May 28, 2011 by beerogre
Dungeons & Dragons is making the leap to a PC and Xbox near you!
Traditionally, D&D computer games hav been very hit and miss. However, this looks like it might be pretty cool.
What do you guys think?
Here’s a pretty comprehensive review from BoW member @brennon:
Gameplay is pretty straight forwards. If you played Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance on the Xbox, D&D: Heroes or indeed Gauntlet Legacy on the Download from Live then its the same sort of deal. The up close and personal combat is pretty hack n’ slash with the occasional flurry of holding down L-Trigger and dealing out a special attack – the same goes for ranged from the mage and the rogue. It can, at times be rather button mashy but that’s something you should really expect from a dungeon crawler – they never professed to be the next Witcher or Dragon Age after all.
Enemies are pretty easy to handle as long as you have your wits about you. Controllers and Artillery enemies need to be dealt with first by either the rogue or the fighter while the cleric tanks it out with the minions and soldiers with the mage for support. You will rarely, if at all die in this game – and the closest I came to dying was with a particular sequence in an Arena where all my weapons were taken off me and I was forced to map all my powers back to the controller mid-fight.
Overall fighting in this game is pretty much a breeze and it can occasionally feel tiresome, but that is mainly by yourself – with a full co-op group it can be pretty awesome decided what to do next.
The story in Daggerdale is fairly standard Dungeon fodder. You are sent by a mystical woman to deal with Rezlus as he tries to take dominion over the lands of Daggerdale. Characters are occasionally humorous but offer little in terms of conversation – they grunt as the text of their conversation is put across the screen – but overall its nothing you haven’t seen before in a dungeon crawler.
The story is not really the main focus of the game after all and you will find yourself occasionally not really caring what or who your saving. The ending again is pretty standard, with a twist at the end which does come completely out of the blue. There is a nice teaser at the end however for Bedlam’s next game and if you know about WotC (Wizards of the Coast) and their line of ‘alternative’ d20 games then you will smirk at the prospect of the zany game to come.
Graphically the game is nothing special. The dungeons feel just dark and dank enough to sit with the setting and have the odd splashes of colour around to break up the monotony but they feel as if they are part of a £10 game. Nothing wrong with that in the slightest but you shouldn’t expect anything massively brilliant in terms of what your eyes are seeing.
One pretty interesting thing I did like was that every time you change your weapon, armour, shield etc it appears on your character. This can lead to some over the top gaudiness in places with your bright red armour clashing with your glowing green helmet but it was a nice touch, especially considering you can’t ‘craft’ your own hero from the beginning.
Enemies look interesting and follow the artwork from the Monster Manuals pretty decently. Fighting goblins, ghouls, Zhentarim, Dragonborn, Tieflings, Rock Monsters and Dragons as well as lizardmen is pretty cool and each looks interesting and easy to define which is which as you fight – which can be important considering you HAVE to find those controllers raising up their allies!
The cutscenes are actually pretty nice and while some have said they are god awful for not being motion cutscenes I think they are good. The artwork is brilliant and the motion comic feel of it adds to the D&D nostalgia trip.
Occasionally you do have some glitches and slow loading of the textures but its nothing that you can’t brush off, or reset by going through another gate. At one time I have the name of a NPC sprawled across the middle of my screen, but after I patiently went into another area the name dissipated and it was back to normal. Same when completing a quest – occasionally the name of the NPC will hang for a minute or two where they last were standing, but it goes away after a short time – a forgiveable bug.
The game is not long. Some have said already that this is a massive drawback, but I think that its a good thing. Yes, you can complete the 10 levels in around 4/5 hours at the console but that also means that when your playing with your buddies you can actually complete the dungeons in ONE sitting. That actually works with how you would be doing it with your buddies in the living room, pen and paper style. Considering as well that this is meant to be a modular game where you do Heroic (to Level 10) Paragon (to level 21) and Epic (to level 30) its a pretty good deal.
Glitches. Yes, there are glitches. Sometimes your powers unmap from the controller and you have to redo them. Sometimes you get stuck on geometry and have to wiggle your way free. Sometimes you find an NPC stuck behind a rock and have to force him out, and sometimes enemies will hang in the air standing like statues when you killed them – but these are few and far between. The key word is sometimes here. Yes they do happen, but they never spoil the overall feeling of enjoyment from this game. For every minute of glitch there is another 40mins of uninterrupted gameplay where nothing goes wrong at all.
The end boss. The ending boss is far too easy and the sequence after feels a little cheap BUT its kinda cool watching it. You don’t overly challenged by the ending encounter and it can feel like a slog through the mud – but again I repeat, with friends it will not be.
No, the game is not perfect. There are glitches and some annoying things with the mapping interface but they are forgiveable. Yes, the length is an issue and the hack n’ slash slogfest can get boring by yourself – but with friends it is a worthwhile and pretty fun dungeon crawling experience. If you liked Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, Gauntlet or D&D: Heroes and you have patience with a game that they are already working out the issues with then this is a pretty nice dungeon crawler for only £10.