Dragon's Dogma 2 is getting absolutely savaged on Steam, with a 'Mostly Negative' rating, but the game deserves better than a launch with such bad optics

 The Arisen, with a wolf helmet.
The Arisen, with a wolf helmet.

Dragon's Dogma 2 has finally arrived, and the reception has been… less than favourable. On Steam it now boasts more than 13,000 user reviews, and the majority of them are negative. Only 39% of players leaving reviews have given it a positive rating. It's not off to a good start.

This "Mostly Negative" rating is down to a couple of things, the most dominant being the presence of microtransactions. As Harvey noted earlier today, the microtransactions are very silly, but they are largely for things that you can acquire very easily with hardly any work. They are entirely unnecessary. This, of course, makes them even more sus, because their existence tricks players into thinking they have to spend money to acquire more rift crystals or the ability to change their appearance, which is nonsense.

The optics are bad, and players are understandably pissed. While I think some of the furore is overblown, and we've been living with microtransactions for a long time, Capcom has done the RPG no favours. This is not a cheap game, and giving players a long list of extra charges for stupid things like camping gear and wakestones (all easily found in-game) was obviously going to piss them off. Dragon's Dogma 2 and its players deserve better.

Another issue players are disappointed with is the poor optimisation, which we noted in our Dragon's Dogma 2 review and the accompanying performance analysis. Capcom itself has acknowledged the issues with CPU load, but there's no word on how long we'll need to wait to see some improvement.

Your mileage will vary here. In my two playthroughs, I only really encountered big frame rate dips in Vernworth, the busiest city, and while it was annoying, it really had little impact on my overall experience. That said, I've been playing on a rig with an RTX 4090 and Intel i9-13900k—it can usually handle pretty much anything.

I confess I don't get too bent out of shape about frame rate dips, or even the odd stutter, if the rest of the game is good enough. One of my all-time faves, Dishonored 2, had a host of performance issues at launch, and it didn't stop me from becoming absolutely besotted with it. Games are more than their frame rates.

But, again, it's perfectly reasonable to expect a £50 game from a major studio to run smoothly on modern hardware. These issues did not suddenly crop up on launch day, or when review code went out. Capcom knew what state the game was in.

The whole situation kinda sucks, because few of the criticisms are actually about the game itself. The conversation surrounding it should be focused on tossing goblins, climbing on dragons and the absurdly good combat. But that's all been entirely overshadowed by optional purchases and frame rates. And that's all on Capcom.

But we saw the same thing with Helldivers 2. It also dipped into "Mostly Negative" territory, largely thanks to server issues and bugs. It's now sitting comfortably at "Very Positive". There's still hope for Dragon's Dogma 2, then, but it's a shame its arrival has been so marred by disappointment.