Dungeons are quite popular these days. Whether being sieged, defended, hunted, or dragoned; dungeons are, as the kids say, "Where it's at." What's that? No one says that? Fine. Be that way. In any event, it's hard to stand out from the pack by simply adding "hunter" or "alliance" to the word "dungeon." Luckily for Dungeon Hunter: Alliance, it separates itself from other similar titles by offering an abundance of co-op options and good old-fashioned isometric hack-and-slash action.
You play as a resurrected king who must save the kingdom of Gothicus, which has (surprise) fallen into ruin. Fairies are involved. The re-animated king must rescue trapped fairies and prevent the return of the Dark Queen. As awesome as the fairy story is, you can skip all of this nonsense with the triangle button. For those of you who must know why you're hacking and slashing, the story is perfectly serviceable.
The gameplay is made up of old-school D&D style goodness. Choose between the warrior, mage, and rogue classes and off you go. You earn experience and loot by killing baddies. Each level up gives you points to spread amongst attributes and skills, both active and passive. Special attacks and buffs can be mapped to different face buttons for easy use. I wish there was a zoom function or camera control, but alas, there are neither. The biggest let-down to the lack of a zoom function is that you can't see how cool your character looks other than at the character select screen. The best part about the lack of a zoom function is that you can't see how dated the graphics look. We're talking last gen, people. For a game like this, it doesn't really matter, but the models are less than impressive. On the plus side, animations are smooth and I didn't notice any slow-down when playing with four players.
You can count the polygons on that giant skull. All five of them.
There are some minor technical glitches. Sometimes when you're standing next to a destructible barrel you will repeatedly miss, or not swing your weapon at all. I haven't noticed this in combat yet, but it can be very frustrating when you have to take a half dozen swings at a barrel just to find the right angle to break it. Maybe barrels have really high armor classes in Gothicus. The biggest flaws I found within the game are the load times. They were so bad that I downloaded a stop-watch app in the time it took to get to the Main Menu. Then I reset the game and timed it. It took two minutes and twenty-five seconds to get from the PlayStation 3 dashboard to actually playing. Locally. To be fair, the initial start up is the biggest offender. Whenever you transition from one area to another you're looking a thirty second load screen, minimum. It's manageable, but time consuming.