Wednesday, April 18, 2012

D - Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale review

Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale is game for both PC and Xbox 360. I got it from XBLA. The premise was good. D&D adventure game where you hack monsters, loot treasures, advance your character and so on but the gameplay was a big disappointment.

The cover art shows you heroes but doesn't tell
that they just keep running endless brown dungeons
killing thousands of monsters all over again.
The game takes place in Daggerdale dungeons and there it happens. The surroundings are all brown and boring. You run endless corridors and caves killing few different monsters. Lots of them. Luckily combat is fast but it gets dull after a while. Basically you just hack your way around. There were only a couple of exceptions to this so it didn't feel different to general gameplay. Fortunately the gameplay and controls are smooth and easy to use.

There are only four characters to choose from and all are pre-made race-class combinations and the variety of feats, powers and spells are narrow so there are not many choices to customize your character. I found out that playing solo Dwarven Cleric was best option. He doesn't need healing potions that much as he can spam healing almost all the time. It was easiest character to solo the game.

Loot is gold and items. You get gold usually from barrels scattered everywhere. It was stupid bursting all those barrels for few gold pieces. Who leaves gold in random barrels in random locations anyways? There are also treasure chests with items. I didn't use gold to buy items from vendors as you usually get enough new equipment from chests and drops from enemies. And for lazy people who don't want to turn items to vendors you can directly convert them to gold in your inventory. There's at least two achievements related to loot. Carry 100.000 gold at a time and collect one of every item in game. Every item achievement I got well before finishing the game. I suppose it is type of item. After first playthrough my Dwarven Cleric had over 50.000 gp. Most of the equipment are boring randomly generated generic magic items and most of the new items are worse than what you are carrying... so to gold you convert them quickly.

The adventure was mostly boring. Main plot was a little silly and all the additional quests were like go there do that come back. And kill tons of monsters in the way.

There are always more monsters than your party size (about multiplayer next). So most of the time you kill them. Unfortunately there are only few different types of enemies so it becomes a little dull seeing same or similar faces all over again. With healing power it was also easy. Without - more challenging and slower to advance, duller.

Multiplayer is always fun but it isn't that fun in this game. I didn't own headphones at the time I finished game also in multiplayer mode so I don't know how you can communicate with other players. There are no buttons to give simple orders (HALP, come here, follow, thanks) so it was sometimes a chaos trying to get people to follow the right direction, come to help you and find guys who needed healing and so on. It was just like four individual players running around and trying to conclude what other players are doing or want to do next. Also I found that if someone joins the game at some points the quest resets. It was annoying as hell. Doing 90% of the quest, see text KillMasta123 joined the game, then get reseted to the beginning, someone leaves, another takes his place, start again etc. When I played my quest I sometimes had to kick everyone out, quit multiplayer and do the quest myself to make advancement in my game.
Basically the one who is host is the one who's quest others join to help. It sucked that most of the players just took all the loot. Also those items they cannot use. I as a host kill monsters when some idiot goes and opens the treasure chest and finds dwarf only item and naturally takes it. Fastest player got the loot. Fortunately the gold gets shared but the item system was just shit. In many mmorpg loot is well done, like loot is "rolled" who gets it nevertheless who picks it up.
Also I didn't find any feature to see what level characters I join. Joining game with lvl 1 character where others are lvl 10 is pain in the ass. Get ready to be killed and standing in distance looking how others do everything. Fortunately when you die others can resurrect you standing near and pushing a button and you come back with few HP to continue. If everyone dies the quest ends. If players in multiplayer game have any common sense it is really easy.

The ending was cool though. Final battle was kind of epic and I liked the grande finale (won't spoil it but it was cool). I was just wondering how much I liked the final part of the game why the whole game couldn't be as good? It's like you run endless caves and corridors killing endless swarms of monsters doing mostly stupid quests and when you get to the good part it all ends.

Oh, and the level gap is 10 you can get with one walkthrough and a little extra effort in multiplayer. The trick is that you get an achievement getting all four characters to level 10. That is one boring task to finish the game four times or farm endlessly xp from random multiplayer games.

Don't remember how much this cost. 800 points maybe when I got it. Is it worth it? Hell no! It was okay the first game finishing the game but there is not much value getting back to it unless you are after achievements. There are also annoying graphic bugs in top of the fact that graphics are boring and location-wise the whole game is boring. Also there are no voice actors. You read by text what NPC's talk and get a grunt (hrhm, umh, urh) in the beginning of each text box. That is so lazy. And sounds? It doesn't matter if you play this game mute or not.

Could you get anything to your roleplaying from this? Nope. Too simple story, Daggerdale is presented shallow, quests are the kind you invent 5 minutes before the session starts etc. There is no value to improve or inspire your roleplaying gaming.

Gameplay: 4 stars because controls work and suit well for action.
Graphics: 1 star because they are dull and boring and there are glitches.
Story: 2 stars because not interesting enough and most of the quests seem too random and even 10 years old DM could write similar.
Overall: 2 stars because this game is boring, short, ugly and it doesn't offer enough variation for playing it again when you have already finished it. I finished the game and it had it's moments and turning brains to "kill-all-the-monsters" mode can be fun sometimes. Unfortunately there are dozens of games what do this kind of playing ten times better. Except achievements if you are after those.

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