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Review

Review: Dungeon Hunter: Alliance

Bring a friend (or three.)

Though Gameloft is a name primarily linked to mobile gaming, this year the publisher has really been pushing development on other platforms, most noticeably, the PlayStation 3. January saw the exclusive release of Modern Combat: Domination, an impressive online shooter carrying the brand name of Gameloft’s most popualr FPS franchise. In a similar fashion Dungeon Hunter, another one of the company’s prestigious series, is making its debut appearance on the PlayStation with Dungeon Hunter: Alliance.

Info:
  • Exclusive for PSN
  • PlayStation Move compatible
  • Available for £7.49 via PlayStation Plus
Despite there being two existing instalments available on iOS, prior knowledge to the Dungeon Hunter series is not required to play Alliance. In the fictional realm of Gothicus, you assume the role of a fallen king who is suddenly brought back to life to find the land in turmoil. Murdered by your own queen, you must now embark on a quest to restore the kingdom and uncover the mystery behind your demise.

Truth be told, the plot is thin on the ground and at some stages almost non-existent. If you are looking for a compelling narrative, no matter how hard you search, you will walk away from Alliance empty-handed. There are only a few notable “characters” in the entire game, none of which are particularly interesting or well-developed. However, the realm of Gothicus is characterised quite well, presenting a fictional world which doesn’t borrow directly from already-established games and novels.

never feels as engaging as it should be

Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is an RPG solely centred around its gameplay more than anything else. Though there will be the occasional moment of downtime, usually near vendors or settlements, players will be spending a good 95% of the time continually engaged in combat. From a top-down perspective, players will be able to utilise the abilities of either a warrior, rogue, or mage to plough through hordes of enemies in order to reach objectives. Each class focuses on a concentrated group of attributes (the warrior favours strength, whereas the mage depends on energy) defining their play-style and the equipment available to them. Though all three classes feel a tad limited to begin with, the expansive skill tree helps you to create your ideal character. For instance, you can start with a mage and slowly raise the strength and endurance skills to form a hybrid class with potent combat and healing capabilities.

The actual gameplay itself is Dungeon Hunter’s most divisive element. Without any sort of combo system or block/dodge mechanic, combat never feels as engaging as it should be for a console RPG. Aside from a basic attack, up to three abilities can be stored using the remaining face buttons, making the game easily accessible, yet diverse enough to prevent monotony from kicking in. To spice the gameplay up somewhat, there are also special attacks with a sixty-second cool-down as well as a gear-switching mechanic, allowing the player to swap between one set of equipment to another in a split second.

Like Modern Combat: Domination, Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is playable via both the Dualshock 3 and PlayStation Move. Unlike most motion-compatible games of a similar structure, Alliance only requires a single controller, without the need for an additional “Nav.” A cursor will appear on-screen to direct the character and will also be used to direct attacks and abilities. Though it’s prone to a few hiccups here and there (accidentally tilting the controller will force you to switch your equipment, for instance) it’s a refreshing way to play the game, and if there is a Dualshock shortage in your home, it means more players can get involved.

the deepest RPG the PlayStation Network has to offer

Alliance’s most defining feature is its multiplayer component which hosts up to four characters both online and locally. No matter where you are in the game, other players can drop in and out with the press of a button, also made easy for online strangers via the game’s simple matchmaking system. Though the gameplay remains unchanged, the added tactical element of working as a team really shines through, the three classes complimenting each-other soundly. Players also have the ability to chat and trade items but the online component isn’t without its hitches. Although loot is dished out evenly to each character, the distribution method isn’t very intelligent. No matter what the item is, it will be randomly assigned to a specific player who is the only one allowed to pick it up, unless they decide to trade it (a negotiation hard to pull-off while in mid-game.) This results in characters picking items which they are clearly not compatible with (warriors with robes, rogues with great-axes, mages with chainmail,) leading to bouts of frustration. Another frequent issue is the online lobby itself; rooms which are fully reserved will still appear on the list, and the transition between menus is sluggish.

For a dungeon crawler, Alliance hosts a splendid palette of diverse, vibrantly-coloured locations, from poisonous, infested sewers, to cloudy mountaintops and beyond. The lack of initial character customisation is a little disappointing but the wealth of appearance options available later on more than make up for it. The gallery of sound effects are just as impressive, with a moody soundtrack which fits nicely.

Pros:

  • Accessible to all gamers
  • PlayStation Move is well integrated
  • Plenty of content for the given price tag
  • Looks and sounds great
  • Instant online action

Cons:

  • Gameplay can get repetitive
  • No block/dodge actions
  • Boss battles can be brutal
  • Clumsy loot system and other minor online faults
  • Lack of character customisation options

Dungeon Hunter: Alliance may feel a little light to begin with, but a few hours down the line, and you may find yourself engulfed in the deepest RPG the PlayStation Network has to offer. Hardcore fans will easily be able to rack over 30 hours of play-time, the multiplayer component extending it even further. However, the repetitive and sometimes bland gameplay will definitely prove to be a barrier for some.

When we spoke to Gameloft last month they told us that their main goal in developing downloadable titles for the PlayStation 3 was to produce high-quality games with afforadable price tags. If Modern Combat wasn’t sufficient enough evidence to support their bold claim, Dungeon Hunter: Alliance will have you second guessing.

