Dungeons are fun and all that, but haven't these ones been hunted enough?
It's fair to say that the PSVita launch line-up is one of the strongest of recent years, but as always there are a couple of stinkers that sneak in. "Dungeon Hunter: Alliance", seemingly little more than a port of the various £3.99 iOS versions, looks to be one such stinker. When you also consider the existing version on the PSN (or SEN or whatever) for a third of the price, things really begin to look, well, a bit shit.
First impressions hardly set the world alight either. It is unavoidably a very plain looking game (although the amazing Vita screen does a great job of making it look better than it should) and for reasons I can't quite put my finger on
I didn't buy into the game world at all.
Oh, poor villager, you've lost your face? Ripped off by passing demons while you watched Eastenders? FEAR NOT I SHALL SAVE YOU! Actually, yeah, whatever, I'll go to the previously-locked-gate-that-is-now-open-for-no-reason and hit slightly different looking enemies until I avenge your death, or pick up your shopping, whatever it was you said was the problem. Cheerio!
The game has average written all over it (not literally, that would be stupid and show a lack of ambition if anything)
and makes mistakes already corrected by its peers many years ago. Collision detection? Yeah we sort of have it. Barrels and boxes for you to smash to get coins? Yeah we have them, although only a few are actually breakable, the rest are just background. Why did we make them look identical so you can only tell if they are breakable by walking up right next to them? fuck you buddy, that's why.
Yet. Yet, there *is* something still very playable about it. The enemies are nice and varied, the loot and pickups are as compelling as ever and the weapon choices are nice and varied (if not a bit old fashioned). Tell you what though, I would kill for a dodge or roll button. One thing I *don't* miss about Diablo style games is the over reliance on potions. Standing next to a demon with no option other than to duke it out, downing a potion when your health gets low just doesn't cut it anymore.
It really is a shame they didn't add some sort of defensive control (even something simple like a block button would be nice) especially as the devs are clearly fully aware of the problem, almost apologetically having weird statues dotted about all over the place within dungeons that sell you nothing but potions at cut prices. Of course the game does have defensive stats and stuff, but it's all automated which ends up leaving you feeling a bit useless as you stand there doing nothing but slapping the attack buttons.
So far, so slightly-above-average all round, which brings us on to the multiplayer. Although I haven't yet had the chance to properly put multiplayer through it's paces, word on the street is that it's pretty damn robust and arguably the main justification for the full retail price tag. Plenty of stuff going on such as a nice bunch of awards for each player, silly things like "most health used" sitting alongside more traditional "most kills" and as I confirmed when I tried it, it all worked seemlessly (which is happily turning out to be a theme with the Vita in general). Nothing massively radical, but I can see it being the source for many a fun session without a doubt.
One thing that is for sure, the launch window is definitely the ideal time for a game like this. In the weeks to come before new releases dribble in, this game will be sitting there winking at you. "You loved Diablo right? Well, I'm just like that. You know where you are with me. Go on you know you want to". I certainly fell for it and yes, it *is* little more than Diablo from all those years ago, but I have Uncharted, Wipeout and Fifa sitting here unplayed because of this little bugger. You really *do* know where you are, and sometimes that sort of comfort on a brand new console is worth something.
Rodent cash rating: £15