Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance Honest Review

A lifelong tabletop RPG game master, I find it exciting to see a co-op action gaming game set in the Forgotten Realms. It’s difficult to match the worldbuilding and storytelling of Dungeons and Dragons. In all my years of playing, I have never seen someone roll a more critical failure than Dungeons & Dragons Dark Alliance. It takes all that potential and turns it into a tedious, repetitive, and utterly lacking in storytelling. This is more heartbreaking than a group PCs splitting the party.

Dark Alliance is a four-player cooperative action brawler. It’s all about hacking and slashing and blasting through all kinds of monsters and beasts in typical dungeon-delving style. After playing for 10 minutes, Dark Alliance is complete. This I can confirm after having spent a dozen hours trying to get to the end of an adventure that was stale in the second level and then another dozen trudging through it solo.

It is clear that the story is not a simple “kill these guys on you naughty lists” bounty-hunting plot. Campaign revolves around an evil shard that has made it possible for the bad guys to band together to take it. You have to get them to stop it by getting rid of them all, so that virtue reigns supreme or whatever. Although it is amazing that some of the most well-known D&D characters such as Drizzt Do’Urden, the dark elf are featured on the main stage, it is disappointing that they aren’t being used well. The story is mostly a mess. While each of the four protagonists will engage in brief dialogue with one another during adventure, there’s not much time to develop their motivations and personalities. It’s as simple as checking off targets on your list, then calling it a day, and going home. This is a poor use of Forgotten Realms’ decades-long history in worldbuilding.

Dark Alliance, which is meant for co-op play, can also be played solo.Do not do thisPlease. Don’t do it. A full team of four players can make this a relatively easy trek. However, going solo will prove to be a nightmare because all the flaws of Dark Alliance are magnified and given an iridescent glow. You will have to use only the strengths and weaknesses of one character to get through each level. Instead of the synergy between parties, you’ll experience a completely unbalanced experience. The story suffers equally as a result of the lack of dialogue among party members in co-op being replaced by monologuing to none in particular. It’s still possible to endure the same monotony and blandness as the campaign, but it’s much more difficult to bear without someone to share the pain.

Because you can use your strengths and weaknesses to complement each other, trigger abilities together, and work your path through enemies and bosses with your health bars, co-op plays definitely improves things. Sometimes, it can be quite satisfying to get past a boss or difficult area on a higher difficulty level. It doesn’t change that Dark Alliance isn’t better than a dozen other games and provides very little excitement.

Dungeons & Dragons Dark Alliance was what I wanted to be a co-op version for the tabletop RPGs that I have loved for decades. But it isn’t. The game is a boring, monotonous trek through repetitive encounters. It also has bugs and uninspiring design choices. Its faithful look and feel captures many of the great aspects of Forgotten Realms. However, there is very little to praise about this hack-and-slash RPG.