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Review: Dungeon Explorer: Warriors of Ancient Arts

Monsters Inc.

Dungeon Explorer: Warriors of Ancient Arts sounds like an RPG, and it plays like one too. This latest title, from Hudson Soft sees players wander the lands crushing enemies and freeing the many dungeons of all sorts of monsters, before sealing those remaining in their prison forever. But how does the game play and is it really worth all of your time and effort?

The game starts off, like many RPGs, with you creating your character. To be fair there are quite a few classes to choose from, with the Monk, Shaman, Thief, Hunter, Fighter and Bishop on offer. You can also choose which race you wish to be and in that respect you can pick from the Izark, Ist and the Olff. Once you have chosen your race and class, you can also alter the look of your character, change their attributes and give them a name. Standard stuff really.

Unfortunately once the game finally gets underway you begin to realize that you could very well be in for a rather tedious ride. The action is somewhat bland as you crawl through dungeon after dungeon, slashing some rather uninspiring creatures and looking for something, anything that may just heighten your interest, although it never really materializes.

You are accompanied on your journey by a powerful sorcerer, who at the start of the game requests the help of the King’s two most able adventurers to accompany him on his mission to save the land. The sorcerer wants to place a sealed magical door on each of the dungeons, to keep the monsters, who are multiplying at an alarming rate, from escaping. This is where you come in.

The race you choose at the beginning, will decide which of the three areas you begin the game in, although whatever one you choose it is essentially the same.

The main problem with Dungeon Explorer is that both the story and the action are uninspiring, when you compare this title to other PSP RPGs out there, it really does fall quite flat. Practically all your time spent in the game is in a dungeon slashing at monsters, although the challenge is a rather lame one.

When you finally leave the dungeons, you will only be doing so to sign up for new adventures, recruit and equip your team. Once this is done it is then back into the dungeon, to slay some more creatures and earn some gold at the same time. Being an RPG though, you will level up your characters and gain new equipment, which at least gives you the sense of satisfaction that is otherwise missing.

As far as presentation goes, the game at least looks fairly decent, with some of the monsters and characters receiving fairly decent modeling. The environments are nothing to write home about, as being based mostly in a dungeon they are fairly bland and feature free. The worst area of presentation however is the menus, which are clunky and awkward to use, making equipping your character much more of a task than it needed to be.

One of the good points about the game is the multiplayer, if you know someone with a PSP then you are able to send them a trial version of the game to play along with you. This is a nice touch and at least allows a bit of social play which always helps to liven things up a bit.

Pros

  • It’s an RPG for PSP
  • Multiplayer allows social aspects

Cons

  • Action is fairly tedious
  • No real variety to the gameplay
  • Menus are awful

Dungeon Explorer is a game that most people should probably avoid. Unless you are a big RPG fan who is desperate for a fix, then this title is certainly not good enough to warranty your attention. The fighting is tedious, the story is not well told and the menus are clunky and awkward. It is a shame really, because any new and decent RPG on the PSP would be most welcome.

5/10


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