Review: Dungeon Hunter Alliance
In Dungeon Hunter Alliance you take control of the fallen king of Gothicus as you battle hordes of bandits, goblins and the undead as you try to save your kingdom from the evils that have overtaken it. Alliance is the Vita port of the PSN game that was released last year (which itself is a remake of the original Dungeon Hunter for mobile devices). It’s a hack and slash dungeon crawler with more of an emphasis on getting to the next experience level and finding new epic loot then wowing you with a compelling story.
The story in Alliance is pretty light fantasy affair and if all you care about is the action all cut scenes in the game can be skipped by pressing triangle. With what little story there is it would have been nice to hear some voice acting, but besides the opening and (very short) ending movie scenes you wont hear any voice work in the game besides random villagers talking when you walk by them and the grunts out of your character when you are swinging a sword. When starting the game you get to choose from three different classes for the good king: Warrior, Rogue and Mage. While each doesn’t limit you to what equipment you can use each class is more adept with certain weapons classes then others. Also each offers 21 different upgradeable passive and active skills to customize your character to your playing style. In addition the game allows you to equip two different sets of weapons and skills to allow you to switch on the fly so you can be prepared for what ever enemies are coming your way.
The game controls pretty good with the left analogue stick controlling movement and face buttons for attacking and using skills. Also all menus can be navigated using either buttons or the touch screen which is nice. Though you can’t control the camera angle you can control how zoomed into the action you are using the touch screen. You also have a fairy companion which can cast powerful fairy magic every 60 seconds and notify you of hidden caches of items. Your fairy auto follows you until you want to take control which can be done using the left analogue stick or back touch pad. The only part of the controls I didn’t like was to cast fairy magic you need to double tap the screen which sometimes felt unresponsive.
With less then a year since the original release of Dungeon Hunter Alliance on PSN you wont find much differences in the two versions, they look exactly alike offering pretty much the same playing experience. The loading between areas can be a bit lengthy at times and I seemed to experience a lot of stuttering when there was a lot of enemies on the screen. The only new feature that I found was the Pit of Trials, an arena mode that unlocks when your character reaches level 25. This mode can be tackled in either single or multiplayer and throws endless waves of increasingly difficult enemies at you to defeat. While gaining experience and leveling is disabled in this mode it’s a great way to test your skills and to acquire high level equipment. The only other difference that PSN players may notice is the major increase in price for the Vita version. The Vita version is available digitally for $35.99 while the PSN version is almost 1/3 the price at $12.99.
My adventures though Gothicus was a fairly lengthy one, playing though the main campaign and doing the side quests probably took me close to 15 hours. With three different classes to choose from, a level cap of 75 and an unlockable Legendary difficulty setting the game offers a lot of re-playability for the hack and slash fan. The game also offers a lot of loot to collect to help make your king the best that he can be. Loot comes in 6 different rarities from the common white equipment with no magical properties to the legendary red equipment (that can only be found in the Pit of Trials) that comes with 4 enhanced magical properties. These properties range from things such as adding to your base stats and increasing the amount of gold you find to adding flame damage and healing hp with every kill.
You don’t have to adventure alone either; the game offers up to 4 player multiplayer either through ad-hoc or online in both the story mode and the Pit of Trials adjusting the difficulty for more players. Gameloft has also added a little co-opetition to the online mode with adding medals next to peoples names for different accomplishments such as killing the most enemies and collecting the most gold so as to make the online mode a little bit more interesting when playing with friends. I ran into a few problems when trying to play online with connection issues, but once I got into games things ran pretty smoothly except for the similar slow down experienced when playing solo when things get a bit chaotic on screen. Also when playing multiplayer you are locked to the default zoom and each player must stick to the same screen, which may make it a little harder to dodge enemy attacks.
One odd move when it comes to enemies spawning though is that enemies are only allowed to venture so far from their spawning point. If they go beyond this point they will become un-hittable and will try to rush back or teleport back to where they spawned regaining their entire HP back in the process. This can be fairly annoying when you have taken a tough enemy down to almost empty when it happens.
While Dungeon Hunter Alliance doesn’t do anything to update the genre it’s a fairly competent entry that offers the mainstays that fans enjoy. Unfortunately it hasn’t been updated enough from the PSN version to justify the major increase in price. If you are interested in the game I would suggest picking up the PSN version or waiting for a price drop.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation Vita version of the game.
What I Like:
- Lots of skills and equipment to customize your character.
- Lengthy adventure
What I Dislike:
- Slow down and stuttering
- Enemies regaining HP for odd reasons
- Price hike over PSN version