An entertaining beat ’em up set in the world of D&D
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance is like rolling a d20 to attack or attempt a skill in the TTRPG version of Dungeons & Dragons. You aren’t quite sure what the outcome will be before you roll but there’s that feeling of no matter what, everything you do will be fun. D&D is simply fun and Dark Alliance reflects the joy you get from sitting at a table whether digital or physical and rolling dice with friends.
The game follows the story of the Companions from R.A. Salvatore’s book series the Legend of Drizzt. Instead of creating your own character, you control either Drizzt, Bruenor, Catti-Brie, or Wulfgar. The plot involves searching for the artifact known as Crenshinibon and fighting different factions of goblinoids, duergar, and cultists as they attempt to find it first.
The story isn’t the bread and butter of Dark Alliance. The writing is bland and character dialogue feels oddly placed as well. It’s tough to tell if Dark Alliance is canonical with the books as it changes a lot of what happened throughout the series. As somewhat fans of the novels, it can be difficult to connect with the story if it shifts from canon.
You don’t by any means need to have read any of the books to understand the plot as the game does well at telling its own tale. That being said, the overall plot is straightforward and simple. Fight hordes of monsters and level up your character.
As a smash and loot game, Dark Alliance is all about combat. You can either play with friends or by yourself and there are multiple difficulties to choose from. Adventuring alone at higher difficulties is challenging but rewarding. Whereas joining with other people remains challenging but introduces new ways to fight as a team. Defeating creatures and completing levels rewards you with gear and money that you can later upgrade at the shop. Loot works like a typical MMO and is scaled by color rating. There’s grey, green, blue, purple, and gold.
Unfortunately, combat doesn’t always connect. Like in D&D there are times when you will fail an attack roll but it’s all up to the dice. However, in Dark Alliance oftentimes attacks just don’t hit even when they should. It works both ways and attacks that go wide, even way wide, do end up hitting. Enemies also seem to do way more damage than necessary and can one-hit kill any character.
It’s a challenging system to work around but when it does work everything ends up being enjoyable.
Sound and Sights
The soundtrack is one of the greater parts of the game. Composed by Vibe Avenue, the OST is a perfect backdrop for any D&D game.
The sound mechanics also stand out throughout the game. For instance, Wulgar’s armor clinks and clanks when he runs and Bruenor’s heavy footfalls echo through caverns and strongholds.
Sure, the game may not have AAA graphics but it is stunning to look at nonetheless. Environments and backdrops stand out with colossal giant skeletons, sparkling caverns, and massive citadels.
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance may not be your typical D&D game. It isn’t about building your own personal character, the combat is great when it works and bad when it doesn’t. It’s like that one d20 that has a mind all its own but just so happens to be your favorite. It rolls well occasionally and has a very low crit percentage but you just love it. It’s shiny and sparkly and you can’t help but roll it even when you know it may betray you. Dark Alliance is that d20.
We give Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance a 7 on a d10.