Darkish Alliance, a reboot of the traditional Dungeons & Dragons motion role-playing recreation, launches June 22, writer Wizards of the Coast introduced Tuesday.
The place the unique from 2001 was a really top-down expertise, the brand new Darkish Alliance will get gamers proper into the motion with an over-the-shoulder perspective that feels extra like Gears of Battle — simply with out the duvet mechanics.
Polygon had the chance to expertise an early model of Darkish Alliance in a hands-on demo led by Tuque Video games inventive director and co-founder Jeff Hattem. The extent we performed — titled “The Verbeeg Jamboree” — confirmed off lots of its key options. What was instantly obvious throughout our demo is how a lot power Wizards has dedicated to the sport’s environments and cutscenes. Darkish Alliance is about within the Icewind Dale area, the identical location as the newest pen-and-paper marketing campaign module. It’s a harsh, northern local weather full of snow, wind, and mountains.
Within the lead as much as our battle, we bought to see a brief vignette of a gaggle of Verbeeg — the troll-like creatures featured prominently in Darkish Alliance’s authentic supply materials, R. A. Salvatore’s 1988 novel The Crystal Shard — gathered round a campfire. The Verbeeg have been singing and chanting, plucking away at monstrous banjos. Their revelry grew to become a sonic landmark, one which I used to be in a position to monitor by ear as I made my means by the extent.
Taking part in because the barbarian Wulfgar, I used to be in a position to wade into fight by wailing away on the proper bumper and set off, chaining collectively weak and robust assaults in a number of instructions. I had entry to a subset of particular melee assaults, each keyed to timed presses of the sticks and assault buttons. It was all very intuitive and snappy — even when demoed remotely, by recreation streaming software program Parsec.
At decrease problem ranges, Hattem stated gamers ought to anticipate depend on button mashing to make their means. Even at medium problem, although, you’ll must rely extra in your block and a group of potions that sit on the directional pad. Carry out nicely and also you’ll rapidly refill a meter to energy your final, which might tear by bosses in brief order.
Hattem stated that, like Gears, Darkish Alliance is constructed from the bottom as much as be a cooperative expertise. Present up with extra gamers and the sport will throw extra highly effective enemies at you and in better numbers. Gamers can take quick rests between encounters to patch themselves up, pitching a tent proper there on the map at sure factors and saving their progress within the stage. Skilled gamers can decide out of these quick rests altogether for an improved roll on randomized loot.
4 characters will probably be out there: the dual-wielding Drizzt Do’Urden, the ranger Catti-brie, tanky barbarian Wulfgar, or the defense-focused dwarf Bruenor Battlehammer.
Every of Darkish Alliance’s 21 missions ought to take teams about 20 to 25 minutes every, Hattem stated, or twice that lengthy if gamers discover each facet quest on their method to the primary goal. Equally, solo gamers can anticipate to spend upward of 40 minutes on every stage. The sport is constructed with replayability in thoughts, and encourages gamers to dive again in at elevated problem ranges for higher loot. Gear units encourage collectibility, with perks granted after gathering three, 5, and all eight objects in a set.
The ultimate recreation is not going to function cross-platform play, sadly, nor will it embody sofa co-op (though Hattem stated that could possibly be added at a later date). Hattem stated gamers will get entry to 10 character slots on every platform, nevertheless. These 10 character slots every progress individually, permitting gamers to construct every of the 4 characters alongside completely different talent bushes.
A lot of downloadable content material is on the drafting board, together with content material expansions and extra gameplay modes outdoors of the sport’s pretty linear dungeon crawls.
“If gamers need extra maps, we’ll make extra maps,” Hattem stated. “If they need extra characters, we’ll make extra characters. If they need extra gear units, we’ll make extra gear units. If they need all of it, we’ll make all of it.”
May that DLC take gamers elsewhere within the Forgotten Realms? Hattem was coy.
“From a lore standpoint it’s set about 100 years sooner than the occasions unfolding within the tabletop expertise,” he stated, “so it’s form of a prequel in a sure means. […] So we’re not essentially straight tied to what’s occurring within the tabletop however, as you may see, their Rime of the Frostmaiden is in Icewind Dale and there’s a variety of like overlap between the 2 merchandise.”
Darkish Alliance will probably be launched June 22 for present technology consoles — PlayStation 5 and Xbox Sequence X — as nicely a PlayStation 4, Home windows PC by way of Steam, and Xbox One for $39.99. Pre-orders can be found now, together with a Steelbook model for $59.99. That model of the sport comes with entry to the primary piece of DLC, titled Echoes of the Blood Battle.