Dungeons & Dragons : Daggerdale preview

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Though PC gamers have a pretty fleshed out MMO to toy with, console gamers haven’t had an actual licenced Dungeons and Dragons game to play with for a long, long time. Sure, we’ve had games of similar ilk like Dungeon Siege and Dragon Age – but no proper D&D since 2004’s Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone on the PS2 and Xbox. That’s about to change; Bedlam Games and Atari will be bringing you Dungeons & Dragons : Daggerdale, a downloadable role-player for PSN and Xbox Live Arcade.

I’ve spent a good deal of time with a preview build of the game for PS3, so lets take a brief look and see if it’s just what D&D fans have been waiting for.

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The story is fairly generic; there’s a desperate struggle to defeat the evil Rezlus and his Zhentarim, who’re hellbent on invading and conquering Forgotten Realms’ Dalelands. Naturally, it’s your task as an assembled group of heroes to put an end to Rezlus’ tyranny. It’s part of a trilogy utilising the newest 4th edition D&D ruleset, a natural fit because 4e seems like it was made to be a videogame in the first place.

One thing that might upset players when they first play is the complete lack of character creation, something many feel is an intrinsic part of role-playing. Instead, you’re presented with 4 pre-created characters; a human fighter, a dwarven cleric, an elf rogue and a halfling mage. It’s initially disappointing but it makes sense for a smaller downloadable title to forgo such robust character creation in favour of play mechanics, and it plays quite well. When you play, particularly if you play multiplayer (the game supports 2 player local and 4 player online multiplayer) the game feels like a wonderfully realised, elaborate Gauntlet – which isn’t really a bad thing.

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Like Dragon Age, your attacks and abilities are mapped out to the controller’s face buttons, with a trigger button to switch out to another set of abilities. there might not be a lot of customization when it comes to your character, but that’s somewhat mitigated by the sheer number of loot items you can use to bolster your character. I can’t say much (because of accursed embargoes) but the levelling up (learning new powers and spells) and looting – as is the norm for most RPG’s – becomes rather addictive. It’s a simple RPG, but it’s a fun and refined pick-up-and-play role playing game, that as the only licenced Dungeons & Dragons title available for current consoles  deserves a look.

Dungeons and Dragons: Daggerdale will be available for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 this Autumn.

Last Updated: May 3, 2011

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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