Review: Dungeons & Dragons – Daggerdale

Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale from makers Atari and Bedlam has hit Xbox Arcade which I was very much delighted with, after all I am a veteran D&D player. So I got myself all set up; Character sheet? Check. Pencil? Check. D20? Check (20 sided dice for those who don’t know). So I hit the download button and waited. So, while that’s downloading, let me set the scene if you will. Dungeons and Dragons is a massive Pen and Paper game which first hit shelves in 1974, and since that has gone through many revisions through the years. The most up to date one is 4th edition, which Daggerdale is based on.

So like any Pen and Paper game the first thing you need to do is think about your character. With that in mind, I went to the select character option and the only choice you have in Daggerdale for player characters are a Dwarf cleric, a Human Fighter, an Elven Rogue and finally a Halfling Wizard. Once you have picked a character to play you then get to pick your powers, and finally you pick your feats, which are passive powers that add to your characater. No matter which character you choose you will be able to pick up a wide assortment of weapons and armours which drop from many different enemies. You can also buy equipment from vendors that are dotted about every where as you progress. You get the feeling that you’re making the character unique and also your own. The one major flaw I found, was you could not change the characters sex or appearance. All classes are set so when I picked a warrior to play it could only be a male warrior which I think is a big flaw in a game that should have so much choice. Once my character was picked and all the stats and powers where sorted, I was ready to start my epic journey into the land of Daggerdale.

Single player is really what you would expect from a Dungeon and Dragons style of game, at the start you are eased into it by doing a tutorial. They do a good job of telling you how to you use your powers and how to open doors. At first the game looks amazing as you go through the first few dungeons, and I can say there is some good use of reusing the same map for several quests. However, after a while it becomes a bit of a grind and all the quests seem to merge into one, I also found that you also reach a level where you become unstoppable, if you get enough gold together and are picky with what armour and weapons you use then you can “midmax” very easily. It doesn’t stop there, I found lots of little things that bugged me; the camera was one thing. Sometimes the camera gets stuck behind objects and when you have a horde of goblins to fight it can prove difficult to target what you’re trying to bash to death with your weapon of choice! The game seems to suffer from screen tearing a lot, but what seems silly is a lot of these things could be fixed, which I’m hoping will be very soon.

Multiplayer in Daggerdale is a great fun packed adventure you get to play the same quests that are in the single player, only this time you get to play with four of your friends, which for me really made the game. Making a party with your friends and then going questing with them is what can make this game great after all the problems in the single player, or you can play 2 player on the same box which again is great if you and the wife fancy taking on the hordes together. One good idea is that you can bring your single player character into the mix or start afresh. But even with all this multiplayer fun it is still plagued with problems. For me it was the unexpected disconnections which really started to irritate me, but also every time I got disconnected from the group we would have to start the quest again and again and again. Also, when you’re looking for a group all manner of chaos happens. Lets say for instance you are level 4 and you join a group, sometimes you join the group while they are fighting or have just finished a quest, which can obviously cause problems. The game doesn’t seem to take into consideration when grouping you, I was put (at level 4) with a group of level 6/7, meaning all the enemies were at their level, meaning I got smushed A LOT.

Dungeons and Dragons Daggerdale has so much background and history to bring to a gaming world. But it’s beyond me why most of the D&D Games have been no good or unsupported by the community. If you’re looking for a game that is a no-brainer and you love the grind, you can dismiss most of the problems and really have nothing else to do with your Microsoft points, then you will enjoy it. As for me I think they need to massively improve on the next one if they stand any chance in redeeming themselves.

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