The new reboot Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance has been getting insanely mixed reviews and has been leaving many players unsure as to whether or not to buy it. Many people have been anticipating the game from the original series, however ended up hesitant and disappointed. However, I actually find the game to be quite enjoyable and want to clear the air on how good the game actually is, and how a lot of the reviews seemed preemptive and in a sense almost biased. For those who have not heard of the game, Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance is a cooperative action RPG developed by Tuque Games and Published by Wizards of the Coast. It can be bought for $39.99 on all current and last generation platforms aside from the Nintendo Switch.
The story takes place after the defeat of Akar Kessell’s Army. Icewind Dale has now been invaded by hordes of monsters who are trying to take the Crystal Shard. Players get to partake in various dungeons with friends in a campaign like setting by picking one of the four main characters which are all different classes. Players can also choose to play solo, however due to the DND like style I would recommend playing with friends. Each campaign dungeon is not only long (especially for those trying to get every hidden treasures), but also challenging.
The game itself is actually very enjoyable as you progress. I know many reviewers and complaints have stated the gameplay felt sluggish and boring, however, the game itself is based on a DND-like setting. Your character progression unlocks new moves and feats as you level up, and all base stats are predetermined. If players want to experience a fast-paced action RPG, then this is not the game for them. Like any tabletop RPG, character progression is slow and rewarding. But as you unlock new abilities, your combos only get not only visually appealing but also pack damage.
Another reason why I think this game is very satisfying is that each dungeon is extremely vast. There are multiple hidden areas and ways to get to each objective. In addition to the size of each area, every dungeon feels rewarding like any DND campaign due to the levels of difficulty. Players get to start out with 3 different difficulty settings and the harder you set your dungeon the more rewarding the loot and experience can be. Every dungeon also comes with 3 different acts and areas with brutal bosses, making players pretty much need a party. That’s another reason I wanted to clarify the confusion because many reviews docked points based on the difficulty curve. I believe most people forget that Wizards was aiming for an actual DND-like setting as per the previous Baldur’s Gate games, which is why the game is meant for more players and not so much solo play. The game is built on teamwork and enjoying the strategies players can implement for each fight.
My only complaints with the game are the performance and the cooperative settings. First and foremost at least for the Steam version, there is no way to invite players from the game itself, you have to go to steam. This feels very misleading due to the menu options for finding random players, finding friends which apparently is an option to switch to online, and the invite-only option which you can not do from the game. There also have been times where I have accepted an invite and have been sent to a random person’s game. To visit my second issue, the game is filled with bugs and some crashes. Not anything game-breaking like Ubisoft titles but enough to be annoying. This is based on the fact that if a game crashes that player will not reenter the dungeon, they will enter the base camp which forces the other player to finish without them or leave and lose all loot. The glitches are more so goofy because they do not kill you for the most part. These glitches mostly consist of characters not loading or being half visible, and an occasional fall through the floor glitch.
Steam Link players will also have to deal with massive performance issues sadly. I tried to play and I was met with massive frame rate drops that lead to my inevitable death from goblins. Overall though I think it is a solid successor to the previous series. For players looking for a good DND grind fest with friends or random players, you will absolutely love the game. For players looking to play a fast-paced easy action RPG, this is not the game for you. I believe over time the performance issues will be worked out and that the game will only get better from here.