Disclaimer: Dragon's Dogma should not be compared to Skyrim. You can compare it to every OTHER game ever made. You compare Skyrim to any other Elder Scrolls game.
I've been playing this game nonstop during memorial day weekend and got hooked. The story is lame, the progression is slow, the side quests suck, and the most frustrating thing about this game is no fast travel option other than these stones that are impossible to find and only warp you to a city. If you are NOT into the fantasy genre, goblins, ogres, chimeras, and the like, then I would HIGHLY recommend you pass on this game and save your $$$ for Elder Scrolls Online.
For fans of the fantasy genre, you MAY enjoy this game. The scenery is vibrants; fields sing, mountains portray doom, goblins lurk around every corner, harpys, well, harp, and a cyclops or 2 may just show up in a cave. The soundtrack is a joy to behold, Capcom really does it up in presentation and music. The fighting is what drew me in. Its less traditional RPG, more hack & slash, DMC-like. I especially like the pawn feature, reminds me of trading pokemon. You create and customize a helper, who aids you in battle, and "learns" from your completed quests, and if you're online, your created helper is available for anyone else playing the game to use. The knowledge gained from completed quests carries over to the other player's game, giving them tips when they engage in the same quests in their game. And it works vice versa too; any knowledge and gold they accrue while being used by someone else returns with them in your game. So you could complete an entire game with a friend's pawn, have them return to your game, and have knowledge of every completed quest and a ton of gold! The tips, they don't solve the quests for you, nor do they automatically complete, they just help you along the quest making it a bit easier to navigate and understand.
The most innovative feature of the battling, what gives it a LotR feel to it, is the ability to grab on and climb on your enormous foes. Grab a dragon by the tail, climb up, hold on for dear life, and hack away at the back of his head. Same for ogres, cyclops, and giants. Its a lot of fun!
If any of you decide to play, my PSN is PerkiSystem. Message me and I'll hire your pawn!