In the past few weeks, we’ve been able to get back to seeing Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance in action. The title developed by Wizards of the Coast and Tuque Games is a third-person action RPG to be played possibly in co-op and will be released on June 22 in digital format on PC, Xbox and PlayStation. It will be available starting from day one also on Game Pass, while in physical format it will be necessary to wait until 13 July.
The mission we were able to play was different than the one we faced the first time and on this occasion we were also able to see a boss fight. We are therefore ready to tell you all the details about Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance in our preview.
Reporting to the Chef
The premise with which we want to start this preview concerns the approach we intend to use for this article. We are close to the release of the game and therefore we delegate to the review of Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance the task of accurately describing what this product is. An initial compendium of what are the basic mechanics of combat and co-op created by Wizards of the Coast and Tuque Games, you can also find them in our first trial of Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance. In this article we will focus on all the news that emerged in the last test and from the chat with Jean-Francois Champagne, the Lead Mission Designer.
This time our game session allowed us to use the mythic Drizzt Do’Urden. The leader of the company of heroes that we will control in the game is a very different character from Wulfagr, the barbarian we played earlier. The approach to the battle was therefore opposite to what we had in the previous test session and this allowed us to test the layering of the gameplay in terms of variety and approaches.
Wulfgar’s constitution and concept had allowed us to approach battles in a ferocious and brutal way, as a pure tank, regardless of the injuries suffered and aware of the large amount of potential damage to inflict. With Drizzt we had to play a hit and run sudden, characterized by fast attacks with double blades interspersed with the moments in which the special abilities were activated. Drizzt’s gameplay is focused on individual enemies, while Wulfgar had more possibilities for crowd control, and this allowed us to see how synergy with the team is essential.
The role-playing nature of Dungeons & Dragons is present, as we will see later, but also during the clashes the possibility of playing “role” emerges through the possibilities offered by the combat system, which varies according to the different components of the company, but is always satisfactory. Unfortunately, it is in some elements of the technical sector of the gameplay that some doubts arise.
If the first approach was not judged from this point of view, in the second test of the game we ask ourselves if, although our test was made on a backward build and not the day one, this is the actual rendering of some animations. Let’s talk about the specificanimation of the race and the feeling obtained in hitting large enemies (we have not had the opportunity to confront ourselves with monsters of enormous size). We found the animation of the shot clumsy and not very refined, the feeling is that of a race on rails. If in large spaces with the normal camera this fades into the background, in narrow maps with close-up camera it creates some annoyance.
The second doubt concerns the feeling hits on large enemies. In this case, the animation of the backlash suffered by the colossal opponents is missing. The only animation present is that of the stun at certain times, but the punching-ball effect that collects everything is present. This is out of place when compared to some animations of the smaller enemies, which interact coherently with the hits they suffer.
This is very evident precisely in the boss fight. In our test we got to face the Chef. In his huge kitchen, with magma leaking from the floor, the clash took place in a space of variable dimensions with the need to coordinate the assaults and avoid the puffs of fire, all while sheltering from the attacks of the big enemy. The fight then evolved as the damage inflicted increased, with two further phases, one of pattern change and one of berserk.
On balance, the boss fight gave us several confirmations of our first impressions. The work done on environmental and enemy design is very respectable. The idea behind deep battles (which grow in complexity as the level of difficulty increases) perfectly exploits the co-op nature of the title, requiring the player to know all the possibilities offered by the characters. At high difficulty levels, Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance will surely give its best in these stages.
Some clarifications and curiosities
The impressions obtained from the mission played were followed by a chat phase with the Lead Mission Designer Jean-Francois Champagne in the game’s social hub, or the camp. Here we were able to learn several elements both on the management of some situations in-game and on Tuque and Wizards’ plans for the game. First, two key elements: the presence of a fifth class based on magic and post launch support.
As already mentioned, Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance will offer both storyline missions and repeatable dungeons. The goal is to constantly expand this number (which until the first update of the summer, presumably in July / August will be around twenty) by offering players new challenges, new loot and new boss trophies to be displayed on their social network. hub. Beyond this, in the fall, in addition to the second update of free content with new dungeons and so on, the first expansion will also arrive. Echoes of the Blood War will introduce a magical subclass and an entire story arc that will add to the playable content.
The idea of continuing to expand the number of contents is based on what is a fundamental element: the loot. The role-playing experience we mentioned previously revolves around the possibility of finding ever more powerful weapons and armor. The statistics to do “build” are related to theequipment, which can be improved and will personalize the fight through all that series of actions (application of altered statuses, resistances, etc.) that we know well. In addition to all this, the loot will aesthetically modify the character, allowing you to also do fashion styling of our avatar. Also, if Wulfgar and Drizzt both find a loot piece with the same name (eg Hunter’s Greaves) this piece will fit the character and will not be identical between the two. The choice was then to relegate the drop of the legendary loot to the end-game activities of higher difficulty, a gimmick designed to push players to seek a difficult challenge and reward them appropriately.
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance once again proved to be an ambitious title, but consistent with its nature. The strong points are there for all to see, as are some doubts arising from certain uncertainties shown in both tests. The day one version is around the corner and only there will we discover the exact shape of its nature, but the title Tuque Games and Wizards of the Coast has all the credentials to carve out a place in the genre to which it belongs.