Din's Curse Review
|Release Date:||May 2010|
|Reviewer:||Andy Hemphill (Bandit)|
A little escapism is a good thing. It's often quite nice to get in from work and spend an hour or two as a space adventurer, a racing driver or a vampire, but considering how Din's Curse starts out, you might want to try and cheer yourself up first.
You're dead. Your life was full of boozy parties, depravity and uncaring frivolity, and you paid the price for your philandering with eternal slumber six-feet-under. So, for the champion of the gods, Din, to pick you to be reborn as an ass-kicking, do-gooding warrior comes as a bit of a surprise.
But fear not, noble (ish) warrior, your mission is just: protect the townsfolk, complete missions they provide - and enter the accursed dungeon to fight all manner of beasties until Din thinks you've done enough to release you from your curse. Gee, why didn't he make it difficult?
Yes it's questing time again, in another isometric Diablo-like RPG from independent developer Soldak Entertainment, the team behind Depths of Peril and Kivi's Underworld.
This time around the player must battle monsters and complete missions in a series of towns to earn redemption from Din who's a bit of a hardliner when it comes to the whole 'debauchery' thing.
The towns themselves are randomly generated each game, and the player must enter the dungeon to complete missions while keeping an eye on the townsfolk, who periodically have to fight off monster incursions and the occasional attack from an apparently wandering band of assassins. This leaves the player juggling the demands from the quest givers with the exploration of the town and dungeons and the charge of protecting the townsfolk, all without messing up.
Fail, die or let the populace get slaughtered by something with way too many eyes and biceps the size of Bournemouth and it's on to the next randomly-generated town, and one step further away from the redemption you so prize.
The gameplay itself is your standard RPG/Diablo fare. The player character has the usual inventory, weapons and armour options, as well as a variety of different spells and powers on call.
There's an impressive amount of loot up for grabs, and though a lot of it doesn't become of use until you hit the higher levels, you're never going to find yourself scrabbling in the dirt, hunting for that extra piece of gold. The vendors in the towns are also unusually generous with their gold (but wouldn't you be? The guy's undead!)
The character levels up as the game goes along, but so do the monsters, which leaves the game feeling less like a wander through the caves, battling weak enemies for easy points, and more like a constant fight to the death. This difficulty, while daunting at first, gives the game an edge over its slightly repetitive nature, and if you're a fan of Diablo and its kin there's a lot to like here.
Graphically the game isn't really fantastic, but has had a nice polish since Kivi's Underworld and stands up a lot better on the big screen. The animations are smooth and the monsters come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from giant red-hued beasts to little purple nightmares that love to poison you, wasting time and money.
Missions on offer are the standard fare, ranging from herb collecting to rescue missions, but are nice and varied, though some missions do pop up more times than you would expect.
Thankfully keeping a lid on the monsters below means a lot less battling the incursions aboveground, and while the townsfolk can sometimes repel the invaders themselves, more often than not they are calling for their undead hero pretty quickly, and running back up to the surface after you just reached the bottom of the dungeon can be a real pain.
If you get bored of adventuring on your own, the game also has a nice little multiplayer package thrown in. This allows you and as many mates and strangers who have invested in the title to meet up online, head to another randomly generated town and kick some ass.
This is a nice dynamic, and can make the game a real laugh, especially as taking on a horde of glowing green spiders is a lot more fun, and a lot easier, with a few mates along to help.
The controls are simple and easy to get to grips with, and have been re-designed since Soldak's last title, placing hotkeys at the player's fingertips, even in the default settings.
Though if you find the game to be too difficult, or too easy, Soldak also included a suite of options to tweak the gameplay to suit your ability. You can set the rate of randomly generated events happening in the world above, which can range from monsters to plagues and rebellions, or up the number of random missions that pop up in the world below, which can often throw up the odd betrayal, timed battle or even a nasty spell of poisoning, it's pretty varied.
Din's Curse is a nice, simple, back-to-basics dungeon stomper that will keep you coming back for more. Though the plot is a little dull, and the action can be repetitive, it's the ideal stress buster after work, and is even more fun when you drag a friend along for the ride. The graphics, while nothing groundbreaking, are adequate for the job, and the variety in missions and monsters will keep you guessing, as well as on constant alert for an invasion, plague or assassin attack in the city above, as you fight your way towards redemption and the end of Din's Curse.
Debauchery is optional.
- Varied gameplay
- Decent multiplayer
- Lots of missions and monsters
Not so good stuff
- Repetitive premise
- Average graphics
- Saving the townsfolk can get irritating