Dragon’s Dogma 2 Goes Surprisingly Well With Man of La Mancha

There is a lot of down time in Dragon’s Dogma 2. Capcom’s action RPG is in many ways a game that’s just about walking—but it’s neither boring nor a bad thing. Enjoying the lengthy journeys you take from point A to point B and getting distracted by secrets waiting just off the beaten path is what makes Dragon’s Dogma 2 so fun. It’s a road trip, and every road trip needs a killer soundtrack. For me, that’s been the cast recording for the 2002 Broadway production of Man of La Mancha.

I do want to give the Dragon’s Dogma 2 soundtrack its due. Lead composer Satoshi Hori along with composers Hana Kimura, Masahiro Oki, Shusaku Uchiyama have done an amazing job at creating some incredible atmospheric tunes. Yes there is great blood-pumping action-music, but the best tracks are those that play as you stroll through the world. That being said, sometimes you need to switch it up, and for me there is no better way to pass the time on a road trip than singing showtunes.

A knight charger towards a cyclops

Image: Capcom

Man of La Mancha loosely adapts Miguel de Cervantes’ epic novel Don Quixote as well as elements of Cervantes’ life. The story is centered around an older man who, having gone mad, believes himself to be a knight fighting against mythic monsters and undertaking valiant quests. One of the story’s most iconic scenes has Don Quixote charging at giants that are, in reality, just windmills. Of course the Arisen of Dragon’s Dogma 2 actually does fight giants and go on chivalric adventures. But the humor found in Man of La Mancha is also something you can find in the game.

Yes, Dragon’s Dogma 2 is also a comedy. That’s because with every step you take, the game is ready to fuck you over in the most unexpected and hilarious of ways—whether it’s using a ropeway and having it smashed to bits by a Gryphon, sending you and your party plummeting to your deaths, or getting dragged by a wolf directly into a cyclops that then proceeds to stomp you to bits. There is a lot of absurd humor in this game “And the wild winds of fortune shall carry me onward. Oh, whithersoever they blow. Whithersoever they blow. Onward to glory I go!” Quixote sings in the titular song, though the winds don’t always blow in Quixote or the Arisen’s favor. Sometimes the winds blow you off a cliff. You can’t help but find the fun in that

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Of course like any good Knight, Quixote is nothing with his aid Sancho, much as the Arisen of Dragon’s Dogma 2 is nothing without Pawns (NPC party members). Sancho and the Pawns follow their master’s commands while bringing a unique personality to the adventure. But if you ever find yourself wondering why your Pawns stick with you, even jumping off a high ledge nearly to their deaths to ensure they where you go, look no further than Sancho’s own ballad “I Really Like Him.” “Don’t ask me for why or wherefore’ Cause I don’t have a single good because or therefore,” Sancho sings. As I travel with my ever-faithful Pawns I can’t help but I imagine my Pawns riotously laughing at this in a tavern as a local bard strums such a tune.

“To dream the impossible dream. To fight the unbeatable foe. To bear with unbearable sorrow. To run where the brave dare not go,” Quixote sings in the musical’s most iconic, show-stopping number, “The Impossible Dream (The Quest).” Dragon’s Dogma 2 has a friction-filled travel system, tough enemies that can turn any fight into a seemingly unbeatable battle, and a world that seems unwilling to bow to the player. It’s a game that feels unmoored from the modern AAA scene, much like how Don Quixote is unmoored from the reality around him.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is itself an impossible dream. A sequel to a cult-classic that took over a decade to come to existence, managing to release and find its audience once more. “I can’t believe Dragon’s Dogma 2 exists,” wrote Cole Kronman in the Kotaku review of the game. Which is why Man of La Mancha, with its humorous and somber moments, feels like an apt soundtrack for the game.

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