Sorting through items dropped by slain foes is even more irritating because you have to juggle the menus and deal with scant on-hand information on your new goodies. An extra four or five steps are needed just to find out if that cool new sword you've picked up is better than the shiny metal toothpick that you're currently wielding. And you have to go through this process every time you rob corpses because otherwise, your party ends up getting encumbered by all the weighty junk they have to carry around.
As a typical dungeon crawler, most of the action takes place in dark settings. This is great for atmosphere, especially when you've lit up a torch, but it's awful for control because it's impossible to see anything. Monsters often pop up out of nowhere. You're wandering through an empty crypt one moment, but the next moment, you'll be wondering: Where the hell did that pack of goblins came from? Worse, you can't rotate the camera back far enough to get a reasonable view of what's in front of you. It tilts some, but not nearly enough to see more than about 20 feet away from your characters, so you're stuck with what amounts to a top-down view on the action. This adds to the monster-pop-up irritation and makes it hard to explore dungeons because you never seem to get a good look at your surroundings. Making matters even more annoying is the camera's quick panning back and forth. When fighting long-range with bows or spells, it zips back and forth too fast for you to see exactly what's going on around you. For instance, if you summon a monster right at the feet of a baddie, the camera will snap back to you before it's even materialized, leaving you to wonder if the spell worked or not until you get around to your turn again. The speedy camera also makes it easy to miss a character getting knocked down to zero hit points and then bleeding to death.
Wireless multiplayer is supported, but it doesn't really add much to the game. You can't play cooperatively through the campaign, so your only options are monster bash and deathmatch. Both are pretty much mind-numbing killing sprees, although the former at least emphasizes teamwork. Its one big limitation is a paltry selection of just three maps (deathmatch fares a little better with five). Only the ability to switch character levels all the way from three to 15 adds any life to this mode of play.
Both visual and audio quality seem murky. Details on your characters and the monsters are so small that it's hard to tell who's who or what's what. The graphics are also afflicted with off-putting animations. Freshly killed foes kneel down like they're praying instead of collapsing like they've just shuffled off this mortal coil. Because this slumped-over posture doesn't vary much from standing up, it's tough to determine if an enemy is dead or not. All characters seem to make strange moves compared to what they're supposed to be doing. For example, opening a chest results in a triumphant leap into the air. Firing a crossbow looks like pitching a baseball. The animations are so far off that you often wonder if you've actually made the move that you intended. As far as audio goes, weapon clashes and bangs are tinny, while the choral music of the main score are so repetitive that you'll almost immediately mute the volume.
Faithfully re-creating its tabletop big brother is the sole positive aspect of D&D Tactics. And that's certainly commendable, especially if you're a nuts-and-bolts rules fan. With a better interface and some serious tweaks to the visuals, this one could have been a contender. But as it is, the game has too many design problems to enchant anyone aside from pen-and-paper diehards jonesing for D&D on the PSP.