Four-player co-op dungeon crawling hits PSN.
Gameloft’s assault on PSN continues unabashed with the release of some dungeon crawling action in the form of Dungeon Hunter: Alliance. As with their former PSN release Modern Combat: Domination, Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is based on one of their best selling iOS series. It also shares support for PlayStation Move.
The story within the game, which is based in the fantasy land of Gothicus, revolves around a resurrected king, brought back to life to restore some order to the realm and solve his own murder. Whilst it may not be the most mind-blowing plat ever devised, it serves a purpose and gives meaning to the wide selection of different environments through which the player will be fighting.
And fighting they will be, through pretty much most of the game. This is a dungeon crawling RPG with a heavy emphasis on hack ‘n slash and button mashing. The player can choose from three different classes of hero: Warrior, Mage and Rogue. As one would expect, each of these classes concentrates mostly one style of gameplay. But beyond that style, the game will be the same whichever class you take. Players will make their way through the various environments and have to fight horde after horde of monsters, with a few boss battles thrown in.
Which is where the game can come up against a few problems. Although it could be fair to say that, as a hack ‘n slash dungeon crawler, variety is one of the things that would not be expected of Dungeon Hunter: Alliance, expecting repetitive gameplay does not make the gameplay any less repetitive. But then, forewarned is forearmed as they say, so take into account a certain degree of repetitiveness before making your decision to buy this game.
But now that we have got past the whole issue of “samey” gameplay, which to be honest is the only real fault in the game, we can continue. The game is played from a top-down point of view and will mostly involve the player mashing the attack button whilst occasionally hitting one of the other three face buttons which can be assigned to various different abilities as the player levels up. The Mage has the ability to heal, whilst the other two will find themselves purchasing potions by the dozen at the frequent stores that can be found within the levels, and guzzling them down as they work their way through the hordes. Your hero is also accompanied by a fairy who can deal some serious damage to any of your foes.
Although not particularly customisable at the beginning of the game, the simple to use skill tree combined with the huge amount of loot that the player will find during their adventure, will allow the player to tweak their hero into something more to their liking.
As already mentioned, Alliance has PlayStation Move support. Similarly to Modern Combat, the Move support works really well, albeit a little clumsily. It is all controlled using an on-screen cursor which is certainly different and works well if there are no alternatives. But realistically most gamers will likely opt for the control pad by default.
The real shining star of the game is the local or online co-op, which increases the fun element tenfold. Playing with up to three other player, the game comes alive and adds an almost tactical element. All of the heroes in the game obtain experience at the same rate, reducing the possibility of less active characters being left behind. Even the age-old problem of loot hoarding has been solved by the loot drops being assigned to each player. It may not always make sense when you get assigned loot that is no good for your character class, but at least everyone gets something. That being said, the unwanted loot can be traded with other players or sold for cold hard cash, giving every item worth.
It is undeniable that Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is best played with friends. But even alone, the gameplay is still entertaining. Visually it may not be anything special to look at, but there is a lot to do in this game and it has that addictive compulsion to keep playing to level up or find cooler loot that can be found in most dungeon crawlers. There are some interesting games of this genre on the horizon, but until then Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is a worthwhile way to spend £9.99