The equipment selection is quite varied, but none of it seemed all that enticing. I never found myself excited about picking up a new wand or bit of armor. There is a crafting and an enchanting option, allowing players to add bits of collected materials and runes to their equipment, but even this seemed a bit stale to me. Managing character inventory was a headache, since the items are shown in a scrolling bar at the bottom of the inventory screen. Finding that one scroll or weapon I was after took too much time and effort, and often I’d just give up and continue slogging through with what I had.
As far as game play itself, Dawn of Magic is pure hack-n-slash. Left-click to run or attack with a weapon, right-click to blast ‘em with a spell, rinse and repeat. There are swarms of monsters to fight, although most of them can simply be kited around the map and sniped to death. In addition, much of the time I’d find my enemies killing themselves much more efficiently than I could manage. Enemy attacks can hit fellow monsters, so I’d often see them accidentally blasting each other in their enthusiasm to catch me. On the flip side, my spells could easily affect innocent bystanders and townsfolk, and more than a few fell to a miss-targeted spell. To make things worse, targeting felt a little off, so I was always missing my enemies because of a poor mouse click. Dawn of Magic also brings back something I thought we’d never have to see in a modern game--the “invisible wall”. Many of the outdoor maps were bounded by these invisible edges, and while it looked like I could happily run through the wilderness in all directions, I’d soon find myself pinned against the edge of the map with swarms of enemies pounding away. This all boils down to a mess of a combat system which quickly lost any semblance of fun. And in a game that’s all combat, I quickly tired of Dawn of Magic altogether.
The graphics looked a dated, and I found most maps way too cluttered. There were lots of spell effects, monsters, terrain and environment, and it made things difficult to navigate. The sound effects were equally unimpressive, and the voice acting was quite poor. The interface wasn’t great, but I’ve seen far worse in other games. I’d overlook most of these things if the game play itself were more riveting, but here they just make matters worse.
I grew tired of Dawn of Magic after a few hours, and I spent far longer playing to see if it would get any better. It didn’t. The poor combat, tired look, and lack of any enticement to keep going adds up to an unimpressive game. There have been some great RPGs in the past year, and Dawn of Magic doesn’t match up. Leave this one on the shelf.
This RPG seems to miss the mark in just about every way.
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