Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance is coming out tomorrow, and it offers a rare opportunity to get stuck into the world of D&D in a more action-focused genre. Normally, this wouldn’t be something we can talk about on MTG Rocks, but thanks to the upcoming D&D set, Adventures in Forgotten Realms, we can wax lyrical about the new game.
So, Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance is a spiritual successor to the Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance games, albeit a lot prettier than those aging games. It has you taking control of one of four heroes to try and fight off the evils seeking an all-powerful shard MacGuffin that’ll let the bad guys get more powerful. The story isn’t going to change anyone’s life, but it’s really not the point.
Slash those hacks
You see, the point of D&D: Dark Alliance is the gameplay, which has you hacking and slashing your way through dungeons alone or with friends, gathering loot, levelling up, and unlocking more skills as you go. Each of the classes isn’t really a class, but a single character from D&D lore.
You can play as Drizzt Do’Urden, Catti-brie, Wulfgar, and Bruenor Battlehammer. Each of these characters has its own specialities and weapons, but the base idea behind each is hitting stuff a lot. You’ll recognize Drizzt as being one of the cards spoiled ahead of the new MTG set and in the game, he uses two swords, so him having double strike in his card from feels very cool. We’re expecting to probably see one or two of the other heroes in the set too, although we don’t know for sure.
In fact, if you’re looking for a way to get more familiar with some of the things that D&D offers players, whether that be the monsters, the heroes, or the general setting, then this could be a fun way to learn more about the universe. We’re not certain you’ll see a card version of everything you find in the game, but it’s a nice gateway nevertheless.
That’s a trap
Actual gameplay, aside from running around and avoiding traps, of which there are many, has you using a mix of light, heavy, and ranged attacks to lay waste to your foes. You can also guard, parry, and use special attacks. It all starts off rather simple. but you can unlock new attacks as you level up, and that makes things a little bit spicier as you go.
In terms of how it all feels, it’s fun enough to be the kind of game you blitz through with your friends, but it lacks some of the nuance and potential for mastery you’d find in some other action games. Everything does what it’s meant to do, and while some attacks feel great to use, you’ll generally just be button-mashing.
Of course, what makes D&D: Dark Alliance different from some action RPGs is the fact that it has co-op. You and up to three friends or randoms can fight your way through each of the levels on multiple difficulties. This allows you to keep playing through the levels as much as you want, always seeking higher levels, new abilities, and better loot.
It’s dangerous to go alone
The only issue with this is if you do actually want to play solo. There weren’t many opportunities for co-op prior to release, which is when we’ve been playing it, and some of the boss battles are very clearly designed for a group. You can still beat them solo, but it starts to feel like a Soulslike at points, but without the better-balanced combat of the series.
There are actually other Soulslike nods too. As you fight through the levels, you’ll earn a chance to use a short rest if you want to. Taking that rest will heal you and give you back some potions, but you can choose to sacrifice that rest to improve the loot you’ll find. This happens at every potential rest spot, and you can end up with a very attractive loot modifier if you’re playing particularly well.
Overall, Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance is fun, but it’s not revolutionary. However, if you’re looking for something to do as a bit of research ahead of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, then this could be a good starting point. Also, it’s coming to Game Pass, and that means that it won’t even be an additional cost for a lot of people.
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