Review: Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance
Dungeons and Dragons is still one of the most popular table top games to play. Dungeons and Dragons has become even more popular than ever in recent years, including the Corona virus. In addition to Dungeons and Dragons, Wizards of the Coast also owns the hugely popular card game Magic: The Gathering . However, they have never really been successful making video games. With Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance, Wizards of the Coast is trying to change that. However, we can be direct about that. For the vast majority of gamers, the answer will be no. But gamers who are fans of D&D and Magic: The Gathering will undoubtedly get a big yes to it. Why these two answers? You will read that in this review.
Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance is, besides the amount of minor flaws, a great game for anyone who is a little familiar with the lore and world of D&D. Players of the table top version of D&D and Magic: The Gathering will recognize a lot from the story behind this game. The game gives the players some more depth and extended lore about four legendary figures called The Companions of the Hall. Drizzt Do'Urden, Cattie-Brie, Bruenor and Wulfgar are known throughout Faerûn. Their legendary stories and adventures regularly return to the tables of players who play D&D. For example, I now play in a campaign that takes place in Icewind Dale. And that's exactly where this game takes place. In my campaign we are on our way to defeat the Frostmaiden and find fragments of the legendary Drizzt Do'Urden scattered here and there.
But in Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance, the story continues with the Drizzt and his friends. In Icewind Dale is a Shard of Power that is coveted by many creatures. With this Shard, they would gain immense powers that would make them one of the strongest characters in Faerûn. Groups of creatures are approaching this Shard from all corners of Faerûn, and it's up to The Companions of the Hall to stop them and find the Shard before the rest. From Kelvins Cairn, The Companion of the Hall embarks on various missions and encounters quite a few powerful monsters.
In addition to storytelling and lore, the Wizards of the Coast have also succeeded well in the design of the game. Icewind Dale looks great and the characters and monsters look great. Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance is a real dungeon crawler where you fight your way to the final boss of the level. During your journey you can collect items and crystals that you can use in Kelvins Cairn. In addition to your main mission, you regularly have side missions that you can complete during a level. Although you are fighting regularly, there are also plenty of dead moments in a level. Actually, you mainly walk from one fight to another and you sometimes make trips to find things, but it doesn't get much more exciting than that. You can play with all four characters from The Companions of the Hall. If you play the game solo you will only play with one of those characters without AI controlled companions.
And that brings us right to the point companions. Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance only gets really fun when you play it with friends. When you play the game with several people, you also hear the dialogues between the characters. In addition, only then do you notice the synergy between the four companions. Everyone's kit aligns with the other's kit making battles more fun and strategy more important. A small downside is that the game does not sync really smoothly with each other's internet connection. Here and there we experienced some lag in the game that makes you miss crucial moments in a fight. Nevertheless, the game remains more fun to play with friends than a somewhat smoother experience when you play alone.
Each level has six difficulty levels that you can play. The higher the difficulty, the better the reward. However, the levels are not really well balanced with the six positions. Level one, for example, is nice and relaxed and easy to play if you're doing it for lore and if you're playing solo. Level two solo is already very punishing. And at level three, I feel like I've landed in Dark Souls. On the other hand, we notice that the levels are not that bad if you play it with your friends. This is not only because you then have three extra fighting characters but also because all four are quite capable of keeping each other alive. Actually, that's mainly what you miss when you play solo. It would have made Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance more entertaining for the solo player if the other companions were controlled by an AI to help you out.
In terms of fighting in Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance, it's all pretty simple and fairly easy to learn. New moves can be unlocked by spending gold in Kelvins Cairn. Kelvins Cairn is the players hub where you can select and upgrade your equipment, unlock moves and update your character sheet. The interface for shopping could have been a bit simpler. With strange button combinations you can sell or upgrade items. In the beginning you regularly go into the mist as a result of which you have either sold an item or upgraded an item that you did not want to upgrade.
For fans of Wizards of the Coast tabletop games, Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance will be a great game to play. They can thus broaden their lore on what they already know and learn more about The Companions of the Halle and Icewind Dale. This will make you forgive and forget the minor annoyances in the gameplay. If you as a player are not at all with Magic: The Gathering of Dungeons and Dragons, then it can still be a fun dungeon crawler. However, those players will be more inclined to quit the game out of frustration because of the annoyances in the gameplay. Hopefully in the near future we will soon see fixes and updates to make the gameplay a little smoother and fix the bugs. With two mixed feelings, we think the game is worth a certain amount. Because if you look beyond the bugs, you will see a beautifully designed Icewind Dale and a lot of new entertaining lore.
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