Posted by : David Guyll May 28, 2011
|This image is misleading; your fighter won't|
get armor for the first five or so levels.
If you were reasonably expecting this game based off of Dungeons & Dragons to utilize D&D mechanics and elements, you will be almost universally disappointed.
The game uses the ability scores that we all know and love, and even gets the modifiers right. However, you don't pick exploits as you know them, instead being able to make a melee attack, ranged attack, and choosing from one of three scalable abilities that you spend points on. The only one I bothered to go with was shield bash, which A) doesn't require a shield to use, and B) doesn't seem to even use a shield even when you have it equipped (thought sometimes I found myself with two shields equipped at the same time). You then get to pick feats, of which there aren't many but at least mostly seem to be true to the source material. And that's it. You don't get to allocate your ability scores, you don't get to pick your starting gear, and you don't get to customize your appearance in any way. I'm frankly surprised that you even get to name your character.
One you get past the brief and spartan character generation menus you are thrust into Daggerdale, which I guess is now a complex cave system populated by dwarfs, goblins, and human-proportioned skeletons. Now I haven't been in the Forgotten Realms loop since the third or fourth time the god/goddess of magic was killed, but I seem to recall the Dalelands being on the surface of Faerun. At any rate, I was actually more surprised by the fact that I had cloth armor, a light shield, a one-handed weapon (despite being specced for a two-hander), and 120 hit points (which in retrospect makes me wonder what Toughness did). Oh, and to hit level 2? I needed 10,000 XP.
What. The. Fuck?
I spent the first three or so hours running around in caves killing goblins, then talked to some dwarves with muffled sound effects for speech, then killed some more goblins trying to scavenge up the hundreds of gold pieces required to buy leather armor (because again, no armor to speak of). Granted it gave me resist fire all of one, but come on. On the topic of gear, the game also takes props from Diablo 2 by including cracked and worn versions of items (not to mention barrel-busting and color-coded items), which penalize you for using them. Hell, the damage range on weapons isn't even correct in most cases. The worst part is that any weapon or armor that offers an energy-based benefit lacks texturing, so expect to put up with a blue-and-white avatar until you find something better doesn't do anything.
|With the right gear, you can actually see textures!|
Is it worth the fifteen bucks? I'd say almost. There are some bugs that need to be patched, like the mapping errors with certain types of gear, and some monsters get stuck in the ground. I'd also heard that the game can fuck up your saves and cause you to lose your character or gear. As an action-RPG it provides a decent enough slash-fest given the price, but I think Atari could have done better in some regards. Apparently this is one of three games in a series, so hopefully Atari learns from their mistakes and sales in the next installment.
What changes would I like to see? Well for starters...
- Being able to choose starting gear at all. Picking feats for a two-handed weapon but not being able to get ahold of one for awhile really fucking sucks, as does not having actual armor. I literally did not get scale armor until I was 6th-level.
- On a similar note, choosing powers. It would be very easy to make encounter powers that only recharge after an encounter ends, and daily powers that only recharge after you wrap up an adventure. Optionally, some dungeon zones might have "campsites" where you could take an extended rest.
- Action points could be something that lets you attack and/or move faster for a small period of time.
- A healing surge mechanic would be great for not having to lug around over one-hundred potions.
- The inclusion of opportunity attacks as an automatic reaction would be great, especially for helping fighters seem, well, more like fighters. As it stands, I don't see anything stopping them from swamping a wizard or ranger in the back.
- Ditch the Diablo 2 item conventions. D&D has never been a game where cheap, vendor-trash magic trinkets rain off of monsters. Generally speaking in 4th Edition most characters could expect to see one magic item per level, and combined with a greater variety in character advancement this would be fine.
- Use the actual XP table. Demanding 10,000 XP to gain a level takes a long, long time. If characters leveled up a bit faster, you wouldn't need so many magic items in order to keep things fresh.