The lights are on
I didn't want to have to write my first game review by stepping of on a negative foot... But then Atari's Dungeons and Dragons: Daggerdale blundered its way into my heart and ripped out my soul. The game is a download only option from Xbox Live Arcade and will cost you less than most second hand games run in your local buy and trade shops, which turns out to be one of its few good qualities. Daggerdale is simple. Hack and slash, throw in a few power moves to beat the tougher mobs, loot, loot, loot, and then beat a mini boss. After that loot some more. It falls neatly into the same RPG hack and slash as the awesome Baldersgate or Champions of Norath with newer, not nesicarily better, graphics.
As you progress through the game you level up and gain new skills, stats, and improved feats much like table top DnD, only simplified down a good deal. You start the game as one of four characters that you get to personalize only by naming and by equiping new weapons and armor. That was a downside for me, as character creation is a key point in any RPG. However, given the simplicity of the game and overall short span of the actual game, its really not to detrimental to enjoying the game. I loved Daggerdale at first. Right off the bat after I downloaded it I ploped down on my couch and settled in to expeirence the tales of yore and legend. I was immeadiately disapointed at a few minor visual glitches causeing my screen to jump like an old reel to reel video. I am not sure wether to attribute that to a shoddy download (I actually run a good cable connection so its not likely), or a glitchy tendancy in the game itself. Other than that minor distraction that occurs rarely enough to ignore the game was pure gold at first sight. I fell in love with my spell flinging halfling and the hulking human warrior bashing everything from barrels to goblins and skeletons to tiny bits with my massive hammer. I even warmed up to the dwarven cleric and female elven rogue after a few minutes of adjusting to player roles I don't often take up. After about two hours of hacking my way to the top and a million goblins later, I reached level ten with my human warrior, who I had named Faldion Shieldheart and came to love in a sense. Then my world fell apart.
I opened my character sheet ready to add newfound powers and strength, with a thrill of victory... My entire skillset had dissapeared. I had been wiped blank. I instantly turned off the system and reloaded the game without saving. Thankfully all my skills were back... but I was only level nine again. So I toiled away a bit and once again reached level 10. I opened my character sheet to apply the level up points. Wiped blank. I did this 4 times before I became frustrated with the glitchy game and walked away from it. This on top of merchants suddenly only having only what you sold to them or nothing at all and items disappearing from your inventory, drove me past the point of frustration with the game.
A few days later I decided to pick it back up and try the online, two to four co-op, multiplayer portion of the game. Even with a good to great connection, lag was ridiculous and the game liked to throw you into loading screens to catch up while you stood there and your teammates had to fight to keep your useless shell alive or let you die unable to defend yourself. I actually for whatever reason experienced less lag when I only played with my friends back in the states, which is weird in and of itself considering I live in Germany at the moment. After a few hours of enduring all the glitchy horrors of the game, such as a character seeming to just not be there, or gliding in a stuck pose, or better yet freezing in place after trying to activate a power, combined with massive lag, I was exasperated. The game ender of all time then occured. All of my skills were once agian deleted, this time at level eight while playing the halfing mage. I officially threw down the controller and called it quits.
So thank you Atari for shoveling a completely useless, broken game onto the market to make a buck or two off of gamers like me. The game had untold possibility for hours on end of hack and loot fun, but instead of taking your time and producing a quality game you smashed some code into a machine and set it out for sale knowing long time gamers and DnD players such as myself wouldn't be able to resist a ridiculously cheap DnD themed title that was raved as and I quote "The way Dungeons & Dragons was always meant to be played" -GamePro. Pfft. Thanks for ruining my weekend, Atari, which doing what I do in the US Army, I don't actually get very many of.
No one has commented on this article.