Some of Dragon's Dogma 2's quests are evil - and that's what makes it so brilliantly devilish

The sphinx in Dragon's Dogma 2 talking to the protagonist
(Image credit: Capcom)

Sometimes - and only sometimes - video games feeling unfair or frustrating can work in their favor. Dragon's Dogma 2 is the latest and one of the finest examples of this, because it pairs quite frankly evil quest design with plenty of not-so-punishing tasks, and the end product is a unique experience thanks to the developers largely ignoring role-playing games (RPG) trends of the last decade.

Take Skyrim, for example. It's a long game with a tremendously large open world, but it's quite friendly to the player. Sure, it's getting on 13 years old at the time of writing, but you could also apply this to Starfield, Bethesda's latest. These games are about the player discovering and exploring the world around them, with countless secrets, weapons, and interesting characters to find, most of whom offer quests and tasks off the beaten track. Unless you purposefully ramp the difficulty up for combat, however, these games are, by and large, quite easy.

The same can be true of Ubisoft’s RPGs like Assassin's Creed Valhalla or Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. These follow a template of gradually revealing parts of the map, following a main story with additional side quests as and when you like, and again, have combat that can be difficult if you choose to make it so, but they're all very straightforward games. It’s a tried and tested method that always appeals to folks… or is it? 

Killing time

(Image credit: Capcom)

One example of these aforementioned evil quests in Dragon's Dogma 2 is 'A Beggar's Tale', which you'll receive fairly early on when you're exploring Vernworth, the first of two main cities in the game. A minor spoiler warning here for anyone who hasn't completed this quest yet, as I’m going to reveal how the quest concludes.

Near the town square stands a beggar, regaling citizens with rhyming poems and stories of heroics from countries afar. A chap named Benton standing nearby is suspicious of the beggar and wonders aloud where all of his earnings are coming from, as he doesn't seem to make much during the daytime. From this conversation, you are given one single objective: ‘Keep an eye on the beggar.’

However, daytime in Dragon's Dogma 2 is around 24 real-world minutes long (a full day is estimated to be roughly 48 minutes), give or take, so if you receive this quest early in an in-game day - which is likely given it's next to the inn where you may have just risen resting overnight - you can watch the beggar for almost half an hour in real-time before he does anything different. 

At that point, he wanders off and visits a pub in the slums, sinks some pints with his wife, then goes home, gets changed, and later visits his mistress in the noble quarter. So you've discovered how he's making his money - by being unfaithful in his relationship with someone much better off - but where's your proof? 

(Image credit: Capcom)

It turns out you should've entered his house shortly after he left it and stolen his clothes. If you didn't do that in a very brief window the first time around, you must wait another entire day before you can acquire them again, at which point you can end the quest in one of three ways: show them to his wife, to his mistress, or to him, each of which rewards you slightly differently. 

A boy named Rodge

(Image credit: Capcom)

There's also the case of Rodge, a boy who gets kidnapped by wolves from the aptly named Checkpoint Rest Town near the border of Battahl and Vermund. His grandfather asks you to find him, which commences the 'Prey for the Pack' quest. However, this is a timed quest - as indicated by the hourglass in the quest list - but you have zero indication as to how long you have. If you don't solve it quickly enough, despite this unknown timeframe, it's bye-bye Rodge.

Speak with a chap nearby and he'll tell you that someone in town witnessed Rodge's abduction. You get no more details, though, and while this is a small village, it gets a lot of foot traffic. So you must spend an inordinate amount of time speaking to everyone near the middle of town to get a lead, and when you finally do find the right person, all you learn is that Rodge often "tended to a beautiful flowerbed on the outskirts of town." Helpful.

This turns out to be heavily misleading in and of itself though, because Rodge's whereabouts are a long way from the outskirts of town. To cut to the chase, you must follow a trail of blue flowerbeds that glow at night, often with great distances between them, to a cave where you'll find Rodge fending off the wolves. 

But there's a reason this is one of the most searched-for quests in the game online, as, even though you're given clues, the final location is so much further than you'd reasonably expect. It's around a ten-minute walk in real-time, whereas the folks you speak to for a lead casually imply he’s just somewhere close by. Thankfully, despite this gross inconvenience, the satisfaction upon completion is immense. 

Really makes you Sphinx

(Image credit: Capcom)

Another example comes from the Sphinx, a winged buxom creature adorned with gold jewelry, a feather headdress, glowing red eyes, and a creepy yet seductive voice that would make any mere mortal bend to her will. You can go through the entirety of Dragon's Dogma 2 without encountering given her remote location but when you do find her for the first time, she will give you five riddles.

As you might have guessed, none of these riddles are simple: one involves entering a nearby cave filled with goblins and finding the most valuable item, which turns out to be on a ledge right above the entrance; another requires you to find the Sphinx's parents, which is literally a pawn named either SphinxMother or SphinxFather; a third is particularly brutal. And - of course - failing a single riddle means you cannot receive the ultra-rare reward she offers. 

Seeking it out

(Image credit: Capcom)

Then there’s the Sphinx and the Seeker’s Tokens. You’ll find these small glowing discs throughout Dragon's Dogma 2, often hidden in nooks and crannies, and can hand them in at Vocation Guilds for increasingly better rewards. There are 240 of them in total, so they take some finding. 

However, one of the Sphinx's riddles is particularly harsh, as she tells you to go to the exact location where you found your very first Seeker's Token and pick up what now lies there, which if you do manage, will be a Finder's Token. Even if you find the Sphinx early on in your playthrough it’ll likely still be an age since you picked up your first token, and secondly, you only have seven in-game days to backtrack to this precise spot. And, once again, failing in this endeavor means you won’t earn an achievement - sorry, completionists - and you’ll miss out on her ultimate reward.

These quests may sound infuriating, but they're part of what makes Dragon's Dogma 2 such an engrossing, punishing, and unique experience. The feeling that some of the game’s quests are inexplicably difficult or obtuse and offer no way to blunt force your way through them (without looking up an online guide) thanks to the Ironman save system is actually quite freeing. It takes the pressure of trying to do everything possible away. Plus, I don't need to worry about doing everything because hanging around and watching an in-game beggar for almost half an hour in real time is actually quite rewarding. 

You might also like...

Ford James
Freelance writer

Ford is a freelance gaming journalist with a deep interest in a variety of genres and games. He has bylines at some of the biggest publications in the business including Polygon, GamesRadar+, PC Gamer, GameSpot, and Eurogamer. Prior to going freelance, he held editor positions at VideoGamer, PCGamesN, and GGRecon.