Dungeon Hunter: Alliance Review

The Vita version of Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is a fine Diablo clone, but a lack of ambition and a high price hold it back on the platform.

While Sony launched both the PSP and the PlayStation 3 with entries in the Untold Legends series of dungeon crawlers, it seems to have missed the boat with the launch of the PlayStation Vita. Gameloft hopes to fill the void with Dungeon Hunter: Alliance, a port of the PS3 downloadable game, which in turn was a quasi-remake of an iPhone game. As a result, this is an adventure avid dungeon crawlers might have experienced already, and paid a lot less to do so. Still, it hits a lot of the right notes when it comes to mimicking its forebears like Diablo and Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, making it a game to look into if you're desperate to slay some monsters and collect loot on the go.

Fighting giant spiders with swords may not be original, but it can still be fun.

Most games try to kill you, but in Dungeon Hunter you're already dead. The story sees you, an old king, being resurrected in order to save your kingdom from impending doom. Like the rest of Dungeon Hunter's elements, the story is nothing ambitious and is highly derivative of fantasy tropes that came before it. That said, it seems to know this about itself and doesn't waste much time getting you up to speed before letting you slay thousands of monsters. It's a little disappointing, though, that with all the power in the Vita and the promise of its high-quality experiences, the vast majority of Dungeon Hunter isn't voiced. The story is told by in-engine cutscenes that are easy to skip through, which is nice if you don't care about it or are replaying the game.

The action is exactly what you would expect from a Diablo-esque dungeon crawler. You start the game as a warrior, rogue, or mage, each of which favors different attributes. Each time you level up, you are given two points to distribute among your attributes (strength, dexterity, and so on), as well as one skill point to unlock or upgrade an ability on the skill tree. Well, "tree" is a bit of a misnomer. Different skill options become available as you level up, but they aren't tied to one another. On the one hand, this offers freedom to unlock whatever skills you want without having to worry about working toward certain abilities or locking yourself out of others. On the other hand, it's a system without a ton of depth and with no real surprises.

So you spend a lot of your time mashing the X button, throwing some skills in here and there for flavor, collecting precious loot, and strengthening your character while chugging potion after potion to make sure you don't die. This is simple and derivative, yes, but it can still be a lot of fun. Loot lust is in full effect; picking up newer, better gear and seeing it make your character look awesome is exciting. Unfortunately, the game's legacy works against it. Being a port of a PS3 game isn't a problem in and of itself--a console-like experience in your hand is actually what a lot of people want out of the Vita. The problem is being a $39.99 port of a $12.99 PlayStation Network game. There are aspects of the package that were impressive for the iPhone and perfectly acceptable in a budget downloadable game that are harder to overlook in a pricier retail product.

More spells tend to fly when playing with friends.

That's not to say that Gameloft didn't put at least a little work into this new version of Dungeon Hunter, but the Vita-exclusive features are hit and miss. Touch-screen support, for example, is a mostly great addition that helps bridge some of the iPhone game's accessibility with the preferable experience of playing the game with a real analog stick and buttons, as opposed to virtual imitations on many smartphone games. You can't move or attack with the touch screen, but you can zoom in and out, bring up the map or character sheet, and manage inventory. It works well and can be convenient.

But other Vita features the game uses are the rear touch pad and accelerometer, and that's where you start to run into problems. When stunned or confused, you can shake the Vita system to regain control of your character. This can end up being awkward during battles because you're forced to shake the same thing you're trying to look at, and the action quickly becomes a hassle. Another problem is in controlling your fairy partner, who helps you hunt buried treasure and perform offensive spells throughout the game. One way to control her movement is with the right stick, which works fine. Another way to move the fairy is with the rear touch pad. In theory, this is a great idea. In practice, it doesn't work as well as intended. It's too easy to accidentally move her while simply trying to rest your hands comfortably on the back of the Vita. To use her magic spell, you have to double tap the touch screen, which is an awkward thing to do when the action is heavy, and it doesn't always register when you want it to. And if you accidentally move the fairy with the rear touch pad and don't realize it, you'll probably end up casting her spell in a useless area away from the battle.

Nothing staves off the cold like slicing up monsters.

Those flaws aside, the translation to the Vita was mostly a positive one, and the game remains enjoyable if you're in the mood for a good dungeon crawl. It's nothing too special, mind you, but it's a fun-enough hack-and-slash romp through tried-and-true fantasy environments. It suffers from some repetition, a few technical hiccups, horrible load times, and a severe lack of "Scroll of Town Portal" technology, but there's fun to be had. The main story could easily take you a dozen or more hours if playing by yourself, and you can team up with up to three other people online or off to add to the fun. Once you hit level 25, you can also take your character into the Pit of Trials, which is essentially an endless survival mode for players who want to see how long they can kill things.

The biggest hurdle really is the price. If this were a cheaper downloadable game like its predecessors, it would be easier to recommend. As it is, it's hard to feel like you're getting a good deal when an almost identical experience is available on other platforms at a lower cost. These dungeons may be worth hunting in, but you can do that just as well somewhere else.

The Good
Addictive and lengthy dungeon crawling on the go
Steady progression of loot and levels
Flexible online co-op
The Bad
Very simple and derivative
Frame rate dips and other technical hindrances
Costs much more than on other platforms
6
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Dungeon Hunter: Alliance

About the Author

Britton Peele is a freelance writer for GameSpot and a Digital Entertainment Editor for The Dallas Morning News. Find hi

Discussion

27 comments
Andrex1212
Andrex1212

I like how they say the game is much cheaper on other consoles, but the game is MUCH different on Vita than it is on iOS or Android (if it's even on Android). I tried the demo and it was pretty amazing, but I guess now I am thinking of it as $25.99, so $40 would be a little much I guess.

mulder_000
mulder_000

The game is now $20, so I wonder what the score would be, if the price was one of the biggest drawbacks?

dinslacck
dinslacck

i never had a chance to try this game.. 40 bucks seems so expensive for a ported game.

