Dungeon Hunter: Alliance (Available on PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita)
ESRB Rating: T
Genre: Dungeon Crawler
Release Date: February 14, 2012
PSN: Online multiplayer
Parent Talk: Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is rated T for teen because of blood and violence. It’s not realistic, but I recommend you listen to the ESRB warning or the young ones could have nightmares because of goblins and other scary creatures.
Plays Like: Diablo, and other dungeon-crawlers.
Review Basis: Played the PSN version and sampled enough of the Vita release to witness the differences between the two.
Dungeon Hunter is originally an iOS game that eventually hit the PlayStation Network as Dungeon Hunter: Alliance, a more feature-rich experience. Currently the PS3 version is available for $12.99, while it retails for the full $39.99 (cart) or $35.99 (digital download) on Vita. So the ultimate question: is this really worth the inflated price to have it on your new Vita?
DHA helps the Vita launch by serving as its only dungeon-crawler, and is a really good one at that. From interesting quests, challenging battles to a deep leveling system and more equipment than you could imagine, Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is plain old-fashioned fun.
+ Loot, loot, and more loot. Every enemy drops something: gold, weapons, armor, special items, etc. What you do with it is part of the game’s charm. Sell it, or slowly customize your character.
+ Wonderful balance. You never feel overpowered. Surviving the dungeons requires inventory management, and a few potions for good measure. Failure results in being obliterated by the enemy.
+ Deep leveling system. Leveling up allows you to boost key attributes like endurance and power, and learn special skills. The more time you invest, the better your character comes.
+ Vita-specific features. Use the back trackpad to move a fair around the screen to search for hidden items, or take out a group of unsuspecting enemies by double-tapping their location.
+ Online play. I couldn’t test the ad-hoc mode or four-player online co-op, but was able to play online and enjoy it. Couple this with the Vita’s party system, and no doubt I’ll be using my Vita to game online more than on PS3.
+ Portable-friendly. Each large area requires five to ten seconds of loading, but that’s it for up to twenty or thirty minutes of play, which is perfect. The Vita’s ability to solid-state save your game is also a dream come true. Press the PS button to move on to another app, and the moment you return to the game it starts right where you quit. DHA also lets you save anywhere, and the initial boot is only about five seconds.
+/- Familiar quests. Some villagers ask you to defeat an evil monster; others give crystal-collecting quests that are key to solving a long-forgotten mystery. They’re typically fun, but hardly original.
+/- The story gets the ball rolling, but is never rich or deep.
– The PS3 version’s hit detection issues weren’t cleaned up.
– No PS3/Vita cross-play. Boo! It seems like such a no-brainer given the game supports online play.
– Who am I fighting? Another PS3 version problem, is that enemies disappear once you’re behind an object. Your character becomes outlined, but you’re swinging at foes you can’t see.
Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is a solid dungeon-crawler and easy recommend on the PS3. I want to recommend the Vita release too, but not for an extra $23. Sure you gain access to nifty Vita-exclusive features like touch controls to zoom in and out, and fairy control, but these aren’t game-changing additions. You might ask if it’s worth it for who doesn’t own a PS3. My answer is if you’re comfortable paying such a high premium for what’s essentially an arcade game, then knock yourself out. I can’t recommend it at that rate. I say try it on the PS3 for a fraction of the price, or just wait until a full-fledged Vita-exclusive dungeon-crawler hits that more warrants the price of admission.
Average Score Scale: 6 (+/- 1.5) out of 10
Personal Final Score: 6/10 (Neutral)
Reason for +1.5 Inflation: You didn’t play the PS3 version, love dungeon-crawlers, and don’t mind the premium price.
Reason for -1.5 Deflation: You’ve played the PS3 version and want to save $39.99.