I’ve only read a few of R.A. Salvatore Icewind Dale novels starring the awesome and beloved Drizzt and his close band of friends, but they were without a doubt some of the best stories I’ve seen set within the Dungeons and Dragons universe. It goes without saying that I was more than pumped when I learned of Tuque Games’ Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance being released and would feature these characters. Sadly numerous bugs and glitches mar the experience, but there’s still some fun to be had if you’re willing to brave the flaws.
The story is short and sweet, some evil beings are looking for an ancient and powerful crystal shard, and it falls on our heroes to put a stop to this at all costs. Here you can play as the famous Drizzt, a Drow dark elf that is fast in slicing and dicing his enemies with his spirit panther Guenhwyvar to help out. There’s the dwarf king Bruenor who is as kind as he is tough as he serves as a tank of sorts thanks to him being able to take loads of damage. The barbarian Wulfgar is slow but powerful and can enter a berserker rage for added damage, and lastly there’s Catti-brie who can sling arrows with the best of them while being quick and agile to boot.
You’ll have to learn to master their playstyles and skills while also leveling them up to unlock even more powerful abilities in order to survive. Thankfully you can also parry enemy attacks, block and dodge them, which comes in handy when the larger ones show up and you have to use everything you’ve learned in order to defeat them. And while you can play this adventure solo, it really helps to have some friends on hand for co-op play, as each character’s abilities will work greatly with each other, such as one person can boost/buff the group while another can heal while boosted and so on.
As you fight your way through an area, there’s a checkpoint where you can set up a camp and restore your energy and use it as a start point should you and your group fall in combat. For those who want to risk it all for a bigger reward at the end, you can pass on setting up camp and push your way through. Everything looks pretty good in this adventure, especially the detailed backgrounds while the characters have a sort of cartoon-ish look to them.
Sadly this is where the good things about the game end and we go into the bad. There’s numerous glitches you will encounter throughout your journey such as enemies losing track of you and vice versa, constant disconnects during online multiplayer, dying with one hit out of the blue, crappy loot drops even on harder difficulties, frame rate dips and asset pop in even on next-gen consoles such as the PS5 which I’m reviewing this on, and more that will hopefully be patched out sooner than later.
If you’re able to look past, and more importantly, push through the many faults it has, there’s some fun to be had with Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance. This one definitely could’ve used more time in the oven as it feels rushed and incomplete at times, but it is slowly but surely getting regular patches thank goodness. Die-hard fans will want to jump into Icewind Dale with their friends while others may want to wait on allying with this one.