DRAGON'S DOGMA: DARK ARISEN Thanksgiving is going to be a real pain in the ass this year.

IF YOU ENJOYED the 2012 debut of Dragon's Dogma, you'll love Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen. It feels like an old-school PC roleplaying game expansion pack: full of new monsters, new quests, and new areas to explore, but with little in the way of novel ideas. Dark Arisen is very much "more of the same," but if that's what you're looking for, you'll be hard pressed to dislike what Dark Arisen adds to the title.

Adds? Like, "in addition to?" Absolutely. Dark Arisen is such a large accession that Capcom opted to forego standard downloadable-content release practices and has instead combined Dark Arisen and the original Dragon's Dogma into a single, $40 release. Given the scope of the original game, this means your $40 is going a long, long way—it's not quite as lengthy as Skyrim, but even a cursory trip through the story will occupy 50 hours. Double that if you plan to explore a bit.

If you're new to Dragon's Dogma, all you need to know is that it's a typical fantasy roleplaying adventure, set in Gransys, a land equally inspired by Tolkien and Japanese design tropes. The key to combat, however, lies in training "pawns"—computer-controlled characters that make up your party and represent a surprisingly competent analog for a group of friends gathered around a table, playing Dungeons & Dragons.

If I must slam Dark Arisen for anything, it's that the vast majority of its content is underground. Given the setting, it's quite pretty, not to mention surprisingly diverse—but one of the main draws of the original was exploring the vast plains of Gransys. Still, since Dragon's Dogma is included in the package, I can't fault Dark Arisen too much. It's a huge fantasy game for devoted gamers—and should be an immediate purchase for anyone who gets off on slaying giant monsters.