3.16.2006

Game Review: Dungeon Lords CE

Dungeon Lords Collector's Edition

(8.2 of 10)
Platform: Windows (PC)
Developer: Heuristic Park
Publisher: DreamCatcher Interactive




Introduction

Dungeon Lords was one of my most anticipated games from last year (2005). Fortunately, I was broke during the time of its release and was able to avert myself from buying this bug plagued and catastrophic game. This time, however, on its second release, I can’t find enough reasons to avoid it.

Since I haven’t played the original Dungeon Lords, I can’t make comparisons between the initial version and the collector’s edition.

Brewing Your Hero
Creating a character in Dungeon Lords is no different from other RPGs. You get to select and create your character from seven races (and gender for Humans or Elves, and each gender has its own advantages and disadvantages), four 1st tier classes, five Heraldries (offers bonuses), and distribute points to attributes and skills.


The character creation offers a lot of choices.

Advancing a character, however, is quite unique. Besides from the 1st tier class you chose from the character creation, you can also add four different classes (another 1st tier class, two 2nd tier classes, and a 3rd tier class) by joining guilds. There are fifteen 2nd tier classes and fourteen 3rd tier classes to choose from. You also have the ability to distribute your experience points without waiting for a level up.

The Story: A Fantasy Cliché
The story might look like a well-worn fantasy formula that had been used in decades, in which an evil wizard is trying to gather the relics of power to gain supremacy throughout the land, but there are some nice additions and twists that makes it more colorful than what you would expect it to be.


I'm not really fond of the "wiki" style dialogue system.

The dialogue system is the same of Morrowind, Ultima, and Wizardry series, in which you would pick a topic and the NPC will try to narrate it for you. Albeit I don’t like this type of “wiki” dialogue system, it presented the story -of Dungeon Lords- very well.

A World of Dungeons
The world of Dungeon Lords is tremendous ( smaller than Morrowind, and larger than Gothic) and beautiful. You can travel in any parts of the map with minor restrictions. Traveling can also be done by foot or through moon bridges. But in the beginning of the game you’ll do a lot of running, which can be very tedious. The only map you have available is a small automap on your screen. You don’t have an overview of the world map. Instead, they’ve included a paper map in the package.


The shadow ruins is my favorite dungeon in the game.

Dungeon Lords lives up to its name –it’s because all the dungeons in this game are well designed. Every dungeon is different, but all are littered with traps, puzzles, and confusing mazes. My favorite would be The Shadow Ruins.

Hacking and Slashing.
Besides the dungeons, combat is probably another highlight of this game. Combat works like Gothic -in which you’re in total control of you character, and not by some die. So the combat system is fun but it takes time to get used to. The enemies also have different attack types. It’s also good that they don’t attack you in singles, they come in packs, and even the weakest of opponents can overwhelm you.


I thought the red mushrooms will make you grow?

Unlocking chests are also fun since it challenges your perception and quickness but it’s also tied to your character’s skill level.


Disarming traps and picklocking is fun and challenging.

Sights and Sounds

The graphics is also well done in this game. It’s not the best but is certainly better than most. The trees and grass are well detailed and moves with the wind. Combat movement is almost realistic, and the spell animations are scintillating. However, some buildings are still barely decorated (where in the original Dungeon Lords there are no furniture), and the towns are almost lifeless.


The dense forest near Fargrove.

The sound is the worst part of the game. The voice acting is horrible and sounds like it was done by a Chinese, who is trying very hard with a British accent. But it doesn’t matter anyways since the voices are drowned down and almost inaudible. The music…what music?

Conclusion
I haven’t played the initial version of Dungeon Lords but I heard a lot of bad things about it. Unfurnished interiors, lacking skills, and show-stopping bugs, are just a few problems, making the game unplayable. Though I think it’s an insult to all the gamers that bought the initial release, I’m still glad that DreamCatcher decided to salvage this game, fix it, and re-released it to the public, because it’s a fun action RPG.

1 comments:

riht_messenger said...

I would like to add that quest enemies DO NOT respawn and are already in the world. Killing them will basically screw your game over. And there is STILL no patch for this.