Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Role-Playing Grind: D&D Daggerdale

We need more RPG in Arcade. It’s the perfect medium for delivering short(er) and sweet content in carefully measured doses. Just what the doctor ordered. D&D Daggerdale does just that and though it doesn’t appear to be the greatest success yet, here’s me crossing fingers for Bedlam Games to churn out more content in the future.

Completed it to 100% and 200GS, in roughly 30 hours.

The Good
It’s Dungeons & Dragons! Nostalgia will kick in if you’re old enough, then dissipate somewhat as soon as you understand what type of game this is; a dungeon-romp hack n’ slash in the vein of Diablo or recent Torchlight. That is a good thing.

Easy to get into and fairly easy to understand. Hit the green button to advance. After a few hours more layers reveal themselves and skills, feats and spells are available to you. The game even offers up a bit of a challenge for you, should you race ahead too quickly with your Ring of Haste +2.

Some scream very loudly about bugs and glitches, but I have to say, I never experienced anything of the sort, outside a few graphical errors like details coming into view a second after you are standing on it (smaller rocks, clutter, pots and pans etc., that adds detail to the environment). Then again, I never used the various tricks of duplicating items, force freezing the enemies or similar. It goes in my Good section.

The Bad
It’s Dungeon & Dragons! But it doesn’t need to be. It looks, feels, and plays like any other dungeon hacker, and outside the name, nothing is fundamentally D&D about it. The multitude of combinations of class, race, specialties and builds you know are all gone in favour of four predefined setups; A Human Fighter, an Elf Rogue, a Halfling Mage, and a Dwarven Cleric.These all have the same skills unlocked through level progression and you only have room for three out of six, four if you’re macho enough to remap the button for healing potions.

Further with the Dungeons & Dragons - and I might be the one who left D&D behind four rules revisions ago - the rules and frame of play feels very simplified and restricted. Nowhere are any of this explained very well either, so you are left with choosing what you think makes sense. To further complicate things, what I understand of the new D&D rule set feels detrimental to good video game mechanics. Leveling up you are handed skill-points, stat-points, and feat-points on the odd and even levels. Then the rules will tell you what you cannot do with these points, and hand you a very limited selection that appears to be very similar. For an example, playing a Hafling Mage at low level, you have to rely on your weapons and not spells. So you pick up a sword. Out of the 10 levels possible, you receive a total of 5 feat points, one every odd levels. If you want to use a sword, 3 of the possible points go towards this, first so you can use a sword, then to be proficient in it, and then an expert. 60% of your points put into this makes practically no difference at all.

The Ugly
Daggerdale’s ugly bits sadly revolves around a few of the achievements. You get one for playing a total of 24 hours, which is quite useless as the next achievement is for playing all four character classes up to level 10, and this will take you roughly 25-30 hours. That last one is the really ugly one. Daggerdale would have been a sweet little experience if I could walk away having played and enjoyed what I wanted to play. To finish off the RPG meal with a forced desert in the form of 1-3 classes you have no wish to play, is just a sad way to make us play the game for longer than we want to. Mind you, we WILL do it for the achievement, but we won’t like it.

The Achievements
Half of them is story related, and the other half is a mix of situation-based feats you have to do, like scoring a 75 dmg hit, collecting all the weapon types, gather 100k gold, or beat the end boss with a coop friend. And then there’s the two mentioned under Ugly. All in all, a nice addition to the genre and a midly challenging 200 GS in the genre.

During my play, I put up several solutions on Trueachievements. They link directly, so drop by and spot me a vote if found useful.

Four of a KindSolid GoldMan at ArmsGoblin HunterWelcome to Tethyamar

Jennawyn wrote up a great guide for the final fight too, a good read for those that struggle. Check it out.


No comments: