Dragon Dogma 2’s cursed endgame is nothing but dessert

Dragon Dogma 2’s cursed endgame is nothing but dessert

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is about the journey, not the destination. It’s about exploring routes you’ve never taken before, camping in the wilderness, and having an unexpected run in with a Minotaur. Quests objectives are also left intentionally vague, forcing you to puzzle things out and speak to as many people as you can. If you could just easily fast travel to obvious quest markers you could certainly check them off your list more efficiently, but then you’d miss out entirely on the adventure of getting there.

[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for the Dragon’s Dogma 2 endgame.]

Then, you beat the game and the credits roll. However, if you don’t like that “ending” you can start the apocalypse instead. The sky turns an ugly crimson; the oceans dry up; the dead rise from their ancient graves. It’s rough out there.

Your goals then become much simpler in this Unmoored World. Just go to four points on the map and do two things:

  1. Defeat a boss monster
  2. Help any nearby townsfolk evacuate to a central city

To make this task easier, the game tweaks or outright removes a bunch of its mechanical friction. More fast travel hubs called portcrystals appear on the map, making it much easier to just fast travel to each quest marker. This wouldn’t have mattered much earlier in the game since you need to use up a rare ferrystone each time you fast travel, but now, monsters drop this item regularly. With all the lakes, rivers, and oceans dried up, you aren’t forced to take out-of-the-way bridges to reach your destination, either.

As you rescue each town, you also begin to assemble a central hub town that makes optimizing your gear much easier. All four blacksmith types eventually reside there, along with the duplicator and the Dragonforged. Instead of running all around the map to craft the best weapons, everybody you need is a few efficient steps away. It’s also much easier to get the best enhancement materials since high level monsters start prowling everywhere, especially in the dried up oceans.

A dragon recoils from damage in Dragon’s Dogma 2 Image: Capcom via Polygon

I didn’t actually go to the Unmoored World right away. Instead, I started a new game plus after defeating the Dragon so I could experience some of the quests I’d missed from earlier in the game and level up more of my vocations. So after weeks of playing the game and absorbing complaints about its fast travel and “game-breaking” microtransactions, the Unmoored World’s design choices almost felt like a response. Here’s everything you were screaming for: easy fast travel, an efficient hub world, and no-nonsense quest design!

This tracks with the game’s narrative too. You’ve broken all the rules to get to this place, so the game’s rules are broken too. You’ve taken on god(?) and ushered in a new, albeit broken, world where the game doesn’t get in your way of completing your tasks and doing what you want.

But once you finish the simple objectives in front of you and there’s nothing left to do, eating all of this dessert gets boring. You aren’t really seeing the countryside anymore – just blinking from portcrystal to portcrystal. You’ll quickly tire of returning the undead to their graves since they never stop rising from the ground. You can’t even enjoy camping with your pawns anymore because of the aforementioned undead and also because time is itself a crucial resource as you rush to rescue everyone while resting as little as possible. Eventually, the day/night cycle blurs into one unending twilight and you can’t rest at all anymore as time figuratively stops.

You can play this way as long as you’ve got wakestones to heal yourself, farming high level monsters to enhance your gear, but it eventually feels hollow without any of Dragon Dogma’s 2 weird charms. It’s fun to revel in the excesses of the late game but it also puts into sharp relief why the developers made the decisions they did about fast travel and quest design. When you finally tire of this broken but very efficient world, you can end the apocalypse by starting a new game plus, more ready than ever to just enjoy the journey.