Din’s Curse: Demon War
Sometimes, “you can go home again”, and it was an absolute joy for me to come back to review the Demon War expansion to Din’s Curse for a number of reasons.
When we first reviewed Din’s Curse back in June, we had an early opportunity to look at Soldak Entertainment’s Diablo-style dungeon delve and, as often is with early versions of games, some rough edges needed smoothed. With the release of Demon War, we not only get to look at what the expansion gives us, but also how the original has improved.
Soldak have managed to reduce the grind, increase the time management and add even more functionality to, not only character design, but the environment too, to a jaw-dropping level in fact. Where some of the questing in the original could seem a little dry, the variety of quests has increased and the need to stretch and pick your characters abilities, to suit the level you are playing at and the denizens of the dungeon, has also been enhanced. Therefore beginners can be far more easily drawn in, whilst hardcore players can still set themselves a substantial challenge.
Monsters have increased in variety too and each can be hacked through by the warrior or dealt with more subtly by the other character classes, each having three sub-classes, with the Demon Hunter adding a whole swathe of additional functionality, with a fresh set of spells and abilities to think about as well. The sheer scale of some of these creatures and their various attack patterns is also realised well and there is often the need to step back and think about the best way to proceed.
Time is a vital element here, slipping through your clenched hands like sand; whilst trying to find a level gate in the dungeon, which allows instant teleportation back to the village and a good way to progress deeper, you often find a variety of other obstacles. These can be attacks on the town, requests from hungry people or strange cultish practices going on. The variety adding more enjoyment and, as is seen in the time management games when things are going out of control, bringing a determined grin to the player’s face.
Without detracting from Soldak’s achievements, the basis of all games are numerous interlinking mathematical calculations. The better these are thought through and balanced, the better the gaming experience the player will receive. The massive number of balancing acts Din’s Curse: Demon War manages to make fairly, brilliantly and enjoyably is quite gobsmacking. Many other designers should take time out to marvel at the achievements.
Regular readers know I’m a miserable b****** as a reviewer [just as a reviewer? – Ed] and a few things let the experience down. The fact that there never seems to be anything worthwhile to buy from the traders, making them sale points, is a little unfortunate. The lack of a surface world to wander about in seems strangely restrictive, especially given the excellent random dungeon generators on show. Also, some of the dialogue is a little dull.
In spite of these facts, and whilst the game never astounds visually or aurally which, to its credit, allows it to be played on many basic PC’s, what you have is something of a massive scale; even just considering the character design, as well as being immediately accessible. It won’t suit those who want a distinct storyline, but those who simply want some fantasy dungeon bashing will be in hog’s heaven.
So, if you’ve not tried Din’s Curse, it’s worthy of a look and if you already have it, get that backpack on, get your weapon in hand and sally forth.