Over the last two years Microsoft and its third parties have done an amazing job of offering nearly every different type of game on the Xbox Live Arcade service. From old school arcade games to puzzlers to 2D shooters to fighters, the Xbox Live Arcade has given fans of all genres something to spend their Microsoft Points on. Unfortunately there's one genre that has until recently been ignored on the Xbox Live Arcade. I'm of course talking about the Diablo-style dungeon crawler, the kind of game where it's level after level of hacking and slashing.
Thankfully Sierra Online listened to all of those dungeon crawler fans, because Arkadian Warrior is exactly what you expect it to be. It's the kind of game where you venture deep into the earth and kill as many bad guys as possible, all while completing quests and picking up fallen treasures. In other words, it's exactly like every other hack 'n slash game you've ever played, only this time with achievement points and Xbox Live support.
In Arkadian Warrior you play a heroic intern that seems to show up at just the right time to destroy some dark evil that is menacing the town. Before long you will be tasked with a lot of familiar missions, including ones where you have to kill a certain amount of enemies and ones where you have to pick up a certain amount of treasure. Once you've completed your quest a magical portal will appear and take you right back to town, where you will be given another familiar task to complete. In total there's about six hours of this back and forth in the single-player campaign, all of which feels perfectly at home with this generic dungeon crawler.
The problem with this game is that it never does anything new or exciting. Just about every mission is the same (even if the task is slightly different), the graphics are exactly what you would expect and at times it just feels like you're doing a lot of busy work for no reason. At the same time, if all you're expecting is a game where you can go into a big cave and kill a bunch of bad guys, then Arkadian Warrior may be exactly what you're looking for. But I somehow doubt that most people are going to put up with six hours of repetitive hacking and slashing, I know I got bored of the repetition within the first hour.
As expected, Arkadian Warrior does offer a few different characters to choose from, but don't expect that to change the overall campaign all that drastically. From the get-go you will have a choice between a soldier (who is good with blade weapons), an archer (who is good at long distances) and a sorceress (who floats around, looks good in a skin-tight blue costume and throws a mean fireball). But don't get too excited, outside of offering slightly different special moves, these three characters are essentially identical. That's not to say that you won't like one more than the others, but at the same time none of these characters changes the story enough to warrant playing through the game three different times.
When it comes right down to it, the most important part of making a dungeon crawler is giving gamers interesting dungeons to explore. This is the biggest problem with Arkadian Warrior; none of the levels are all that interesting. It doesn't help that most of the levels look the same, level after level you're asked to fight your way through the same boring caves fighting the same boring enemies. To make matters worse, all of these different levels start to blend together after awhile. The fact that there are slightly different textures and a subtle change in color doesn't alter the fact that you're essentially doing the same thing over and over for very little reward.
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