Dragons and Vampires and Dragons, Oh My!

Today, Bethesda released the trailer for Skyrim’s downloadable content, called Dawnguard. Seems like it’ll be a vampires vs. crossbow-wielding townsfolk storyline, with shadow-flame horses you can ride and dragons swan-diving into frozen lakes. Makes sense, right?

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the DLC release, so when I first heard that it was about vampires, I was a little disappointed. The vampire part of Skyrim was one I paid little attention to, because I was too busy slaying Alduin, World-Eater to care. That and I didn’t accidentally catch vampirism, being a Redguard and having already been accidentally turned into a werewolf. (“Hey, guys! I definitely want to be a Companion. You guys are so cool! Meet you in a secret place at night? Sure! … Uh… you mean I have to become a werewolf now?”)

That being said, at least the vampires turn into gargoyle-looking bat creatures. And mounted combat? Hell yeah! It was always a bit of a buzzkill to have to dismount before fighting anything. (“I’m gonna get you, troll! … In a second!”) I’m also excited to see that demon horse? and some Dovah (or one, anyway). One of the most disappointing things about finishing the main storyline was not having any more dragon-related things to do. Despite the vampires, I look forward to playing Dawnguard, after I wait first for the release and then for the end of the cruel 30-day period in which Xbox has a monopoly over it.

In other video game news:

As I’ve said before, I fucking love dragons. And any game where dragons exist, I will want to play. So when I saw the trailer for Dragon’s Dogma, I thought to myself: omgomgomgdragonsdragons. I found out that it’s basically the Capcom answer to Skyrim, with you playing as the Arisen (code for Dragonborn), but this time with chimeras and griffins thrown in the mix too.

When I played the demo, the first thing that I did was go to the character creator. I expected a fairly limited level of modifications, thinking my character would have the obligatory double -D’s and weird hour-glass armor. (Seriously, even if a woman had a perfect hour-glass figure, her armor wouldn’t be form-fitted to her body like a too-small tank top. Anyway.)

I was enthusiastically wrong. Not only is there an enormous number of details you can change, the presets and how you can modify their bodies actually reflects a wide range of body diversity. You can make an actual fat woman, put actual wrinkles on her face, or make a muscular woman with 34Bs. I’m in character creator heaven. This link leads to the best video I could find that walks through the whole creation process:

Dragon’s Dogma Character Creator

As you can see, there are only a couple dark-skinned presets, which is a little disappointing. But given how amazing the rest of the creator is (and that you do get a variety of skin tones once you’re doing further edits), it’s a small blemish.

One thing I’m not thrilled about is the fact that, in the game, you have three companions who are called “pawns.” This makes me feel super awkward and classist. To make matters worse, I’ve been told that pawns are basically a race of people in another plane of existence who are incapable of making their own decisions, until I guess I summon them and tell them they’re going to fight with me now. After that big decision is made for them, they are loyal to their “master” and are willing to help you out/serve you. Pawns definitely sound like human pets. If I think of them as human-shaped spirits this might creep me out less.

Weird classism aside, the rest of the demo was fun, and I look forward to playing the real game soon. And before I play, I will make a 6-foot tall, 250-pound, 65-year-old woman warrior, and I will rejoice.

-Joanna

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