Let’s be honest, there’s really no such thing as an innovative action RPG that runs in the same vein as the Diablo series. They all pretty much play exactly the same and offer the same type of stat and skill management combined with treasure-drenched dungeons that we all know and love. It’s because of this that the genre is actually so much fun. As gamer’s we know exactly what we are getting and how everything works. Din’s Curse is no different really. It’s just a brand new world to explore, or should I say worlds?
Now keep in mind that this is a PREVIEW. That means the product I have been playing this entire time is not indicative of the final project. It’s still in beta and there’s readily apparent bugs/features that must be fixed/added. That said, however, the game does appear to be in final form factor so it’s not like the game is going to be flipped on it’s head from where it’s at now. While this preview is meant to be a nice sneak peak at Soldak’s upcoming Diablo-contender, please wait for our review later this year before committing to a purchase.
Din’s Curse is not an extraordinary game. Let’s get that out of the way. There’s no way this game will ever be considered a “Diablo-killer” (hell, I’m not sure such a thing even exists). That said, however, it does do some interesting things that can certainly set itself apart from the pack. But we’ll get to all that, first, let’s start with the basics.
Din’s Curse is a typical fantasy action-RPG. This means you’ll have your choice of class — warrior, rogue, priest, wizard, ranger, conjurer, or a hybrid of any of the above two — as well as typical skills set up. Each class is divided into 3 “sub-classes” which amount to little more than assigning skill points into their respective fields. For example, as a Conjurer, I have the option of assigning skill points into Warlock, Necromancer, or Sorcerer. Each has varying skills that are dependent upon their class title — i.e. Necromancers summon dead things — but investing in one in no way denies you access to another. So, inherently, the sub-classes are little more than skill trees. It’s the exact same system that’s been used for almost every action RPG ever created.
Of course, character customization aside, the game does offer some unique traits behind it. For one, it would appear that every character I make starts out in a new town, with a different dungeon, and different monsters inhabiting that dungeon. While some tings remain the same, it’s interesting to see that you won’t be playing the same game everytime you wish to start a new game. Likewise, even the quests are different. I suppose the only downside to this would be the fact that the quests are randomized and, as such, you won’t be playing any hugely long epic quests like you otherwise would’ve in Diablo or Titan’s Quest.
Continuing on, the game also does something that I, personally, rather appreciate. Upon the creation of your character and “world” you’ll get to set the starting level — the level of monsters at level 1 in your dungeon — to whatever you want it to be. You can start them off at level 0 where they’ll gradually increase as you go down to different levels of the dungeon. Or, if you’re looking for a real challenge, you can set the number higher (all the way up to 24 which is suicide for a new character). The higher the level, the more experience. It’s a nice way to cut through some of the bullshit of starting a new character, especially if you’ve done it all before.
Din’s Curse also handles the advent of the right click skill use in a somewhat unique way. I won’t say it’s better than Diablo’s number system for switching between various skills, but I will say that it makes things a little smoother. In the bottom right of your screen Din’s Curse gives you three slots for skills to assign to the right click. The bottom most slot is your current right click setting. Pressing the up or down keyboard button changes it to one of the other skills within those three skills. On one hand, it’s a easier to see and remember what skills are what, but on the other hand, it also means you can only have three skills with a “hot button” as opposed to Diablo’s nine, I believe.
The biggest thing going against Din’s Curse right now is it’s graphics. It’s not necessarily that the game isn’t detailed enough, it’s just that it’s far too simplistic. Everything looks fake in it. The dungeons, while all unique, look exactly like what you’d expect a computer to make. In the end, it makes for a less believable game world to enjoy. Some may not care about this, but as one coming from the beautifully designed world of Diablo 2, I was constantly reminded that this is nowhere near the same experience.
Din’s Curse also has a mutliplayer attachment included, but, as this is a preview copy there were currently no others playing the game. Hopefully when the game does launch we’ll be able to jump in on a few games to check to see if the experience is notably different or not. Until then, we can’t really comment on it.
In the end, Din’s Curse is a fairly impressive action RPG. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and I’m sure there’s still a lot of work to be done before the final release. However, if the game were budgeted cheap enough and was able to sell to a decent enough sized audience, I could definitely imagine the game working out, especially for those who care not for storyline or environment details, but just want to explore dungeons and collect massive amounts of loot.