KadeStorm
KadeStorm

While I agree with the general consensus on the price issue, I think the issue of product quality to price ratio needs to be framed a little. First off: this is NOT the Android or IPhone rendition of the game. Look at the graphics. . . I have both games on my Xperia Play, and I am not seeing the shader effects and shadows that were common current-gen features in the PS3 version. So to make a highly contentious matter a little more focused - this version should be compared with the PS3 version from both a quality and price standpoint. The game isn't exactly stellar, but it's good, and it does capture the console version of the game, which does look better than what's on the mobiles (Consider comparing Marvel Ultimate Alliance on PS2 with the Xbox 360/PS3 version -- there is quite a visual difference). So I am not going to argue that this should be priced at 3-5$ the way it has been on Android and iOS; we're getting more with this package. However, I do take issue with the fact that it is almost three times the price of its comparable PS3 counterpart. Now had it been only a little more expensive than the PS3 version, then we would've had a great title from both a cost and quality standpoint.

TacoTuesdays
TacoTuesdays

i understand the price differance is a problem but i find the game to be fun especially playing with 3 other friends. Hopefully they can fix the framerate dips in a patch but i belive it should have gotten a better rating. The game reminds me of dungeon heroes back on the original xbox. loved that game

y3ivan
y3ivan

For IOS copy is only cost $5.99.

Kos1c
Kos1c

This is one of the most stupid moves a company could ever do. To remake a game for two different platforms and then charge one almost 3 times the price of the original. There is barely any difference in the game. Other than the arena and a few minor touch screen support. If Dungeon Hunter was a PSN download for the Vita, I would just use my PS3 version and be happy with that. But since they put a £29.99 price tag on the game. It's a complete miss. I've already bought Dungeon Hunter 1 and 2 for the IOS, and Dungeon Hunter Alliance for PS3. All 3 games cost me less than £20. There is no way I'll spend £30 on just one of those titles for the latest handheld. Sorry Gameloft and Ubisoft, this is a miss for many.

nedrith
nedrith

It was a enjoyable game on the PS3. One that I have plenty of good memories. It's nice to see that they have a few more creative places, seeing the wintery picture is well nice. With that said however, I feel the PS3 version didn't have enough length or character classes to actually warrent anymore than $20-30. Unless they fixed something the game wasn't polished enough. 3 classes and a handful of quests just aren't worth $40 especially when the 3 classes are just the cookie-cutter warrior,rogue and mage.

poopinpat
poopinpat

The demo was incredibly mediocre.

dogpigfish
dogpigfish

It's occasionally free on IPAD for a limited time. Not sure why they made this so expensive. Great demo, but not willing to throw money away. Horrible price strategy. Did anybody buy this?

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

I was almost tempted to get this just because I wanted a role playing game. 40 dollars is ridiculous though considering it's cheaper on other systems. Same reason why I'm holding off on Rayman Origins.

DinoBuster
DinoBuster

Loved Dungeon Hunter 1 and 2 on the iPhone, (3 is a joke), as well as the PS3 game. I was hoping they would have added in some decent new features and content for this release, but yeah, since they didn't, the price point is tough to get over. If you haven't played the other versions of the game, I can guarantee this is a really competent Diablo clone that scratches a lot of the right itches, so it might be worth the asking for a certain gamer who has the new Sony System. Good review by the way.

Darius815
Darius815

I actually really like this game. Have it on Android, and I am currently playing the Vita version. Vita Version is much better, IMO. I prefer the controls on the Vita all though they are not bad on mobile. Then again I love loot games, I would have probably given this at least a 7.5. So if you really like loot games this is worth it, if you don't care then you can definatly get it cheaper.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@chronocross668 -- We are going as fast as we can, I promise. Justin is working on Lumines, Caro is now on Super Stardust now that she's done with Twisted Metal, Shaun will get to Rayman as soon as he is done with Crusader Kings II, and Escape Plan we will get to as soon as someone frees up!

theJBlounge
theJBlounge

@chronocross668 This is one of the games they sublet to a freelance writer. Kevin reviewed ModNation, Tom reviewed Hot Shots Golf, Caro reviewed Twisted Metal (PS3), Justin UFC (360/PS3). There's only like 5 full time reviewers. Like I think they got the strategy guide writer Maxwell reviewing Marvel vs Capcom.

anticusho1984
anticusho1984

I will still get the vita there's still has more to offer and well they are not saying that this game is bad, just that is like other games of the same gender, in innovation is a important factor, if you like this kind of games you will like it. for me a review it's just an idea of a game I prefer try it myself and decide if I like it or not, I have enjoyed games with 5.0 score and hated editor's choice games

theshonen8899
theshonen8899

@chronocross668 Couldn't agree more. Those games look awesome. Regardless of the scores, this is definitely one of the biggest, quality launch lineups in console history.

chronocross668
chronocross668

can you guys stop reviewing the bad vita games ? Where Lumines, super stardust delta, escape plan and rayman origin ?

mulder_000
mulder_000

Make that $13.22.  Is now the time to buy it?

Dungeon Hunter: Alliance More Info

  • Released
    • Macintosh
    • PlayStation 3
    • PlayStation Vita
    Dungeon Hunter Alliance is a game for the PlayStation Vita from Ubisoft.
    7.4
    Average User RatingOut of 187 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Dungeon Hunter: Alliance
    Developed by:
    Gameloft, Ubisoft
    Published by:
    Gameloft, SCEI, Ubisoft
    Genres:
    Role-Playing, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Blood, Violence