Dungeons and Dragons - Daggerdale Review I've been waiting along time for a new Dungeons and Dragons game to hit store shelves. My wish was finally granted with Atari and Bedlam Games release of Daggerdale.  A D&D 4th edition title that boasted 4 player online play, hours of dungeons and a return to the Forgotten Realms and the world of Faerun in epic proportions.  Well, it looks like Bedlam and Atari really missed the mark on this one - by a longshot.

We will begin our story with the challenges faced simply to acquire a copy of the game, I went to 4 different stores only to be told that it was only available on the Xbox Marketplace for download. That physical copies weren't out for shipping to brick'n'mortars until release day (Tuesday) and I should come back on Friday.  I couldn't get a copy within 100 miles of my house in Houston. So there I am on Friday, at my local target picking up a title for $15 because I can't download it for PC yet.  When I arrive home to install my copy of Daggerdale, the first thing it does is LAUNCH STEAM!!!!! I had to drag my butt to the store and pick up a CD that launched my digital distribution software - completely ridiculous.  After a fairly quick download (from Steam...) I was ready to play.  I'm still not sure why I couldn't buy this on Steam and download it, but I now use the disc as my beer coaster...

Once Daggerdale loaded, I was prompted with a Gamespy login page (apparently this still exists, isn't that IGN now?) After typing my old credentials in, I am told that I cannot connect to the Gamespy network and therefore cannot play online.  So I search the Atari forums only to find this is a recurring issue and there is no fix at this point.  Great, the one game I'm excited to get online and play with my buddies and I can't even do that.  I cancel out of that screen and decide I will go at it solo (not that I have a choice)

After choosing 1 of 4 heroes to adventure with, you're able to make a few changes to powers and stats, but that's about it.  Players can play 2 players locally or up to 4 players online, but like I said before, I never got that far.  Your options are 4 pre-rolled characters: Human fighter, Dwarf cleric, Elven archer and a Halfling mage. That's all.  You can't change your race or your class.  Pretty limiting, considering D&D is all about customizing a character that fits YOU, but I digress. You begin the story as you are dropped right in the middle of a struggle with a very pissed off mage named Rezlus, who has built a Tower of Void in the middle of the mines of Tethyamar.  Needless to say, the dwarfs that live in the mines are mad and are hoping that a hero like you will be able to give them a hand. 

The beginning of the game feels like a an old PSP game with static images quickly shuffling you through a flimsy storyline.  I spend the next 4 hours grinding my eyes out - with little or no reason as to why I'm there, what are my origins, where I'm going or why this glowing woman in the beginning of my "adventure" even summoned me.  I'm a nomad with a sword and apparently I'm pissed, so I start to take it out on the goblins.  I spend most of my time running back and forth from the main quest hub killing/rescuing/destroying anything the dwarfs feel need killing.  Head out into the mines, kill a couple goblins, head back to the hub, get loot, rinse and repeat.

Loot is obviously the only aspect of the game that I'm playing for at this time and lucky me, it's all broken.  Every cool sounding piece of armor I find on the ground or buy from the store (except my +0 cloth tunic of fail), changes my character's model to the colors of the Detroit Lions.  I'm a blank model with blue and white textures all over.  Even my weapons' textures are non existent.  Breaking barrels in my travels yields gold and health potions that, once picked up, the text of the item stays on the screen for quite some time.  I spent the first 5 minutes after picking up a potion trying to grab the other one I was sure was on the ground, only to realize the screen tearing problem.  Yet another bug identified that researched on the forums informs me that it cannot be fixed yet.

Game play and combat is so mindless, it hurts.  I chose a Human fighter for my first play through and spent more time clicking after enemies than doing anything remotely strategic. This makes for one of the most boring hack n' slash titles I have played to date.  Also frustrating was in certain areas, where enemies could see me from afar, but until I came close enough to trip the 'trigger' they just stand back and giggle at each other.

Overall this game is horrible.  It really had a lot of potential, but because of all the bugs and lack of support from Bedlam games, this game is almost unplayable.  I've read on the forums that players have also run into bugs online where they lose all of their stats and loot once they reach a certain level, as well as experience constant lag and drop off issues.  Issues like that make me glad that I didn't have the chance to play online, since that was my hope for this title.  Until Bedlam gets a solid patch out and fixes most of these issues - don't even bother wasting the 15 bucks.  There is no excuse for games like this, especially from Atari. 

At this point I wouldn't recommend Daggerdale to anyone, especially since I can't even play it with the people I would recommend it to in the first place!  So now I wait for Neverwinter...

Dungeons and Dragons: Daggerdale was developed and published by Bedlam games and Atari on Tuesday May 24th 2011 for the Xbox Live arcade and PC. Daggerdale MSRP is $15. A PC copy of the game was purchased from Target for review purposes. I played through several hours of of the single player campaign, unfortunately I was not able to get online and participate in the multiplayer player side of the game.