them into water infested with The Brine, unseen swarms of carnivorous monsters that can turn anything to bloody red froth in seconds.

This is all to say that throwing things is very, very fun. The grab button in Dragon’s Dogma 2 is worthy of the game-transcending infamy that society’s greatest equalizer, the Blue Shell in Mario Kart, has found. In just three days since launch, we’ve already heard stories of people weaponising chickens, treating other players’ Pawns like javelins, and sadistically feeding bandits to The Brine.

Perhaps the seemingly-innocuous feature is such a hit because it’s a throwback to magical times. When you’re young, games seem to adhere to your imagination. Possibilities appear endless, and you’re blissfully ignorant of things like engine limitations or scripted events. But as you grow older and more familiar with how everything works, reality creeps in. You stop playing in ways that should work, because you don’t believe your creativity can be catered to.

Yet in the last year, we’ve had several titles buck this trend, rewarding out-of-the-box thinking rather than trying to limit it. The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom’s building system was so flexible that players found ways to wipe out monster camps with jury-rigged mechs and cruise missiles. Dungeons & Dragons-based fantasy Baldur’s Gate 3 seemed to account for every possible solution to a quest, and like Dragon’s Dogma 2, let players push enemies around like ragdolls.

Grabbing in Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a microcosm of this freedom. There are more dramatic examples – sure, you can cut rope bridges out from under people and forge duplicates of rare gems to scam traders – but few are as simple in their pleasure as picking up a goblin and lobbing it as hard as humanly possible. As many reviews have pointed out, Capcom’s latest is an early Game Of The Year contender – and after picking up a goblin and lobbing it as hard as humanly possible, you can see why Dragon’s Dogma 2 will be throwing its hat in the ring.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is available on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.


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