Joseph Powell fails his saving throw and is forced to review Dungeons and Dragons: Daggerdale
Your reviewer here has played some right old duffers in his time, but Dungeons and Dragons: Daggerdale is right down there, scraping the barrel and fighting with the likes of Grey's Anatomy for the honour of being dubbed the worst game I've ever had the dishonour of locking horns with.
A slight exaggeration, perhaps, but it is inarguably a woeful game. A terrible experience and, to quote myself while playing, “That was ludicrous! A total farce!” So yeah, it's one to look out for .
Seconds later, the skeleton disappears for no reason. Perhaps
You, as one of four heroes summoned to defeat an evil guy who worships a character from Batman (Bane), have to descend into the tedious environs of a mine, chatting to (a few) NPCs and battling endless hordes of goblins and other assorted ne'er-do-wells.
It starts off very badly indeed and sort of plateaus from there, with occasional downward spikes of barely conceivable horror. A lot of it makes little logical sense, you see. Why summon a selection of four heroes and then send only one in to fight? Why make this obvious in the opening cut-scene?
After selecting your avatar, you'll notice that you can't change what they look like. At all. You then notice that, when scrolling down through the attributes list, that the text of each one is written in such a way that it keeps overlapping with the one below. Classy.
This level of sloppiness is prevalent throughout the game. It is a budget release and that does need to be taken into account, but there are loads of glitches and bugs that pervade the PC version. Obviously these will affect people in different ways and there's the chance you won't experience any of them should you choose to waste your money on the game, but let's just do a quick run through of just a few of the ones I personally encountered.
First of all, the very first dwarf who needed saving was missing his conversation window, so he was just stuck there looking at me. I could still move my character around, as I could see him both on the mini-map and dancing around behind the dwarf. Eventually the game continued somehow, but it was a perplexing moment.
Later on an enemy goblin was found submerged in the floor, only his head popping out. He could still do damage to my character though, got to give him props for being resolute in the face of such adversity.
Other NPCs regularly disappeared after speaking to me, although their green highlighter circle remained. Some enemies even did me the favour of disappearing as they were fighting me, which is nice of them. Maybe they were merely teleporting away, as you can often see enemies just spawning in out of nowhere.
Loot dropped during fights seems to disappear if not picked up quickly enough, which is a problem later on as each encounter gets longer and longer.
After purchasing some armour, it appeared on my character as he walked around. That was pleasing, until I noticed later on that it had reverted to the same colour as the starting armour somewhere down the line. Even though I was still wearing the new clothing.
"By the power of Grayskull!"
Finally, during the second chapter, which features a different colour of caves to the first one, my character somehow managed to get trapped in the roof of a structure. Even though you can't jump. No idea how it happened, but it did require a reload from the one save slot you are given.
These are just the tip of a large, ugly iceberg. Suffice it to say we could spend a long time here talking about the substandard visuals, the ridiculous voiceovers that make that language the Sims speaks sound intelligible and the tediously repetitive combat, but we won't. You don't really need to know more than that, it's just that awful.
“There must be some good bits,” I hear you perhaps crying. Well, the cut-scenes are the best part of the game, which speaks volumes. They're done reasonably well, have actual spoken language telling you what's going on and why you need to defeat the evil bloke.
Struggling to think of anything else though. The throwing daggers my halfling wizard used were fun, to an extent, as was his warp move. Although that didn't work well on any kind of a slope, sadly. Oh, and there was a bit where a dwarf was running along a corridor and instead of climbing the step in front of him, he just ran through it, his feet merging with the floor. That was quite funny.
But other than that, it's a complete cowpat of a game. One that's buzzing with flies. That you've just fallen face-first into. One last little anecdote about possibly one of the most stupid missions ever seen in gaming history.
You've got to stop a ballista getting to the main doors of the dwarven stronghold in the first chapter. Naturally, not one of the dwarves actually helps you defend his home, but that's by the by. You've got to kill five elite goblins who are pushing the war machine.
They each have an artificially large health bar that requires you to hammer away at them for a long time. While you're doing this, an entire army of enemies is trying to kill you, except because they're essentially irrelevant to the whole mission, they barely do any damage to you. Again, artificially changing the parameters of the game for this mission.
So, after quaffing a potion or two to stop them causing you any problem, you just follow along, hammering the attack keys, firing off spells or whatever, whittling down the health of these five goblins. All the while surrounded by an army of enemies, some of whom are allegedly a higher level than the ones pushing the ballista.
When you kill one of the goblins, the siege engine goes at the same speed. Even if there's only one left pushing it, it goes at the same speed. The only challenge is making sure you don't glitch your character into or on top of the ballista, and keeping the five pushers as your target. Which is tough considering so many enemies will be milling around you.
If only the game was half as exciting as it looks in this image
Once you've done this, the enemy army disappears and, if memory serves, the dwarves claim to have helped see them off.
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: DAGGERDALE VERDICT
If all this sounds like something you want to spend money on, you may just qualify as legally insane. Oh, and there is a dragon in it, despite what some outlets may have claimed. If you get that far, though, more fool you.