Review by SlaveBlade
"A very Hit or Miss game..."
Dungeon Explorer... With a name like that, it can't be very exciting, can it? Well... yes and no. It's a very simple game, yet it does show some depth. Let's dive in then, shall we?
It's a solid overhead-view dungeon crawler, rather similar to Diablo. You've got 3 Races: Oros, Emporos, and the Tarata, and you've got 3 Classes: Warrior, Mage, and Hunter. You kill monsters, collect loot and weapons, sell them in town while doing quests for various people, while leveling up your character. Every level you gain gives you 3 attribute points to distribute. You've got Strength (Increased Physical Melee weapon damage and carrying capacity), Magic (Increased AP), Dexterity (Increased Ranged Melee damage, Hit Rate, and Avoid Rate), and Vitality (Increased HP and Defense).
On top of that, your character can choose a "School", which is like choosing a skill set. The only problem is... it's sadly a semi random process. You're given a mandatory quest in the very beginning to get a School, yet when deciding one, you're given a Roulette style mini-game. If you've got the right timing, you can pick which one you want, but it's pretty unintuitive, honestly. Anyway, after you've picked your School, you get a small set of spells (Such as an Ice Bomb, or a Fire Trap and, possibly, passive skills (Such as Life Draining, or increased AP regeneration).
Honestly, I'd give it a higher score for Gameplay, but the randomized School selection can be a bit annoying at times, since you have to start the entire quest over again if you want a new one... As it stands, pretty solid dungeon crawler fair. It's kind of challenging, but if you know what you're doing, you can easily play the game. If you beat it, there is also a Hard mode, where you keep all of your equipment, yet enemies are really boosted in strength.
Honestly, I was actually kind of intrigued by the story. It starts out incredibly generic, weird things are happening in the kingdom, you're a hired mercenary so you go check it out, you find out it's possibly the work of an underground cult. Like I said, generic. What makes the story intriguing is that there are small pieces of lore laying about all over the areas you traverse, some of them are small hints, some of them explain what happened in the past which lead up to the events you are now in. I, personally, found it very nicely done, where, if you wanted, it could be story intensive, but if you didn't want a super story based game, you could just go ahead and fight, yet you're not missing anything dreadfully important.
The sound isn't really that great, it's pretty standard. You've got your typical monster noises, your character's grunts, etc. Why a 7? The music. It's incredibly catchy and very fitting for the areas you're in. Boss music is intense, most areas are atmospheric (For example, in the forest, you'll hear lots of birds chirping and such, and when you're on the beach, you'll hear the ocean crashing on the the land and such), it's just very solid for a DS game.
3 Races X 3 Classes = 9 possible play-throughs! Since each Race's Class actually differs from each other Race's Class, you don't really feel like you're just playing a Mage 3 times over, they each get their own passive skills that differentiate themselves, and different weaponry from each other, so every Race X Class combination actually gets different equipment!
Final Recommendation: Buy it, especially if you're into dungeon crawlers. Very simple and fun, and it's portable!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/20/09
Game Release: Dungeon Explorer: Warriors of Ancient Arts (US, 02/19/08)
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