WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Dragon's Dogma, available now on Netflix.
Netflix is absolutely killing it in the anime game, and it seems like video game adaptations will continue to be a huge part of its stable moving forward. A lot of this stems from Castlevania, which reinvigorated the classic story of Trevor Belmont as he went about stopping Dracula while helping to redeem the bloodsucker's son, Alucard, along with the badass mage, Sypha Belnades.
Dragon's Dogma is another video game brought to life by the streaming service and while it's not as popular or as well-executed as Castlevania, it is better in one major aspect: the monsters.
Now, don't get us wrong, we loved seeing Dracula and his vampire royal court unleashing feral monsters from hell but it never really became more than a bunch of big bats, warped demons and pests attacking the heroes. It didn't diminish the action and horror but it did feel a tad underwhelming and predictable at times. All it came down to was people fighting vamps and armies of the undead.
But in the case of Dragon's Dogma, quite a lot is mined from the game to keep the series fresher -- not to mention intense -- with its wide variety of creatures on a constant basis. From the get-go, the dragon that razes Ethan's village and incinerates his loved ones paints an intimidating picture, and over the next seven episodes, as each of the sevens deadly sins is attended to, we see a bevy of monsters as if we're going through the game.
Witnessing the Cyclops squashing humans, goblins attacking in droves, Ethan and the Pawn, Hannah, fighting off a Griffin, as well as the giant hydra with its multiple heads create such a scary, thrilling ride. This is the kind of atmosphere we'd have liked to see more in Castlevania with the game altering the source material to really cut loose on the animated canvas. Netflix offers that platform and creative freedom, yet only Dragon's Dogma takes advantage of it, unafraid of its scope. The designs are bold and flawless, with everyone from Dungeons & Dragon fans to those who love Greek mythology or just folks who love cartoons sure to be hooked at the ambition on display.
And it's not just the physical designs -- it's also cerebral. Monsters like the Lich (a warped priest) and his skeleton army try to tempt the heroes with greed, while a succubus looks to ensnare Ethan as it pretends to be his wife, Olivia. By the end of the series, it gives us the worst monster out there: man himself, as Ethan's rage, lust for vengeance and overall ego shape him as the new villain of the series. It's a well-played twist fans of the game would know, but it's even better for those who came in without such knowledge. And in so doing, we don't get something as dry-cut and straightforward as Castlevania. Though the latter certainly has the better story, it just doesn't have quite enough of an epic visual style to create the same high-octane rollercoaster that Dragon's Dogma does.