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Dungeon Hunter: Alliance Review


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On 03/15/2012 at 11:22 PM by Chessa DiMola

Unless you have four friends to play this locally with, be prepared for a slow and tedious journey.
RECOMMENDATION:

For anyone desperate for a dungeon crawler.

I wouldn’t say that Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is the worst dungeon crawler I’ve ever played, but it’s not very good either. From the get-go it creates the illusion that it’s going to be a great title within the genre, but it falls apart in execution.

In terms of components, everything native to a dungeon crawler is present. Initially, players get to choose from three different characters, each of which has a specialty for either ranged attacks, close combat, or magic. As players traverse the worlds they will come across gratuitous amount of loot that will require constant sorting in order to increase character attributes and cash reserves. Leveling up will net players two different point types: one will allow players to enhance particular character attributes, while the other can be spent on special skill upgrades.

Despite having all of the core components necessary for a dungeon crawler, Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is missing one essential element: balance. In similar titles, the game adapts to a player’s circumstances. If a player is going it alone, there should be fewer, or at least weaker, enemies present than when playing with a group. With Dungeon Hunter: Alliance, the strength and number of enemies is always consistent no matter how many players there are. As you can imagine, this makes taking on the adventure alone very frustrating.

To make matters worse, enemies almost always attack in large hordes, leaving players little opportunity - even with ranged characters - to defeat their foes without difficulty. As if already being outnumbered and overpowered wasn’t bad enough, players are practically incapable of outpacing the strength of their foes. Even after backtracking and facing enemies that were ten levels weaker than I was, it still took two or three hits with a powerful new weapon to take them down; and I didn’t even get any experience for it.

Not having the ability to slowly gain an advantage over my enemies in terms of strength defeated the entire allure of playing a dungeon crawler. What good is it to invest hours of effort tediously struggling to level up and acquire better equipment if it is all in vain? Funny enough, the very beginning of the Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is the only time players will experience this sensation of being powerful. After that, the experience is nothing more than a futile attempt to chase the initial high of being a supreme force to be reckoned with.

Sadly, there’s little players can do to alleviate this huge shortcoming. Although the game suggests taking on side quests to gain extra experience, they are often located down the same path as the mainline quests, affording players no break from the powerful enemy onslaught. 

Even if these inherent flaws are inconsequential to you, forward progression will always be an uphill battle. I’m sure the answer to all these problems seems fairly clear; simply play online with other people. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

While I cannot vouch for the multiplayer via ad hoc, my experience with online play has been nothing but disastrous. The only thing the mode does right is add you to parties that are of equal strength.

To begin with, the lag is absolutely horrendous, making it practically unplayable, especially during battles with many enemies (which is always…). Often your entire party will be annihilated and the only indication of such is the Game Over screen.

Debilitating lag isn’t even the worst of it though. Of the four times I played online (for a substantial amount of time, I might add), three of those ended in the connection being terminated due to unknown reasons, resulting in the loss of all progress. Without having the option to save incrementally that doesn’t require exiting to the main menu, this hazard is unavoidable.

Since playing online with other people was basically out of the equation, I found myself struggling to play alone most of the time. This left me with two options: purchase an exorbitant number of potions, or painfully progress by dying repeatedly.

While purchasing numerous potions may seem like a no brainer for games like this, it’s not a solution to the aforementioned core balance issues. Considering the potions become more and more expensive as time goes on – and the fact that players will be popping them like candy – they’re a complete waste of money.

Because the game saves which enemies have been killed even if you die, it becomes easier – and more economical – to try and kill as many as possible and then just die. Sure, players will have to respawn and walk all the way back to where the horde of enemies is waiting, but it’s much less annoying than losing so much money to potions. Though a clever way to subvert the need to invest in numerous potions, it really slows down the experience.

No matter which way players decide to approach the game, it’s not going to be a smooth or enjoyable experience. While I’ve been harsh on Dungeon Hunter: Alliance, it’s not an awful game, just one that suffers from numerous issues. Though none of them are particularly game breaking, they ruin the careful balance needed to create an engaging and satisfying dungeon crawler experience.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

KnightDriver

12/02/2014 at 02:47 PM

Online lag is a killer for me playing this co-op, and single player is probably something I don't want to do with a game like this. I guess I'll play Diablo instead.

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