Dungeons & Dragons
Atari's latest RPG epic, Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale returns
gamers to a simpler day of sword and sorcery that pays homage to the
game that started it all, Dungeons & Dragons. Gameplay wise,
Daggerdale is a hack and slash title as you cut, magic and smash
your way to victory in classic RPG style. With that said, Daggerdale
is not the most original game out there which features similar gameplay
to that of Baldur's Gate and the arcade game Gauntlet as you button
smash your way through enemies on the 360 controller. Add in a few
Dungeons & Dragons elements and that pretty much sums up Daggerdale.
Based on the version 4.0 rule system of
Dungeons & Dragons, gamers have a choice of one of four RPG inspired
characters that include a human fighter, Elven Rogue, Halfling wizard
and Dwarven cleric. Once you select your character, you have the option
of naming them and tweaking their attributes and skills. Featuring a
rather short introduction, your job is to ensure that the evil magician
known as Rezlus, a worshipper of the evil god Bane does not destroy
Daggerdale in his quest for serving his mad god. The story is clichéd
but so is the gameplay.
Once in the game, the
first level has the player fighting goblins and rescuing dwarves which
acts as a tutorial for the gamer, teaching them the basics of the title.
The easiest character in Daggerdale to control is the fighter but if you
want something a little bit more challenging, the Halfling mage is the
way to go because you have a limited number of hitpoints and spells in
the beginning but through perseverance, you will eventually become a
battle hardened mage as you throw spells around.
Combat is the key to Daggerdale and as you
hack and slash or magic your way to victory. You receive experience
points for killing enemies that allows you to level-up and fine tune your characters. At the
start, combat is rather dull and lacklustre but as you progress and your
characters skills do, it becomes more entertaining. Weapons and armour
also have their pros and cons such as +1 to armour class or weapons that
move at lightning speeds that must be taken into consideration when
you're embarking on your missions and equipping your character. Just like Gauntlet
however, you never run our
of ranged missiles like the throwing axe for the fighter which
can be quite powerful to use from distant attacks. There's also lots of
goodies to be found through your dungeon crawling.
Thankfully missions can
be found via your map in the top right hand corner of the screen with a
red exclamation mark informing the player that there is an NPC that you
can talk to or an arrow pointing you in the right direction. Apart from NPC's, there are shops and other goodies to be
found throughout the levels that you explore. Given that, there's also lots of barrel
smashing in this game as well but thankfully for collecting items from
the ground or fallen enemies, it is done via the Y button which is nice and
quick. To collect gold, you just have to walk over it. Although the game
is single-player, the title does support two-players locally or up to
four players online that does making adventuring more exciting.
Multiplayer is a hell of a lot more exciting as well which harkens back
to the original role-playing game concept.
Unfortunately Daggerdale is not the most
attractive game to look at and some levels look rather Spartan and bare
at times. My biggest gripe is when you are talking to non-player characters, there is no voice acting, just lines of
endless text. This caused me to
click through their endless dialogue on more than one occasion just to
get to the action. Sound and music is also on the dull sound. There are
some nice effects here and there and good looking monsters, especially
the larger ones but overall, Daggerdale looks quite dated.
In the end, Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale
doesn't offer the gamer anything new in terms of gameplay but gives
players a classic sword and sorcery experience plus 10 or so hours of
gameplay. It may not be the most
exciting game of the year but considering the cost, it's actually not
that bad either. If you are a fan of the classic Dungeons & Dragons
rules and game settings than you really should check out this game,
provided you like button smashing. Hopefully we'll see more RPG titles
from Atari around the corner but more polished!
If in doubt, check out the free demo from XBox Live!