Dungeons & Dragons: DaggerdaleESRB:
Platform: Xbox 360
Category: 3rd Person: Action, Xbox LIVE Arcade
Developer: Bedlam Games
Offline players 1 – 2
Offline co-op 1 – 2
Online multiplayer 1 - 4
Online co-op 1 - 4
When Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale was announced I was instantly excited as I have read many Forgotten Realms novels. I felt Daggerdale would make an interesting setting for a Dungeons & Dragons arcade style game. One of the first games I played for the original Xbox was Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance which was an amazing title for its time and is a must buy for me if it ever becomes a downloadable title. So, will Daggerdale live up to other Dungeon & Dragons video games or will it flop?
Visually, Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale is very limited, especially when compared to other Xbox LIVE Arcade games that have been released over the past year. The environments are bland, lack detail, and even have areas where you can walk right through walls and get trapped inside forcing an unwanted reload. All in all I felt like the developers didn’t finish what they started. On a more positive note, the characters look decent enough and they take on the archetypal look of classic Dungeons & Dragons race/class combinations like a Dwarven Clerics, Human Fighters, Elven Rogues and Halfling Wizards. The NPC’s were created just as well, but they tend to repeat and don’t offer a whole lot of variety in unique features to create a bit more depth in the character front. A larger number of differing NPC’s would have been greatly appreciated. There are a few animated cut-scenes to watch, but in the end they are nothing overly special as they only add a bit to the graphical experience of the title. In the end we are left with an average looking title that suffers from a lot of glitches. It seems to be that a lack of effort in the visual department knocks the whole experience down quite a few points.
The music, much like the graphics, are limited, leaving the impression that it was only added because it is expected to be a part of the game rather than something to enhance the overall gameplay experience. There is voice acting throughout the cut-scenes, but it was downright horrible with a lack of emotion that is delivered teleprompter-like. The sound effects on the other hand were done very well, with swords slamming into bones and magical attacks having just the right sound to convey the awesome powers of a mage. The attention to detail in the sound effects definitely helped in adding to the overall presentation of the title.
Dungeons and Dragons: Daggerdale takes place in the setting of Forgotten Realms in the areas surrounding the city of Daggerdale. An evil cleric seeks to destroy Daggerdale and you and three other companions have been chosen to save the city from destruction. Choosing from a rogue, cleric, fighter or wizard, you are thrust into your adventure without delay.
Being an avid reader of the Forgotten Realms novels, I had great expectations for the storyline, but unfortunately I was disappointed with the dialogue being quite limited, and in all honestly it feels like it is a generic story written by a high school student. The quests for the most part are “Go To Point A” -> “Kill X Amount of Creatures” -> “Report to Citizen.” This formula gets repeated way too often and in my opinion was the easy way out when it came to quest creation.
By taking away the role-play elements in the traditional pen and paper version of Dungeons & Dragons you are essentially left with a hack and slash game, and Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale does exactly that with a varying degree of success. The controls are mapped out well making it a breeze to drink potions, perform melee & missile attacks, and to access special abilities without having to do anything overly complicated. The special powers available to your characters work on a cool down timer and this works surprisingly well and better than other more common methods associated with hack and slash titles. In the end this title is a hack and slash game which ends up by becoming very repetitive in the combat area, and sadly a bit boring after a couple hours.
For me the camera controls, and the time it took to adjust the camera to even simply walk around the dungeons, was annoying and time consuming, and it was even worse when it came to combat. To top it off, the camera became even more of hassle when I attempted to play some local co-op which created some crazy camera movements that gave me a touch of motion sickness forcing me to switch back to single player.
Aside from local co-op you are able to go on Xbox Live and join up with up to three others to play through the game, but I was left with the same problems that the single player experience provided and this definitely had an effect on my choice not to complete the game again online.
Unfortunately, the gameplay experience in Dungeon & Dragons: Daggerdale suffers from a lot of gameplay problems including poor music, shoddy voice work, and a whole lot of repetitious combat. All of these issues ultimately take a lot away from this title, which had whole lot of potential when first announced. Although you have the opportunity to save Daggerdale in the game, there is unfortunately not a whole lot to go on to save this title from mediocrity