Score: 7/10

23 Comments
  1. PoolieMike
    Member
    Since: Oct 2008

    I love this game, I’ve played through it twice so far and I’m gonna start as a mage once I find someone else to play with, being a mage on your own just isn’t a good idea.

    Comment posted on 16/04/2011 at 14:17.
  2. MadBoJangles
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    I like the look of this, dungeon crawlers are severely missing from the PS3 games catalogue imo!

    Looking forward to Dungeon Siege 3, recently bought Sacred 2 again to plug the gap until then. Might give this a look too :)

    Comment posted on 16/04/2011 at 14:32.
    • Jim H [Teabags]
      Member
      Since: Nov 2009

      Dungeons & Dragongs: Daggerdale is also one to look out for ;)

      Comment posted on 16/04/2011 at 19:22.
      • MadBoJangles
        Member
        Since: Nov 2009

        Ooooh not seen anything on that one.
        Any news due on Kingdoms of Amalur? That one seems to have some serious talent attached to it too…

        Comment posted on 18/04/2011 at 07:15.
  3. Sympozium
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    Argh.. said to myself that I’ll buy Sacred 2 again at a later date, its so fun. Sadly I don’t believe that DH: A is worth my time and with Dungeon Siege 3 soon things will just get worst for time.

    Comment posted on 16/04/2011 at 15:11.
  4. Gamoc
    Member
    Since: Forever

    I was hoping this wouldn’t be good as I spent all the money I can afford on the Humble Indie Bundle and Borderlands GOTY via Steam whilst it was on sale the other say. I need to find money for this, too.

    Gaming; thou art a cruel mistress.

    Comment posted on 16/04/2011 at 15:14.
  5. cnutard
    Member
    Since: Apr 2011

    I don’t know about block as I haven’t played a Warrior yet, but the game definitely has a dodging system, I’ve seen my Rogue dodge many a time.

    Nice little game though, worth sticking some hours into it. As said in the article the only problem is the repetitiveness.

    Comment posted on 16/04/2011 at 15:54.
    • cnutard
      Member
      Since: Apr 2011

      Also, personally I wouldn’t consider boss fights being brutal a bad thing. Though I’m not sure I would consider them brutal to start with. I was able to defeat all boss’, bar a few towards the start of the game (lack of good items I assume), by myself (again as Rogue). For myself it was just a case of running around in circles with the boss in tow (it’s been awhile since I’ve played a RPG so I can’t remember the term for this).

      Comment posted on 16/04/2011 at 16:02.
      • MadBoJangles
        Member
        Since: Nov 2009

        “kiting”??

        Comment posted on 16/04/2011 at 16:50.
      • cnutard
        Member
        Since: Apr 2011

        Aye, that’s the one :)

        Comment posted on 16/04/2011 at 17:25.
    • moshi
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      The dodge is just one of the attributes your skill tree weapons/clothing etc gives you, you can’t actively do it you just get a % of a chance to dodge.

      Comment posted on 16/04/2011 at 18:42.
      • Jim H [Teabags]
        Member
        Since: Nov 2009

        This. I would prefer having control of when I dodge to be honest.

        Comment posted on 16/04/2011 at 19:17.
  6. moshi
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    Bang On Review there Mr Teabags. Played a good 15 hours of it now and the time just flies by.

    Comment posted on 16/04/2011 at 16:42.
  7. blackredyellow
    Member
    Since: Mar 2009

    I wish they’d re-release Baldurs Gate via PSN (or on disc…).

    Still this seems like a pretty good alternative. Shall get involved this week so anyone needing a partner, please add me! (PSN – blackredyellow)

    Comment posted on 16/04/2011 at 18:38.
    • moshi
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      It has zero charm or wit as Baldours Gate had.

      Comment posted on 16/04/2011 at 18:44.
  8. matthangzhou
    Member
    Since: Sep 2010

    Got this and Clash of Heroes discounted thanks to plus this month, and loving both!

    Comment posted on 16/04/2011 at 23:53.
  9. Nauraph
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    I personally think the loot system is very good. The reason they put it in is just to make sure that everyone gets an even share. I used to play Champions: return to arms, witth some friends. And those that were fighting on the frontline would pick up all of the stuff, which made it kinda unbalanced. If the loot system would only allow a character to only pick up stuff it can wear.. it would ruin the whole ‘trading’ part, which really increases the feel of teamplay. So I think this loot system is very well done.
    I also want to state that I think it’s very good that they even share the exp. (except when one dies).. it would be annoying if a mage, focussing on healing, would fall behind the rest. For me this game is a 8/10, good review though. And I have to say I refuse to play this game solo, I’m only playing this with friends.

    Comment posted on 17/04/2011 at 09:09.
    • Nauraph
      Member
      Since: Jan 2010

      We bought this game with the PSN voucher we won with Zombie Survival*
      Thanks a lot TSA!

      Comment posted on 17/04/2011 at 09:12.
  10. DrNate86
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    I spotted both this and Might and Magic on the PS+ store and am debating which to get. Probably Might and Magic as they offer a demo and Dungeon Hunter doesn’t!

    Comment posted on 17/04/2011 at 11:42.
    • Nauraph
      Member
      Since: Jan 2010

      If you can play with friends, I’d pick Dungeon Hunter: Alliance.
      If not.. Might and Magic all the way. ;)

      Comment posted on 18/04/2011 at 07:40.

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