Ever since the dawn of man there have been nerds. And since the dawn of these nerds known typically in its Latin name Nerdus Maximus, required some sort of outlet to allow them to live out their fantasies of trolling around dungeons so as they could slay Goblins, Undead Skeletons, and of course dragons. It was a long hard road for the nerd as it waited year after year until finally on a cool misty morning way back in the year of our lord 1974 the call was answered. Dungeons & Dragons was its name! And while John Travolta was busy looking like a fruit cup on the dance floor, nerds were silently rejoicing in basements and YMCA leisure rooms everywhere.
Now here we are in 2011, D&D is alive and well as ever. In the near four decades since its original conception it has since spawned several revisions in the form of comic books, action figures, cartoons, full length featured films, and last but certainly not least Video Games. Some of the most early renditions landed on some ancient platforms like PLATO, Intellivision, and some very old home computers. Since then it has moved on bringing us games like “Pool of Radiance” for the NES, countless renditions for PC & Mac and now finally D&D receives and HD coat of paint in Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale. Developed by our mates over at Bedlam Game Studios out of Atari, promises to be a dungeon crawling good time.
The game takes place in the Forgotten Realms on the fictional continent of Faerûn in Daggerdale, a region in the Dalelands. Players will enter areas such as the Tower of Void and the Mines of Tethyamar. Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale centers on the desperate struggle to defeat the evil Rezlus and his Zhentarim in their attempt to invade and conquer the Dalelands. Players are charged with the task of restoring order to the Dalelands by unlocking the secrets of the Mines of Tethyamar, defeating the evil within the treacherous Tower of the Void, leading to the final confrontation with Rezlus himself.
The first thing we are going to want to do before setting out on our epic quest is to create a character. All the classic types are here; as you can choose from being a Dwarven Cleric, Human Fighter, Elven Rogue, or the Halfling Wizard. No matter which character you choose you will be able to kit him or her out with a wide assortment of weapons, armors, and clothing to make the character really feel like your own. Starting off I am choosing the Elven Rogue since that is the character I typically play in RPG’s like Dragon Age: Origins which on a side note has many similarities to the gameplay aspect of Daggerdale. But more on that later.
Once you’re done selecting your race/class and abilities, weak though they may be, that will change very soon once you begin leveling up. The actual gameplay is like a perfect marriage of Origins and Diablo. Combat is fluid and fast-paced without being over the top. Lesser enemies can be dispatched with ease and great cunning. As a Rogue I was easily able to switch from melee combat to the use of my short bow so as to keep distance from much more alarmingly sized foes. Overall I would have to say the combat is great. It’s engaging and most importantly fun. There is an noticeable pick up and play quality present here that you don’t see too often in role-playing games.
While this is definitely a hardcore dungeon crawler it didn’t skimp on the RPG elements. Upgrading your character is done via earning xp, which you receive for killing enemies, completing side objectives and handing in quests. With leveling up comes unlockable weapons, armor, and abilities to make your character stronger for the much more difficult enemies that lie ahead. The games flawless inventory system works very well and it is easy to manage. If you are new to these types of games I don’t think you will feel over whelmed with the amount of customizing that takes place.
On the presentation side of things Daggerdale is surprisingly pretty damn good. The environments are beautifully done, however repetitive they may come. But that is expected in a dungeon crawler. The game takes place in a dark place similar to that of the Deep Roads. And while some areas are re used for different missions, I never got tired of going back to loot and pillage more coin and upgrades for my character. The audio is good as well. It creates an atmospheric feeling that reinforces the simple fact that you are in a gigantic fucking cave where voices tend to echo and the constant sound of dripping water is ever present.
If you are feeling lonely and don’t want to tackle this game on your own don’t worry because you are in luck. Daggerdale not only has a split screen option to play with a friend or spouse, but you can also jump online with up to three additional players. You aren’t aloud to repeat any classes in the online though. The game has 4 specific classes/races and you may only select one of each. So if your with a group of dicks fighting over who get to be what, than find a new group of friends mate. The cooperative drop in/out mode is completely seamless. A mate can drop in to assist with a few quests and then pop back over to their game and bring along any goodies they picked up while playing with you.
All in all D&D: Daggerdale is a complete RPG experience with all the dungeon crawling elements the series is known for. The best way to describe this game is if Bioware’s Dragon Age got together with Diablo and had some sort of super baby that retained both parents best qualities, you would wind up with D&D: Daggerdale. And with a campaign that covers four chapters it should take around 12-15 hours to complete the main story, but the life of the game is easily extended if you choose to play through again with different characters. This game really does offer an uncanny amount of gameplay for an Arcade release. I would have been happy paying for a full version of this, so 1200 msp or $15 is great deal. You can pick up Daggerdale now on the PC and Xbox 360. Presumably if Sony ever gets their shit together you could get it on the PS3 too. Cheers and Happy Dungeon Crawling!
Also on a quick side note, Atari has announced that Daggerdale is the first game in a planned trilogy, which is amazing news. I can’t wait to see where the franchise goes next. As of now there hasn’t been a release window given as to when we can expect to see the Daggerdale sequels, but stay tuned to wedogames.net regularly and we will be sure to let you know anything that comes along. J
|Amazing Combat, Tons of Replayability, Good Graphics, Looting Good Time||Minor Frame Rate Issues, Repetitive locations/enemies|