When Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance was revealed I was automatically interested. I really like the D&D universe, and being able to live a little of that, inside an action RPG, sold me the idea right away. Joining friends to face monsters characteristic of this universe, within well-known environments of the saga, seemed like a really simple idea and, equally, interesting. We take on the role of Drizzt, Cattie-brie, Bruenor and Wulfgar, who are trying to put down an onslaught of monsters that have invaded Icewind Dale in search of a powerful artifact known as the Crystal Shard.
The game is a creation of Tuque Games, which is a little-known studio, but that had great potential in its hands. Did they manage to explore all of this in their D&D version?
Em Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance We follow a legendary band of adventurers led by the iconic D&D character Drizzt Do'urden, who has by his side the legends Catti-brie, Wulfgar and Bruenor Battlehammer. We explore varied environments of the famous Icewind Dale, where we will advance with our companions to destroy various creatures that converged there in search of the power of the Crystal Fragment. In addition, there is still a colossal ancient white dragon, which is not at all enjoying our invasion of its valley. We'll have to go through all these hardships to not only save Icewind Dale, but probably the entire world, in case the Crystal Fragment falls into the wrong hands.
The story starts well, with a beautiful intro cinematic, which presents the characters and their motivations well. However, after that we were updated by the plot with brief chats between the companions during the missions and with short scenes during some events, which takes away a lot of the narrative weight and also the importance of a world that deserved to be well explored. The plot, the characters, the environments, it's all there, but Tuque Games didn't know, or didn't want to, go deeper to enrich the story. I fully understand that in games of this style the focus is on its gameplay, but when it carries a name as big as Dungeons & Dragons you expect much more and, unfortunately, in Dark alliance you get very little, which was a disappointment to me.
As for the missions, they are linear, but kind of fun. If you pay close attention to the opening dialogues of each act, you can go a little deeper into this world, getting to know more about the characters and what they think of what we are experiencing, in addition many of them have a delightful sense of humor. A pity that they are dialogues that occur while we are in the middle of the exploration and that can be overlooked by the less attentive or who are focused on exploring the maps.
Altogether there are four story missions and three dungeons, each of which has three acts. They always follow the same scope of two acts with exploration and one with a big boss to defeat. Each of these quests has enemies of its own, but they all have one thing in common: the hateful goblins. And they are everywhere. The path of these quests is linear, with some secret areas with puzzles that grant stat points, chests, lore items and gold, but the path is essentially only one.
Or gameplay style of Dark alliance It's very simple and straightforward. Go to the missions, eliminate different enemies with your skills and reach the final point. The most attentive can still find additional secrets and treasures.
For the characters we have four classes with very different combat styles. The infamous Drizzt Do'urden is what we call a rogue, very agile, he wields two scimitars and can also use abilities like turning invisible. Catti-brie is the archer who is always at a distance destroying her enemies, but she also has good melee attacks and can heal her group. The warrior comes to life with Wulfgar who with his fury can become a true force of destruction using his giant hammer. Finally, we had to have the tank, and for the important role we have Bruenor Battlehammer, who holds enemies with his shield and can still heal and recover stamina from his teammates. Something that was sorely lacking among these classes was the option of a mage, because magic is something very present in the D&D world and it was strange that there was not a character dedicated to this in the game. The studio has confirmed that it will add the mage in the first paid DLC that will be released in 2022.
After choosing your character you will go to your camp in Kelvin's Cairn, which is the place for you to start your quests, test your character's skills, in addition to being able to sell items and improve equipment and consumables. There's also a trophy area in it to view the bosses you've defeated and the large chest with items gained from the quest. In this safe area it is also possible to acquire new skills, assign talent points, change your equipment and also the skills you will use. It is a very important location for your journey, since everything I mentioned above can only be set up in the camp.
As for character progression, there are several ways to improve your performance. The most basic resources are the stat points for stats like Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, and so on, which you get for leveling up and also for completing secret puzzles hidden throughout the maps. There are also the moves and abilities you acquire with Gold to vary your combat options. Finally, we have the talents, whose points we earn as we level up and serve to unlock various passive effects.
Another way to improve your hero is the equipment you acquire during missions. They come in different levels of rarity and tier, and many of them benefit from set effects, for every 3, 5, and 8 pieces you equip from the same set. These items can also be upgraded by up to three levels, improving their attributes. A well-developed system that offers freedom for the most diverse builds. It's simple for newbies, but has plenty of room for those who want to delve deeper into its possibilities.
or combat of Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance follows the well-known motto of “easy to learn, hard to master”. You can go from start to finish, without varying your attacks too much, but you can also take advantage of each of them to turn each battle into great shows of skills and Combos. You start out with few options, but as you unlock moves, combat changes substantially. But don't go to the pot so thirsty in battles, as there is a cost of stamina for your attacks, and if it is not well managed it can leave you in a very risky situation. There's also defense and dodging for a more complete combat.
