The name Dungeons & Dragons has been synonymous with co-op for many years. Whether it’s the property’s roots as a pen and paper role playing game or to the dozens of video games set in its universe - D&D has had plenty of cooperative elements. The Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance series on the console is perhaps one of the most loved of these, providing a combined action and role playing game for the masses. So with that, we had high hopes for Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale - a downloadable title from developer Bedlam games. Promising four player online co-op play with that familiar isometric action/rpg experience, it was hard not to yearn for the next great game.
In Daggerdale, players are summoned by a mage to defend their home as an evil cleric named Rezlus looks to bring the power of the Black Lord Bane to the world. Whatever that means is entirely unclear as the story progress through a series of forgettable cut scenes in the game and the quests are forged through characters who grunt one syllable for an entire sentence of dialogue. There’s even a sequence where you get captured and lose all your items - talk about an RPG cliche. Thankfully the story doesn’t ruin things and really, its not the game’s focus -it’s all about your character, equipment and your stats.
Players can choose from a Human Fighter, an Elven Rogue, a Dwarven Cleric, or a Halfling Wizard. Characters are limited to 10 levels in this game with each level allowing you to unlock powers and upgrade stats. Powers can range from weapon proficiencies in the form of feats to special attacks - and while each character is distinctly different - they all pretty much play the same. Every character has a melee attack and a ranged attack, though you can customize your buttons so you only specialize in one or the other. I played my campaign as a Dwarven Cleric who has a special ability to heal himself and others. These abilities require only a cooldown time to use and are unique to each character - others include teleportation by the halfling and a dodge maneuver by the rogue. There are a handful of special attacks to unlock on each character and each one can be charged up for greater effect by holding down the corresponding button.
The loot in Daggerdale is obviously a huge part of the gameplay experience and luckily there is plenty of it being dropped. Special items get the random name treatment which means you’ll see the likes of Fiery Leather Armor of Pestilence 1 and Noxious Elven Light Shield of Stoutness 1. While you can’t outfit every appendage on your body you can find armor, helms, shields and weapons. Everything you equip does change the look of your character - a nice graphical touch.