Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance is the intended spiritual successor to the classic Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance game from the early 2000s. The new Dungeons and Dragons title wastes no time getting players into the action. After a short introductory cutscene introducing the playable characters, players will be forced to choose their character and enter the game world. After a brief tutorial showing players the ropes of battle, Dungeons & Dragons : Dark Alliance opens up, allowing players to explore various dungeons and locations in Icewind Dale.
Icewind Dale is a very different scenario from what Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance veterans might be used to. The popular Dungeons and Dragons is a frozen wasteland in northern Faerun. In Dungeons & Dragons : Dark Alliance, players will experience a variety of popular locations, from deep, dark dungeons and towers to many icy locations. While some locations might feel a little repetitive, they don’t become overly familiar thanks to the opportunity to explore and experience what each area has to offer.
The story revolves around the power struggle of Clinshinibon, the item of the same name in the Crystal Shard novel, set in Icewind Dale. This relic contains enormous power. If it falls into the wrong hands, the ten towns of Icewind Dale will be doomed. Seven different groups emerged to find the artifact’s power, but luckily, the Hall’s Companions made their presence known to prevent some doom. Drizzt Duurden, Bruno Warhammer, Wulfgar, and Catti-brie join forces once again to stop the immeasurable damage that could be wreaked on Icewind Dale.
The Companies of the Hall vary in visual style and combat abilities. Drizzt is a fast-moving character whose abilities revolve around dealing as much damage as possible as quickly as possible. Bruno is a tank character who can take a lot of punishment. Wulfgar is a heavy hitter, wielding a two-handed weapon and delivering powerful strikes. Catti-brie has the most unique playstyle, as she focuses more on ranged attacks than other characters. Tuque Games has done a good job of making each character feel unique and equally playable solo.
Most of the combat is melee, fast-paced, and flashy. Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance’s combat flow is very fluid across all characters. Linking light and heavy attacks together using more powerful techniques is intuitive and looks powerful. Combat is active, with little room for passive buttons. To succeed in skirmishes, players will need to move around the battlefield, taking out key targets and perfecting tactics. Players will face off against melee, ranged, and spellcasting characters, and the monsters are challenging no matter the difficulty level chosen.
Dungeons & Dragons : Dark Alliance is divided into seven campaigns, each containing three levels called acts. The base of operations is Kelvin Grotto, which is undoubtedly a familiar name for those familiar with the setting of Icewind Dale. Here, Drizzt and his Hall companions can buy and upgrade items, gain loot from previous missions, and choose their next adventure. From the map, players choose the next action they want to tackle. When the player selects a level, the difficulty level is chosen, and the chance of success is measured against the character’s overall power level. Even on the easiest difficulty, Dark Alliance offers a challenging experience.
Each level in Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance has a similar structure. In most levels, the player needs to accumulate some items to get to the next area. After a few levels, this can become repetitive, as it’s usually collecting dynamite to blow open a door or collecting some runes to open a magically locked door. Combat encounters are featured throughout every act, and while most battles feature a variety of different enemy types to fight, it can get a little tedious. The pool of enemy unit types isn’t the widest, and players may find themselves quickly learning enemy attack patterns since they don’t vary much. While fluid combat is Dark Alliance’s greatest strength, it also highlights some of its weaknesses.
The camera can be a bit finicky, especially after locking onto a specific target. Things get more complicated when fighting larger enemies, such as Hagedorn the Spectator. The camera tends to zoom out too close, limiting the player’s visibility during critical moments. This isn’t much of a problem with regular hostile groups, but can be frustrating in more difficult conflicts. Jumping and rolling are also difficult, as you can get stuck between or on top of enemies when trying to maneuver. In general, movement can sometimes feel clumsy and unresponsive.
Dungeons & Dragons : Dark Alliance does a good job despite flaws related to processing and duplication. The game is legendary thanks to some collectible in-game items, narration, and some brilliantly animated cutscenes. Dark Alliance could be great for casual gamers who might want to explore Dungeons and Dragons further. Veterans of tabletop gaming should be satisfied with Tales of Icewind Dale’s focus. Likewise, while the game isn’t overly stat-heavy, there are enough attributes, numbers, and abilities to manage to keep Dungeons & Dragons fans happy. The story is light, but Tuque Games has done a good job of realizing the setting of Icewind Dale and its history.
The game is a worthy successor to Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance game. While combat can get a bit repetitive, it’s fast-paced and engaging most of the time. It’s fun and challenging when played solo, and it’s easy to see how it would thrive with a whole group of players. It’s not perfect, but the over-the-top voice acting and character models, respect for Dungeons & Dragons, and intuitive combat make for a captivating package. It’s casual enough that anyone can get their hands on it, while retaining enough Dungeons & Dragons standards to keep tabletop content for seasoned players. Dungeons & Dragons : Dark Alliance is a fun action RPG that has the opportunity to open up Dungeons & Dragons to a wider audience.
Dungeons and Dragons : Dark Alliance will be released on June 22 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Game Rant provided a PlayStation 5 code for this review.