The commands are very intuitive and work well most of the time, but there are serious problems when it comes to combat. First, it is unresponsive. I don't know if the problem was the misadjusted hitbox or some kind of lag, but several times I didn't feel my hits on enemies, and was constantly targeted by hits that I was sure I had already dodged. This caused some unnecessary deaths, which took a lot of the fun out of some battles. Team combos also rarely worked correctly, or simply only appeared on screen when the fight was over. A very interesting system, but extremely poorly implemented.
a strong point of Dark alliance are your monsters, as there is a good variety of them, and many of them have completely unique attacks, bringing good dynamics and unpredictability to battles. Tuque Games has done its homework and brought you a rich D&D bestiary. We have dragon, beholder, duergar, giants, trolls, wraiths and many nefarious goblins. There is a certain exaggerated repetition of some types of bosses that could have been avoided, but the variety in general is very good.
After finishing the quests, as well as the Dungeons, we finish the central plot of the game. But what next? What is the endgame of Dark alliance? Basically, it gives you the opportunity to pursue stronger gear, as well as venturing out to complete full sets on the same maps you've already played, but now chasing higher difficulties for more powerful rewards. A simple endgame system, but satisfying for those who gather friends and try to reach the maximum potential for their character.
Your adventures in Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance can be played solo or in a group of up to four players. The game was clearly designed with co-op as a base, as the game feels natural with friends. We can perform combos and group strategies, in addition to the difficulty seeming to be more natural when we are accompanied. Dark alliance It is clearly more difficult if played solo.
You can enjoy the game entirely by yourself, but it feels like we're missing something. It uses the tethering system, in which if a player gets too far away from the host, he will be teleported to the leader after a few seconds count.
The sessions for the matches are created from the camp where we can invite our friends. You can also join random matches or leave your session open for other players to join. In the early days, when finishing a mission, it was always necessary to create the session again, but this became less frequent over time, as updates were implemented. Overall it's simple to play with friends, I just missed being able to call directly through the game and not through the Xbox Live list. It also features PC crossplay, which expands the player base well.
Dark alliance will also receive support on Xbox Series X|S for local co-op, or couch co-op, in its first major free content update.
Graphics and Sound
A really good look Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance are your scenarios. They are very beautiful and full of details. The developers showed great care in bringing a strong D&D atmosphere. Icewind Dale is a beautiful place, full of structures and environments that transport us to that fantasy realm. The immensity of the environments is also impressive, with incredible art both in close settings and in more distant landscapes. This was one of the most beautiful recreations of the Forgotten Realms I've ever seen in a game, with beautiful settings like Kelvin's Cairn, Hinterlands and Dwarven Valley. It takes full advantage of features like HDR, and comes alive with vibrant colors and well-placed lighting.
No Xbox Series X the loadings are very fast and the game has always remained stable with its 4K/60FPS, even in battles with many monsters or effects on the screen. Even so, Dark alliance brought some annoying issues, like quest objects to progress on maps that we can't interact with, being something that on one occasion forced us to die to start that area again. Riding in elevators is also problematic, as we clearly see that there wasn't a quality team to notice the bad animation. The “Silenced” effect that we received from enemies, which makes it impossible for us to use skills, also brought major problems, as on several occasions it simply would not deactivate anymore.
The game has huge potential and is shown with great beauty, but these technical problems tire and take away a lot of the shine it could bring to players. It seems to me more of those cases of games that needed more time to really get ready, but that the studio needed to release on the scheduled date, even if adjustments were still necessary.
As for the sound, the game has good themes, but nothing too remarkable. The voices are good and match the characters well, a pity we don't hear them more in story scenes. The game has subtitles and menus in Portuguese from our country, so you won't have much trouble understanding the story or its mechanics.
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance can be described as a game that sought to show as much of a beautiful view of the D&D universe in a co-op action game, but it was clear that perhaps a little more time was needed to deliver a more polished experience.
It has a beautiful setting, with a good variety of scenarios and monsters, as well as very varied heroes and an interesting story. Too bad the studio seems shy to explore more of this universe, bringing in a shallow story and characters that aren't well explored, never really delving into the D&D fantasy. Combat is fun and really has a lot of possibilities to approach the battles, but it lacked more polish to offer a really responsive experience to the commands.
Despite its problems, Dark alliance still offers a good option of action RPG to enjoy in an uncompromising way with friends, because there is a certain charm in exploring this version of Icewind Dale. Best of all, he's in the Xbox Game Pass, so if you are a subscriber, it is worth testing to get to know this proposal better.
understand our notes
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance is available for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox Game Pass, and Xbox Cloud Gaming.
*Make sure this is the current price before making the purchase. Values may vary.
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