Last winter we had the chance to try it for the first time Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance, the new Action-RPG set in the wonderful Forgotten Realms, managing to see a quality all in all good but strewn with doubts about post-launch support. In the last few days we have catapulted ourselves into a new test, managing to try a completely different character and a new level, as well as discover Tuque Games’ plan regarding the plans for the future of the title.
We do not deny that we still have many doubts, especially for the contents that will be present on day one, but we cannot deny that we have found ourselves in front of a solid product from the point of view of gameplay that could appeal to D&D fans, but that will necessarily have to deal with an overpopulated genre and extremely competitive.
Where the journey takes us
Dungeons & Dragons is a franchise that certainly needs no introduction: books, comics, board games, video games; an immortal presence that has accompanied millions of people and that still manages to offer wonderful adventures between laughter, drama and epicness. Being able to play with your friends and experience adventures has therefore always been the main focus of D&D and also that of Dark Alliance.
In this cooperative Action-RPG we will visit the frozen tundra located in the Frozenfar region of the North, Icewind Dale. The story stars Drizzt Do’Urden, Bruenor Battlehammer, Wulfgar and Catti-Brie, heroes featured in the novels “The Legend of Drizzt” written by RA Salvatore. Tuque games has worked to ensure that the gameplay choices do not go against the lore and the narrative sector, respecting the will of the fans not to distort elements of the D&D universe.
Precisely for this reason, when asked if new characters will be introduced, the developers have been rather vague, because they really care not to introduce invented heroes or original productions into the game, remaining anchored in the narrative balance dictated by the novels. A choice, as we have analyzed several times in the previous preview, which we consider courageous, since this involves a rather limited number of initial characters.
The initial choice, in any case, allows us to decide whether to play in single player or in co-op multiplayer, where in the first case we have the possibility to interchange the character – and therefore the class -, while in co-op couch ( up to two players) and in online co-op (up to four players) it is necessary to choose a hero among thief, barbarian, ranger and warrior, perhaps referring to the choices of our companions.
Win or die together
As described above, Dungeons & Dragon: Dark Alliance is an Action-RPG with cooperative elements, very similar to several titles we’ve come to know over the years, such as Warhammer Vemintide.
Structurally then, we have a central HUB where it is possible to organize our adventures through the world map, buy items, upgrade equipment or manage our heroes. Whenever we complete a level, the rewards are delivered to a chest in the middle of the HUB, where we can decide whether to keep them or sell them to buy something else.
As in any self-respecting Action-RPG, the number one goal remains to strengthen and gradually become more and more powerful, both from the point of view of the level cap and the abilities obtainable and for the loot that we can find during the our raids. The latter depends primarily on the difficulty we select and secondly on some modifiers that can be activated during individual missions. Among these, the most important is certainly the bonfire, which basically acts as a checkpoint allowing us to resurrect once dead, however it is also possible to avoid resting to increase the chances of obtaining rarer treasures, but also to risk dying and restart the level from head. A good method, which varies a lot in different game situations, prompting us to be much more cautious.
The game maps are quite large and hide back roads where you can find chests and materials, useful for obtaining additional equipment or items to improve the character. Exploring, therefore, is fundamental, even if it is not of primary importance for the purposes of the mission itself.
Clearly our journey is not limited by looking for objects, but also and above all focused on fighting, otherwise we wouldn’t be talking about an Action-RPG. We can immediately reassure you about it, since Dungeons & Dragon: Dark Alliance has solid and fun mechanics; in the previous test we had the opportunity to test the Thief, rather powerful at short distances and able to inflict critical damage. In the most recent test, however, we wanted to try the Ranger, perfect for long distances and to guarantee care for teammates. A support that has amused us and that has proved essential to be able to come out as winners against the boss at the end of the level. Clearly, teamwork and harmony remain important, communicating allows you to be able to get by without suffering too much damage. The possibilities of approach are diversified, being able to exploit secondary skills, dodges and above all environmental elements such as explosive barrels or traps.
As in the previous test we cannot tell you a lot from a graphic and technical point of view, since this test was also carried out with Parsec, a system that allows you to play in streaming. Not being able to give an honest and clear opinion on the matter, we postpone this point in the review phase. The art style is still very good, both for the settings and for the enemies present, which vary from small goblins to fearsome trolls. Between the cutscene and the soundtrack, however, the production values seem to be at a good level.
Post launch content
Tuque Games has thought of a series of post-launch content, already presenting a clear roadmap for 2021. Among these, two completely free DLCs which will introduce respectively: a three-level mission set in a forest, and another three-level mission starring the Trolls, complete with additional challenges.
There will be subsequently, by the end of the year, an expansion DLC called Echoes of the Blood War. This will sell for 19.99 euros and will include a new playable character that will exploit magical powers, as well as new missions and enemies.
In short, the general premises seem good, also considering Tuque Games’ willingness to expand and improve the game (such as the introduction of split screen on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which will come only later). Xbox Game Pass, from this point of view, will be a huge help for the project. The Microsoft subscription, in fact, has already shown several times to be able to let millions of players try a certain product and we hope that it will be the case with Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance.
Pulling the Sums
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance confirms the pleasant and solid basis verified last winter, proving to be an intuitive and satisfying Action-RPG, especially in team with other players. Now we also know part of the post-launch support and we have a first hint on the willingness to support the game, which can only be a positive factor the title, which among other things, will also be available on Xbox Game Pass starting from the day one. Despite this, however, we are still skeptical about the possibility that Dark Alliance really manages to enter the hearts of the players, especially due to a rather high gender redundancy, which risks being a negative factor for Tuque Games’ game. But if this doesn’t affect you and you just want to throw yourself into a great adventure in Icewind Dale together with your cats, then this Dungeons & Dragons Dark Alliance is definitely a product to keep an eye on. For our part, we will not fail to tell you in greater detail the final experience, once it has landed on the market.