While Sony launched both the PSP and the PlayStation 3 with entries in the Untold Legends series of dungeon crawlers, it seems to have missed the boat with the launch of the PlayStation Vita. Gameloft hopes to fill the void with Dungeon Hunter: Alliance, a port of the PS3 downloadable game, which in turn was a quasi-remake of an iPhone game. As a result, this is an adventure avid dungeon crawlers might have experienced already, and paid a lot less to do so. Still, it hits a lot of the right notes when it comes to mimicking its forebears like and , making it a game to look into if you're desperate to slay some monsters and collect loot on the go.
Fighting giant spiders with swords may not be original, but it can still be fun.
Most games try to kill you, but in Dungeon Hunter you're already dead. The story sees you, an old king, being resurrected in order to save your kingdom from impending doom. Like the rest of Dungeon Hunter's elements, the story is nothing ambitious and is highly derivative of fantasy tropes that came before it. That said, it seems to know this about itself and doesn't waste much time getting you up to speed before letting you slay thousands of monsters. It's a little disappointing, though, that with all the power in the Vita and the promise of its high-quality experiences, the vast majority of Dungeon Hunter isn't voiced. The story is told by in-engine cutscenes that are easy to skip through, which is nice if you don't care about it or are replaying the game.
The action is exactly what you would expect from a Diablo-esque dungeon crawler. You start the game as a warrior, rogue, or mage, each of which favors different attributes. Each time you level up, you are given two points to distribute among your attributes (strength, dexterity, and so on), as well as one skill point to unlock or upgrade an ability on the skill tree. Well, "tree" is a bit of a misnomer. Different skill options become available as you level up, but they aren't tied to one another. On the one hand, this offers freedom to unlock whatever skills you want without having to worry about working toward certain abilities or locking yourself out of others. On the other hand, it's a system without a ton of depth and with no real surprises.
So you spend a lot of your time mashing the X button, throwing some skills in here and there for flavor, collecting precious loot, and strengthening your character while chugging potion after potion to make sure you don't die. This is simple and derivative, yes, but it can still be a lot of fun. Loot lust is in full effect; picking up newer, better gear and seeing it make your character look awesome is exciting. Unfortunately, the game's legacy works against it. Being a port of a PS3 game isn't a problem in and of itself--a console-like experience in your hand is actually what a lot of people want out of the Vita. The problem is being a $39.99 port of a $12.99 PlayStation Network game. There are aspects of the package that were impressive for the iPhone and perfectly acceptable in a budget downloadable game that are harder to overlook in a pricier retail product.
More spells tend to fly when playing with friends.