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The Dark Alliance reboot promises co-op madness in a new action RPG

Worn Out Gaming
Original Article on Worn Out Gaming.

Oh, how I have longed to return to my old experiences with Baldur’s Gate. I’ve never sat down to play the table-top RPG. Besides that, I am a fan of the PS2 Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance series. Well, Wizards of the Coast and developer Tuque Games brings us Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance. Jeff Hattem, head of Tuque, announced the game on Playstation’s blog.

Immediately, the name screams ‘spiritual successor.’ After looking at the footage, it’s safe to say ‘Dark Alliance’ is a successor in title only. It is a whole different beast with an asking price of $40 unless you’re looking for the deluxe edition and all of its extra goodies. ‘In name only,’ may scare a few fans, so let’s dive into how Dark Alliance will feel.

Tuque Games wants you enthralled by bloody combat

Dark Alliance is an action role-playing game very much unlike its predecessors. It features a dynamic co-op with up to four players. The developers chose to forgo the Diablo-like isometric view for a 3rd person action perspective with an emphasis on action. It’s reactive, requiring players to pay attention to their surroundings, their allies, and abilities.

Dark Alliance
This doesn’t bode well – Credit: Wizards of the Coast

It is a mission-based video game that pushes us from one combat arena to the next. Players will launch their missions from a central hub. Action game tropes culminate in a boss encounter. Of course, there’s plenty to be distracted by over the course of every mission. There are side quests that will reward equipment and collectibles to find in the linear maps.

There is an experience (EXP) mechanic that allows you to level up. I know, right? “We can level up in an RPG?!” Leveling up is one incentive for playing through every mission multiple times. So is breaking down the onslaught of monsters invading Icewind Dale. 

Who are the characters in Dark Alliance?

There is no character creation in Dark Alliance. Instead, players will choose from Drizzt, Cattie-brie, Bruenor, and Wulfgar. No, I don’t know who any of them are except vague information about Drizzt Do’Urden. They will fill four character roles: Rogue, Ranger, Fighter, and Barbarian. I’ll keep my hopes up for a mage later on, but the fandom has made it clear that no mage accompanies the team in the lore that Tuque Games based it on.

Dark Alliance Drizzt
Drizzt – Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Each character can utilize more than 50 abilities. While that sounds like a lot to manage, Tuque Games wants everyone to be able to feel like masters of destruction. Button-mashers will do fine, and players looking for a complex battle system will be able to dig in.

The good and the bad news

Dungeons & Dragons Dark Alliance is not a live service game, despite the mission-based and repetitive nature. So, don’t worry about the developers bogging down the experience with microtransactions. No loot boxes, no purchasable skins – Tuque Games is not being predatory about their video game.

Unfortunately, Dark Alliance will not feature the couch co-op they originally announced. Hattem said: 

“All the environments are very unique looking, and we wanted to bring the Forgotten Realms to life. Icewind Dale, particularly, is a very harsh environment. We wanted to bring that to life, and that’s partially why we got we got ahead of ourselves and why local co-op is not in the build at launch. We had to make a choice at some point. Do we fully realize these environments, these monsters, and make it as immersive as possible? We put the foot on the gas on that front.”

Dark Alliance Dwarf
Bruenor – Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Hattem threw fans a bone, saying couch co-op could come at a later date with other features. If Dark Alliance is successful, we may see new missions, new locations, new gear sets, and other characters from the universe. 

Considering fans have been looking for a new Baldur’s Gate experience, Dark Alliance seems poised for success. The different approach to the gameplay may turn isometric RPG fans off, but I’m more than ready to try something new. 

Are you joining me on June 22nd, 2021? Dark Alliance will be on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS4, and PC.

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