If you know Gameloft on the Mac, then you’ll know of their many great Mac games (namely Modern Combat: Domination and Starfront: Collision), but also their many more misfires. Gameloft seem to have a problem of consistency, and this is mostly down to the fact that most of Gameloft’s Mac titles are ports from the iPhone. However, it seems the company has taken a new approach with Dungeon Hunter Alliance which originated from the PSP. Even though the gameplay and plot gets messy due to the segmented multiplayer, it’s a lush and rewarding player experience that impresses the eyes.
Dungeon Hunter Alliance Gameplay
Dungeon Hunter Alliance is a top-down Hack-and-Slash RPG that will remind you a lot of the Diablo series. And that’s not all; the controls, 4-player multiplayer and the 3 classes of playable characters (Warrior, Rouge and Mage) have all been inspired by Blizzard’s gaming masterpiece. Gameloft have made a habit of putting their own spin on classic franchises. Unfortunately, they do less of the spinning, and more of the ‘stick with the same idea’ approach.
But where Gameloft lacks imagination to take ideas to a new level, they gain in price. Dungeon Hunter Alliance is priced at just $14.99/£10.49, a cool figure compared to the $40 launch price of Diablo II.
Dungeon Hunter Alliance seems to have broken free from Gameloft’s streak of sub-par games that have come out recently. The combat is consistent and fun and the RPG elements are rewarding and motivating. At the start of the game, you get to choose from three classes of character, Warrior, Mage and Rouge. As expected, the Warrior prefers large swords, the Rouge rocks with knives and a bow and the Mage is best with a staff in hand. You collect loot as you go along; armour, potions and weapons, which you can trade in at a merchant.
Upgrading weapons is much more gradual than unlocking new powers. Every time you level up, you gain a new upgrade point which you can use to unlock a new power or improve an existing one. These powers are varied and devastating, and are a valuable asset in battle. However, they drain mana, so spamming them isn’t an option.
Having originated from a PSP screen, the graphics in Dungeon Hunter Alliance are luscious. The special powers are vibrant and colourful, which makes you want to continue on to unlock more. The enemies are plentiful and the environments change quickly. From a bandit’s lair to an aqueduct swarming with zombies to a spider’s hollow, the game moves swiftly yet manages to spill tons of detail into each map. I love it.
Admittedly, there are a few glitches, especially in the boss battles, but these certainly aren’t game breaking.
The combat is only enhanced by the game’s smooth multiplayer. You can play with up to 3 online companions at once, and seeing everyone band together to take down a boss using the huge range of weaponry and powers is a spectacle to behold. If you die, you just have to wait for a fellow friend to resurrect you and you’re back into the fight. Enemies reflect the group’s abilities, so it’s always a challenge. It can get a little frustrating that you can’t chat with other online players, so letting people know that you want to stop off at the next merchant is not an option.
The great multiplayer also takes its toll on the storyline. Even though there are always people to play against online, it can sometimes be hard to join someone who is about as far through the game as you are. This can result in replaying sections over and over and even getting ahead of where you have got to. As you can imagine, this makes the game’s story very segmented and it’s hard to become attached to any of the characters in the plot.
But this doesn’t matter when you’re fighting a huge cave troll with 3 other super-powered buddies. Dungeon Hunter Alliance’s best moments are with other people. Gameloft have surpassed themselves with excellent visual presentation, attention to detail, enemy variety and online enjoyment with this one. Certainly the best we’ve seen from them in a long time.
Price: $14.99 (£10.49)
Description: An Online Hack and Slash RPG
Pros: Great online interactivity, powers look amazing, variety of vibrant locations, lots of different types of enemies.
Cons: Storyline is hard to follow, no online chat, some minor graphical glitches.