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Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale review

Not knowing an awful lot about The Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons series I had to do a little research into what I was missing and it seems that a mere mention of the “4th edition” will have some yelping in joy, some angry and frustrated or in my case complete indifference. My only real experience of D&D is with the 80′s cartoon, so my disappointment started with the lack of acrobats and unicorns and only got worse as the game went on.

Clearly I am not the most appropriate person to give in depth info on the D&D universe but there really seems to be very little to associate the two. Based on the 4th edition rule set, you are placed with the task of defeating Rezlus who has hidden away in his nasty looking tower, however as far as the story goes that’s about the last you will hear of it in this game.

Daggerdale starts off very promising, with a simple character selection allowing you to choose from four classic characters, Halfling Mage, Elven Rogue, Human Warrior and Dwarf; with each one dictating your play style, be it up front swinging your axe as a dwarf or using long rang magic as the Halfling.

Starting your quest, you assist the Dwarfs in gaining entry into the tower with the first two chapters taking up a majority of the game and the remaining two offering little challenge, totaling around six hours play. Those scared of the complexity of D&D games like myself need not worry as this starts as classic dungeon crawling from the word go. Talking to characters will open missions like protecting an AI character or collecting a lost item and though there is a variety of quests, they all pretty much mean get ready for a full on scrap as the dungeons are littered with a decent amount of goblins, skeletons and other enemies.

All your actions are set on the face buttons, with even more available by combining with the RT, making it easy create a spell and whilst that recharges throw  daggers and get in close with mêlée attacks. The enemies difficulty are all limited to your own rank plus have their own weaknesses and strengths so there is always a slight challenge, be you at level 1 or 10 so always make sure you have plenty of potions to chug as some of the tougher enemies require more of an attack and flee attitude to survive.

Funding comes in the way of defeating enemies and smashing barrels which you can then use to purchase better equipment from traders dotted around the map. The equipment screen is very easy to use, allowing you to see pros and cons of your items with ease, making this a very accessible experience altogether and allowing you to spend more time battering goblins than working out what ring to wear. As well as cash you also earn XP which ranks you up to a max of 10, with each level allowing you to spend allotted points on improving your characters special abilities.

With simple cut scenes and text conversations Daggerdale has saved that 1.2gb download for the in game graphics, with plenty of detail on enemies and characters and real time changes to your look as you swap around your equipment, like lightning cackling around your weapon or a glowing red armour showing immunity to fire attacks. Yes a cave is a cave no matter where you are but the detail and design offers plenty of changes that stop it from getting tedious and samey, but like every other aspect of this game, the good is tarnished with a serious problem, for the graphics it is terrible screen tear and items just appearing out of nowhere.

Multiplayer offers the same quest but this time with up to four players online or 2 local players can bring the fight to Rezlus, allowing you to either bring over your single player character or start afresh. Where this should be the icing on the cake it turns into a bitter experience; sadly if you are joining in a game you have no idea at what point the game is at and to make matters worse, the enemy ranks are leveled at the strongest player, so if you are level 2 and the rest of the team are 7, expect a real struggle. You could almost forgive the short-sightedness on the part of the programmers for that but the remaining mess that is unexpected disconnections and quest restarts really make it a waste of time, especially after three attempts at one mission, the game just got turned off in anger. Unless this is fixed avoid online multiplayer or invite a mate around for a local game as when it works it is great fun.

So for your 1200 MS Points you get a very faulty and frustrating online multiplayer mode and a single player that falls short of the mark and turns into a war of attrition all too quickly and to top it off, no Venger. Daggerdale had so much potential but sadly the programmers seem to of lost focus along the way. I so wanted this game to work and though mainly a negative review I still find myself going back to it, only to be disappointed again, so my final score is probably higher than it really should be.

Rating: Poor Review policy

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Edited On 31 May, 2011

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