Dungeon crawling on the Vita.
Anyone who has had a passing interest in any of GameLoft’s recent games will know what they are in for, a loose clone of another popular game. It is not really a problem, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all, and at least you know in advance what to expect and whether or not you will like the game. This time around, in Dungeon Hunter: Alliance, we get a dungeon crawling clone of games such as Diablo, and it’s not too bad…
The Dungeon Hunter series has been well received on iOS and this particular entry even made its way onto PSN last year with Move support, so don’t be thinking that you are going to be getting a new experience. However, as the only game of its type on the Vita, so far, any dungeon crawling, loot collecting itches that the player may have can be solidly scratched.
And Dungeon Hunter: Alliance certainly seems to cover all of the bases when it comes to this genre. It is almost as if someone has gone down a list and ticked off all the boxes, ensuring that everything we would expect is accounted for – hordes of enemies, masses of loot and character customisation. It’s all there and it works quite well.
Set in the typically fantasy world of Gothicus, the player takes on the role of a previously dead King who has been resurrected to rid the land of evil, specifically your former Queen. It may not be the most shocking of tales, and it doesn’t really develop into anything that will surprise the player, but as a vehicle for the button mashing and loot collecting, it does it’s job.
The combat within the game is as you would expect, heavily reliant on slapping the same button over and over. As the player progresses through the game, variety is offered through the use of different weapons and different attacks can be assigned to other face buttons. There is even a handy potion button for when things just get a bit overwhelming.
One of the interesting additions to the game are the fairies. These companions serve not only as a guide to the world, but also provide a decent area attack should it be needed. However, in an effort to make use of the Vita capabilities, control of your fairy has been assigned not only to the right stick, but also the rear touchpad – which is awkward as that is where most players keep their fingers. Not the best idea ever.
The amount of loot is quite impressive, with everything handily colour-coded by rarity so the player can instantly drool over any epic equipment that they come across. However, the inventory is not exactly the most inviting I have even seen, making equipment management incredibly complex and time-consuming.
Unfortunately, getting as far as the convoluted inventory, or any other aspect of the game for that matter, will mean overcoming one fairly big hurdle – the cost. The problem comes from the fact that this game on the Vita is available for £29.99 in GAME, whereas the very same game on PSN, playable on the PS3, will only set you back £9.99 – and that is not even getting into the iPhone versions which are substantially less than that. This fact will stick in the throats of most gamers out there.
But it is not like the problems with the game end there, it is just that after the price issue it is likely that no-one will care. The game suffers from frequent slow downs and glitches, and the loading times can be excessive. Then there is the repetitive nature of the game in general.
But the reality is that it’s not all bad, if you can get past the pricing issue. As a Diablo-clone, Dungeon Hunter is quite entertaining. There is plenty of action and loads of loot to collect – if that is your thing. And all of this can be enjoyed with friends in the online co-op mode. Teaming up with a couple of buddies certainly takes the edge off the repetition and can be a lot of fun, especially in the Pit of Trials which is a survival-type mode that can be unlocked in the main game.
As a launch title for the Vita, Dungeon Hunter: Alliance certainly fills a gap. But the pricing anomaly, along with the games’ fair few other problems and the repetition, will mean that only the most dedicated of dungeon crawler fans will get the most from this title.