Treading familiar ground is the worst nightmare of any new platform. The Vita launch is definitely the most robust, but it is also plagued with ports and titles that seem hard to justify the price tag. Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is one of those games. This title probably sounds familiar because it is already available on other platforms, PSN included, and at a much cheaper price point. Still, if you haven’t played the game before and don’t own either a PS3 or any type of iOS device, this is still a decent loot-style RPG.
As I mentioned, Dungeon Hunter is a top-down, loot-style RPG in the same vain as Diablo. You will fight wave after wave of enemies while trudging through dungeons collecting tons of loot in the process. Fans of this style of game have plenty of options lately, but as I mentioned, this is the only one currently available for the PSVita, and it isn’t a bad opening act. The problem lies in the fact that if you own one of the other platforms it is on, you can snag it for less than $13 as opposed to $40.
One of the biggest problems games like this face is inventory management. This is actually one area where Dungeon Hunter excels. You can set an auto-equip option that throws on the most powerful gear automatically. You can also have items instantly turn into gold making item management super simplified. Gold earned is best spent on purchasing health items at shops. The game’s AI levels with you, so power-leveling will do you no good here.
The entire cast of RPG handbook stereotypes is present with a warrior, mage and rogue class available at the start. Each one has its own unique strengths and weaknesses and its own leveling tree. You can map powers to the face buttons, and attacks are your standard quick and strong varieties. Dungeon Hunter does nothing to differentiate itself from the droves of action-RPGs that currently exist in the market.
Porting this to the Vita does have some cool features, though, that take advantage of the hardware. For starters, you can use the multi-touch on the front screen to zoom in and out of the action. The fairy that accompanies you on your journey can either be controlled with the right analog stick, or the back touch pad. You can also shake the system when stunned to regain control. While cool, none of these features are necessary to progress the game. Still it is nice to see developers experimenting with ways to use the hardware’s unique features.
Any good dungeon crawler is usually only as good as its multiplayer, and this is one area Dungeon Hunter does come through. Playing with up to three friends is great, and the new features of the PSVita online really make it a smooth transition. I really enjoy the actual way Vita handles online, it makes getting into games with friends much easier and more streamlined. Loot will be color-coded online, and taking down enemies and leveling-up is just as fun as you would imagine. The only down side is that you all share a screen, which can cause some really messy action at times.
Visually, the game looks decent enough. Your character does get outlined when behind objects; unfortunately enemies do not. This can be an issue more often than not. The game also slows down substantially when tons of enemies are onscreen at once. You can tell this game was not designed for Vita from the ground up, but it is far from ugly. The sound effects are good and the little voice acting there is gets the job done. The majority is text-driven, though, and that is a shame. I know it is a port, but some upgrades in that department could have benefitted it greatly.
Dungeon Hunter: Alliance isn’t a terrible game, just an overpriced one. When you can nab the same experience somewhere else for nearly $30 less, it is hard to ignore that fact. That said if you have yet to play the game and, for some reason, don’t have access to the other platforms the game is at least solid. I would still recommend waiting for a price drop, though. $40 is just a bit too much to ask for what you ultimately end up getting here.
Review copy of the game provided by publisher.