Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale offers engaging “hack and slash” gameplay, bringing an accessible version of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition to life. Travel to the Dalelands of the Forgotten Realms, where the journey begins in the remote Desertsmouth Mountains. From the sulfuric catacombs of the mines of Tethyamar, to the dizzying heights of the Tower of the Void, Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale delivers an action packed challenge that will satisfy the most seasoned of adventurers.
Growing up I was a fan of D&D, then AD&D before moving to Palladium RPGs. However, I still have spent many nights playing the Intellivision AD&D games, Secret of the Silver Blades, Baulder's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Hillsfar, Dungeon Hack and many other D&D games. So D&D: Daggerdale is the newest edition to the grand old tradition.
Gameplay: The game is an action-RPG take on D&D, even more so than Neverwinter Nights did. You start your game by picking from four pre-generated characters (figher, rouge, mage, cleric) and then descending into the depths of the mines of Tethyamar. This iteration of the D&D franchise seems to follow the Diablo hit the monster-pinata for treasure model, and soon you will find yourself happily making it your quest to single-handedly bring about Goblin genocide for treasure and profit. However, it doesn't quite capture the joy of Diablo's "I click on something and it dies" formula.
Controls: The controls are introduced during the first few minutes of play, and for the most part respond well. There is definitely an issue with the ranged weapon auto aim, and I occasionally have experienced trouble with responsiveness. However, once you adjust to the game's rhythm you should be fine.
The camera on the other hand, is another story entirely. If you want to be able to see your character (or the creatures that are attacking you), you may or may not be able to depending greatly on where you choose to stand. I've already dealt with clipping and with the camera just hiding the action behind parts of the world. This can create issues in your enjoyment when you get beat down by the monsters the camera helped allow get the drop on you.
Audio: There isn't much to say about the audio except that it is there, you will hear it, and then you will promptly forget about it. It has not stood out as bad, nor has it been great. It just is.
Graphics: Apparently there is a mad dwarf that leaves barrels of money everywhere (and then complains that people break them to take the gold out). The graphics are much like that, in that you will see a lot of the same things over and over again. Variety is not this game's bread and butter.
Worse, this game suffers from some pretty bad graphical glitches. The new armor I purchased for my rouge elf is either trying to turn her partially pitch black because it is that awesome for rouges, or it is just that some programmer forgot to assign a color to the template. While there is nothing that truly breaks the game, it shows the lack of care put into it.
Multiplayer: Apparently this portion of the game was programmed by goblins. I would love to tell you this is the best part of the game, as it should be. Because what is D&D if not a reason to get together with friends and participate in monster genocide. However, it is hampered by bad code that creates lag and chaos for those trying to play it. And even if you manage to get it to work, the poorly designed camera implementation will work against you.
Overall: At the new and reduced price of 800 MS Points, this isn't a bad action-RPG. However, it also is not a good action-RPG. The co-op, which should be a selling point is instead a mess of lag and bad code. If you are wanting an action-RPG, there are plenty of better choices out there. If you have played them all and still want an action-RPG, this is probably worth 400 MS Points when Microsoft puts it back on sale.