Dark Alliance: Dungeons & Dragons Preview – Another Powerpack RPG

Dungions and Dragons Dark Alliance Hands on Preview

The Dark Alliance is back, several years after the originals adapted the world of Dungeons and Dragons. It is now a cooperative action RPG form for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, and it is being released several months after its spiritual successor. Now, after being canceled during 2020, we already have a firm launch date: June 22, 2021.

Basic Information of Dark Alliance: Dungeons & Dragons

  • Developer: Tuque Games
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
  • Platforms: PS5, PS4, X / S Series, One, PC
  • Availability: June 22, 2021

The first thing you may be wondering is what the new Dark Alliance looks like. Because we have not seen anything of it except a teaser created with the game engine that, honestly, did not show much.

Differences From its Previous Version

Fortunately, we can now answer that question, because we have already played it.

The biggest and most immediate difference from its predecessor is the camera angle. It will be now third-person and over-the-shoulder, rather than the distant, isometric perspective of a game like Diablo. This makes the Dark Alliance more cinematic and makes the new Icewind Dale setting look better. 

The old games were set in Baldur’s Gate, but the new one takes us to large mountainous areas with snow and forests. Even you get that feeling of space and bombast that goes with it. It gives the feeling of being a great adventure.

The change of perspective also adds a greater impact to combat. As you glide across the battlefield, striking enemies and linking combos in an experience, you will feel more like that of a God of War. It is not exactly like God of War, because it is not as physical, but certainly much more than a simple life bar as before. If you hold down the light attack or strong attack button, animations are displayed with quite dramatic combos, which vary according to the direction that accompanies them. Each character has more than sixty moves, and you will find it when you play.

The Hero of Dungeons & Dragons

Drizzt Do’Urden, the famous hero of the game appears with his hood and long hair. In reality, he is a rogue who causes a lot of damage, with two knives, stabbing, and stealth. 

dark alliance dungeons and dragons hero fighting

When you play with it, you will involve yourself in flanking enemies to land critical hits, dodging (with the dedicated button) their attacks, and controlling stamina consumption to avoid being sold out in a dangerous situation. Since he is the hero; he will have some unique powers and invisibility is one of the temporary active abilities. The rogue hero Drizzt has a short regeneration time, which helps others to envelop you in a storm of swords, with a longer regeneration time.

It has a fantastic light attack combo including a series of quick stabs, which are very satisfying to do. Besides the heavy attack combo performs a double slash before invoking a magic circle on the ground, dealing great damage to whoever is trapped inside. You can also perform a kind of lunge, attacking immediately after a dodge. And to finish it off there is the last one, the bar which is being filled while you fight.

Movement and Positioning of Dark Alliance

Movement and positioning remain vital in RPG games. Because it is not only to do damage but also to avoid it. Bigger enemies like giants have special abilities that signal well and can immobilize you and leave you open to their charged attacks. There are puddles of poisons and clouds of ice to avoid. And the whole process feels more like an encounter in an action game than an RPG. You must also take into account the abilities of your companions, to take advantage of. For example, in healing circles, you need to know this better. And there are also some platforming elements, like ledges to climb and gaps to jump, as well as traps to avoid.

There is no doubt that the game is very energetic and it’s fun. But it is difficult to draw a deeper conclusion of the challenge it offers. It is also tough to understand, how focused it will be on tactics and group work. When you play a twenty-minute mission, especially when you play it on the lowest difficulty level of the six.

The settings and Potentialities of Dark Alliance

Upon review, we found that our partner almost died a couple of times (which, perhaps, was my fault), but generally, we didn’t have too many problems. It also helped that Drizzt had all his abilities unlocked. Normally the player starts at level one and works their way up to twenty, unlocking skills in the progress. It is assumed that as the difficulty increases so will the need for the heroes to coordinate with each other effectively. 

Aside from Drizzt and Cattie-Brie (a character with ranged attacks and healing), we also have Bruenor Battlehammer (the tank) and Wulfgar (the barbarian). But to complete the group you will need other players because there are no AI-controlled companions in the game. This forces you to play online because the local cooperative has been discarded.

The idea was to divide the screen into four parts, one for each player, but later it was decided and as per our understanding they have agreed to move with the new perspective that was not entirely viable. It’s a shame, however, to have nothing, not even a two-player split-screen mode. Multiplayer forces you to play online, then, either with friends or via matchmaking with the quick game mode, but you can also play solo offline.

dark alliance dungeons and dragons preview

Between missions, you return to the hub area, a camp in the mountains, surrounded by a forest. This is where you upgrade your character and equip yourself because you can’t do it during missions. There are several stores and NPCs, and a chest in the center where you receive the loot that has been assigned to you (and that is adapted to your character) during the mission. 

You also have the option to improve the quality of that loot during the mission, but it is a risky bet. Bonfires allow you to rest for a moment and recover, or you can move on by improving the rarity of the loot you will receive. Oh, and you can’t trade items between players.

A Little Down-side of Dark Alliance

You will only be able to see a small part of Dark Alliance. Playing it remotely was not ideal because it added latency to the control and lowered the resolution of the image at certain moments – something that, of course, is not ideal for a game that is betting on bombastic action. But even so, you will quite be enjoyed, and what you will see will leave you wanting even more.

You will not be able to see elements like history or the world more in general. There is an introduction to the mission that should be tried in which a group of giants played instruments around a campfire and sang a song, suggesting a happy tone, but beyond that, there is not much. In this game there will be seven quests in total, and that each of them will have three missions.

How Much Will the Dark Alliance Cost You?

Dark Alliance will also be a bit cheaper than usual. The digital edition will cost forty euros at DarkAlliance.com, and that price is applicable to all versions, including the PlayStation 5. In stores, you can buy the standard edition and one with a steelbook, which will cost sixty euros. That’s the same price as the deluxe digital edition, which includes an expansion called Echoes of the Blood War, and the Lich weapon set. All preorders, regardless of edition or platform, will receive the Beholder weapon set on launch day. And no, there will be no monetization system; you pay the game and that’s it.

There are also upgrade options. On Xbox you can go directly from the previous generation to the new one for free, thanks to the Smart Delivery system. On PlayStation, the transition from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5 will be done through a free digital code. According to the developer, the new generation versions will have some “perceptible” differences, but the team’s priority is to offer smooth performance and that the experience is identical. But overall, the game seems convenient on its technical and financial merit.