If you thought the graphics on Diablo III and Torchlight II weren't colorful enough, developer Eyedentity upped the ante with Dungeon Striker. This action RPG has a lot of googly-eyes and big-heads that may turn off some gamers, but its front masks a chaotic-filled battleground of co-operative levels that can give the aforementioned top action RPGs a run for its money. An ironic statement, given its free-to-play nature.
We took a run on the recent G-Star 2012 demo showcasing eight classes -14 in the upcoming open beta and full version - and in a sense, they're what you expect from a game of this calibre. The warrior and berserker are your standard melee perps; go up close to a horde and swing hard and fast. The former can shield bash enemies so that they get stunned, while the latter can go in a rage state and attack faster than usual while dishing out improved damage. We got more kills during the demo's gauntlet stage (kill as many enemies as possible until time runs out) with a combination of the berserker's rage and his plethora of area-of-effect attacks with pretty low cooldowns.
The cannon blazer and wizard also deserve mention for their varying playstyles. The former is a ranged attacker who can buff himself up for turbo-charged shots, as well as summon turrets for suppressing fire. The latter can summon a sigil onto the ground; whenever she's on it, her spells have additional properties and projectiles, as well as shoot out faster than usual.
The sigil spell has an average cooldown, so it's imperative that you exploit it as much as possible during combat. Preferably, we played defensively by moving out as far away from the horde of enemies as possible, plopped down our sigil, and fired spells that had a higher chance for knockbacks.
Our favorite classes by far are the ranger and the assassin. The ranger can set up bamboo traps and evasive moves that have offensive capabilities. She can burrow underground to one end of an area and then leap out to fire arrows, as well as backdash to fire more arrows. Her spread shot fires at a good crowd-controlling arc while also having near-zero cooldown time.
The assassin can not only inflict poison temporarily, but can also jump away from crowds and do a dash slash and an aerial ground pound that comes out swiftly. His area-of-effect knife throw move has little to no cooldown time, so we made that our priority attack. While fast, we were careful not to make him get pounded on by enemies for too long as he's frail as a kitten.
After much class-experimenting and gauntlet-clearing, were happy with what Eyedentity did with the action RPG formula. The game is definitely not a cakewalk, especially when dealing with larger mobs, thus removing the stigma of it being child's play. You can't fault the controls if you die though; they're responsive, well-mapped, and even have joypad support.
The game will be in open beta in 2013 in Korea. There isn't any news on a Western version of this. However, if the growing fanfare of the company's last game, Dragon Nest, is of any indication, there's still a market for saccharine-riddled fares, particularly if it's as frenetic and arcade action-heavy as this game.
For our recap of G-Star 2012, head here.