Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes


posted 12/6/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
Platforms: Xbox
I don’t understand why people in the olden days always made the same mistakes. When will they learn that reincarnating a powerful dead being can only lead to trouble? It’s the same burden that lead to the downfall of the guys in Lord of the Rings and it’s the same premise here in Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes. It’s like as if people in the olden days never figured out how to heed the caution of warning signs. You’d think that a charred skeleton outside the entrance of a dragon’s lair would be more than enough to turn the most thick-headed knight around but then again, you weren’t alive in the olden days. Leave it to the Dungeons & Dragons franchise to offer some insight of just what life was like back then, but if Heroes is any indication of life in the days of yore, count me out I’d rather watch the paint dry on the side of my house.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I didn’t want to like Heroes. It’s just that there wasn’t very much for me to hold on to. After the first couple of hours everything kind of meshes together into one big repetitive and jumbled mess. Dungeons tries to add some depth by allowing you to choose from four distinct classes but some of them are seriously more attractive than the others. There’s just not enough variation between classes here to make me want to choose them over another. The abilities and upgrades make a pretty large impact on the game though and are a very welcome addition.

For gamers who are looking for a great co-operative game then this is your bag. Want to prove to your girlfriend that it was worth buying the two extra Xbox controllers instead of taking her out to dinner? Then make sure to pick up D&D Heroes because it’s one of the best multiplayer games that the system has to offer. Working co-operatively as you hack’n’slash your way through an endless entourage of minions la Gauntlet brings a hell of a lot of fun, just don’t go at this game alone though because it’s a pretty mundane solo experience.

If there’s one large problem it’s that the game became repetitive far too soon. It doesn’t help matters much that you’re hacking through and endless entourage of boring, uninspired and generic-looking monsters either. There’s very little variety in the creature design and when you look at them you’ll notice plenty of visual deficiencies. This also carries on to the boss battles which are so boring, slow and disjointed that you’ll be begging for them to end. Playing the game at 11p.m. I literally almost felt asleep during the middle of the game’s first boss battle.

Most of the visuals don’t do too much to excite me either as older games such as Hunter: The Reckoning look much better in comparison. Some of the playable character models look and animate well but the enemies are very plain and boring. There are some neat particle effects and lighting effects here and there but nothing that really pushes the power of the Xbox.

If you’re looking for a game that does a good job of pushing the status quo then look no further than D&D Heroes. Not that this is a bad game, it’s just that it doesn’t do anything to further advance the genre. It’s perfectly satisfied with being average and in that respect it’s a decent adventure that is well worth a rental.

Guantlet-style games have really become fashionable lately. Inteplay did it with Hunter and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, Sony Online Entertainment is doing it with their EverQuest series and now, Atari is doing it with its Dungeons & Dragons license. Instead of putting a different twist on the take, the company decides to stick to the roots and in the end the product is a pretty respectable outing that will be enjoyed by fans of co-operative multiplayer games.

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