Game Over Online ~ Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale

GameOver Game Reviews - Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale (c) Atari, Reviewed by - Thomas Wilde

Game & Publisher Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale (c) Atari
System Requirements Xbox 360
Overall Rating 80%
Date Published Friday, June 10th, 2011 at 11:26 PM

Divider Left By: Thomas Wilde Divider Right

The third edition of Dungeons & Dragons was a big windfall for the CRPG industry, and spawned a frankly ridiculous number of video games over the course of the last decade or so. Atari made a lot of them, which ranged from tactical strategy games to dungeon crawlers to the top-down action-RPG, the latter of which turned into its own independent subgenre for a little while. I don't think it's entirely out of place to say that D&D, along with the "Dragon Ball Z" license, probably kept Atari from folding completely.

With the switch to D&D's fourth edition, which is already designed from the ground up to play online, I've been wondering how the CRPG cottage industry would adapt to it, and now with Daggerdale (which I am constantly having to go back and doublecheck to make sure I didn't write as Daggerfall by accident), I have an answer. It's pretty much the same, except now the halfling character is a wizard instead of a thief.

Daggerdale is a downloadable game, and even with that in mind, certain elements of it seem pretty phoned-in; the production values sit sort of awkwardly between that of a mid-range retail release and high-end online games. It looks and plays like an unambitious Xbox game from around 2004. Characters and objects that can be interacted with in the future, but not now, still have the flag above their heads that suggests you can, which is annoying, and your position on the in-game map can't be moved unless you physically move your character, which makes finding a lot of quest objectives much harder than it has to be.

However, the game manages to conceal a lot of that when you're actually in a fight. The parts when you're just moving through the dungeons looking for goblins to kill - and there are thousands of them - can be slow and boring, but Daggerdale's whole deal involves burying you in angry monsters given the slightest provocation. Your characters - a human fighter, elven rogue, dwarf cleric, or halfling wizard - are all a lot more powerful out of the box than they would be in any other version of D&D to date, which gives the entire thing a slightly more sedate Dynasty Warriors sort of feel. You have decent options for both single-target damage and crowd control right from the start, which comes in handy, because you get to fight a dozen goblins at a time as early as level 2 or so.

Daggerdale, as these things go, isn't bad, and you do get a lot of game for your money here, particularly if you go through it cooperatively. There are never quite enough co-op dungeon crawlers on the market, and while this isn't a particularly pretty or intuitive one, it allows you to kill a whole boatload of monsters while stealing all their money to spend on ways to improve your ability to kill entire boatloads of slightly tougher monsters, and that's pretty much all you need out of this kind of game.

Also, if for some reason you really, really hate barrels, this is your game. Daggerdale is 75% dungeon crawler, 25% destroying barrels, complete with a really upset cooper right near the beginning of the game. If Donkey Kong left you deeply traumatized, this game will be like therapy for you.


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