Review by Ark64
"Bones are tasty, who needs the meat?"
Well that's what this game pretty much is to me, a T bone with almost no meat on it, wrapped in a pretty package.
Some of you that haven't had the opportunity to play this "game" yet may be wondering what I'm going on about, well I'm just about to get to that but first I would like to note that I rate games on how much fun I had. I feel just because a game has super graphics, wonderful sound, and dead on play control doesn't mean it should get a 8/10, the overall rating is based on how satisfied I was with it, even if I give nines and tens to many other aspects of the game. I have played through this game from beginning to end if that matters to some of you. Anyway enough of my rambling, on with the review!
Dungeon Lords is an action RPG with a large amount of hack & slash. You create a character choosing class, race, gender (for only two of the races human and elf), after spending some of the starting points on skills & stats you get to chose what's called a heraldry, it gives your character a boost in certain areas like adding 10% to a magical ability. Finely you get to name your character and head off into the world to hack & slash your way through about 92% and RP through the lonely 8% of the game!
The graphics are really nice, simple, but nice. There are several armor sets and weapons that look just as nice on your character as they do in the inventory. The landscape is very nicely drawn and placed. The enemies look great, again simple, but still nice.
The game starts to show it's incompletion, the sounds are good and usually well suited to the situation/action at hand. The game has a few sound tracks, and they are pretty good but they are too far and few between, I can't remember hearing any music score during the game, only during the beginning and end credits.
PLAY CONTROL: 9/10
This game has your typical W A S D controls with the mouse to look around and mouse buttons to attack and block, and if you don't like the key layout you can reassign keys in the menu. The controls respond well enough to get through the game with getting mad at them.
This is where the game starts to really hurt, The game starts out pretty shaky with the absent of character customization options, even though the manual states they are there, after reaching the second town it becomes very apparent this game was rushed out to the store in an attempt to profit off of hype. Several areas in the game are incomplete, missing furniture and npc's, a couple of areas you walk into will have a few or one key npc and a bunch of empty buildings, the only thing this did for me is give me a couple of chuckles as one npc boasted about his army when in fact he was standing in the middle of nowhere surrounded by empty tents, or the chief of the imaginary clan, you would think they would have at least added a few npc's just for show, but the game developers didn't even bother with that.
There are several races to chose from when creating a character, which is a nice thing but sadly is not enough to offset all the missing features.
As I mentioned above towns are missing npc's and furniture, one of the towns inn charges you an arm and a leg for a room and when you enter the room there isn't even a fire in the fire place! In case your wondering what is so special about a fire, a camp fire is used to rest in this game thus the inn keeper just charged you for a room you cannot use because its missing things! I would not be surprised if the head guy/lady that decided to release this game in its incomplete form made this particular npc.......
The world of Dungeon Lords is very big, very beautiful, and sadly very empty, most of the encounters you get are random ones where enemies pop out of nowhere, you would think with a world this large there would be loads of mini quests and set encounters to make exploration more fun, but usually, on a somewhat rare occasion you only find a treasure chest with some mediocre items in it to reward you for being the great explorer.
The dungeons are not too bad, there ok but nothing really original, again most of the encounters are random, don't get me wrong I don't mind random encounters but I would have liked to see some unique encounters as well. There are a few nifty puzzles to solve but they still don't fill the gap.
There are almost no sub quests, and the ones that are there are necessary to get new classes.
The quest log is very cryptic on what to do next, some one could wander for hours trying to figure out what to do next, in a world this large and hard to get around the log should be a little more elaborate to avoid frustrating the player.
The story is ok, not that original, what hurts it is the fact that its not elaborated enough on, like a great many aspects of this game.
THE FINAL VERDICT
It's sad enough these days that games come out with loads of bugs, but this game makes you feel like a beta tester. Dungeon Lords has a good frame for an epic game but sadly lacks any meat on it. To make matters worse the company released a collectors edition of the game with all the stuff that should have been included in the original release, thus if fans wanted to get a better more complete version of the game they would have to shell out more money for a game they already paid for. This is very frustrating considering these days it's hard to return opened computer software. I'm certainly going to avoid games form Heuristic Park form now on, or at least read the buyer beware before buying.
Currently there is a patch that adds some of the features found in the manual (mini map, character customization), but this patch is around 150 megs, wile those of you on broad band may not have any trouble those of us on dial up or worse no internet connection, will have to go through more elaborate means to get game content that should have been included with the game on initial release.
Should you buy this game? In my opinion it's not worth it, I hear the collectors edition is more complete so your probably better off looking into it than this version.
This version of the game may still yet be saved if the company gets off there high horse and actually make the content that was in the collectors edition available (at no additional cost!) for people that shelled out the dough in the first place and got half a game for it, or at least make a patch that adds the obviously missing elements.
A few up's and down's
+Nice eye candy
+Easy to use controls
+Loads of Hack & Slash (if your big on that)
-A lot of content was missing/not added in the initial release
-Very little RP, your choices in dialogue are far and few between
-The game feels very unfinished
-Almost no mini quests
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 02/27/06
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