It's true - the game is unfinished - but not in ways that effect how fun to play this game really is.

User Rating: 8.1 | Dungeon Lords PC
I played the game to the end once out of the box. Now I'm playing a second time through with the new patch 1.3. The play was good to start with - the patch adds the automap, fixes some quest issues, adds some spells. It still leaves the game unfinished, but not in ways that effect how fun to play this game is.

I hear all those folks who are upset because the game is unfinished. It clearly is. But this is a fun playable game even with its faults.

OK, so I can't change my character's hair. I don't particularly care about that. What *do* I care about with regard to my character? How it plays.

For instance, you have 10 races/gender options to choose from. What race or gender you choose changes the way the game plays and how the character develops.

Next, you have 4 starting class choices. You have points to spend to customize your character's attributes and skill sets. These affect the play. The play is the thing.

OK, like I said, it is still obviously unfinished form the original design, so some of the spells don't work yet. Most do, and a few were added with the new patch. Even with some spells AWOL, there is a lot of remaining magic to play with: there are 4 different kinds of magic. They may be called schools but they are not like other games' "schools." Instead each features magic of entirely different kinds, which work differently, recharge or are created differently and play differently. Each magic is unique - the spells are not duplicated between magic types. Mastering one kind is fun. But wait! there are 3 more (now what would you pay?). This diversity of magic systems makes for the most satisfying and complex magic play I have yet encountered in a CRPG. It also makes for great tactical spell-combat. Honestly, I would like to have the few promised-but-undelivered spells, but I don't miss them.

I read a review where someone said the dungeons did not get put in. Sorry, but wrong!! There are great big beautiful multilevel multi-themed dungeons, including one that takes days to get through. Much, maybe most, of the game is dungeon based, if you count towers, castles, sewers and mazes as "dungeons."
The chest trap puzzles are fun, and they scale with difficulty in an interesting way. It is possible to untrap a chest above your current skill level, but it is hard and requires concentration and dexterity.

The classes have three tiers. Where you might be a warrior to start and a warrior to finish in another game, in this one you get to be five classes by the end of the game. 2 base classes, 2 elite classes and one super-elite class. There are literally dozens of combinations. My new character, this second time, is pursuing a battlemage ninja style career. That means he is a heavily armored magic specialist that in melee combat fights hand to hand, martial arts style, and uses thrown weapons (shurikin). This second game plays a lot differently than it did my first time through. A new, previously unknown, area opened up, there are new quests, new skills, new combat choices. I love that! There are so many possible combinations - I'm already thinking about how I might develop a character to play through again after I finish this game.

The inventory is fixed now and you can hold and sell the excess equipment that you acquire. Speaking of equipment there is a ton of it - armor, swords, bows, shuriken, spears, knives, axes, rings, belts, necklaces, on and on with this or that variation or magic effect.

Most role-playing games when you get to a level you get some points to spend on skills or attributes. In this game, you earn points from winning each combat encounter and you can spend your points whenever you want. Immediately, if you like. It's like hundreds of mini-level-ups.

In addition to the combat related points you also get extra points when crossing to a new level. There are plenty of "regular" level-ups too. By the end of the game my character was level 46 and just as tough and powerful as you would expect.

What about skills? There are a lot of them. 30 or so are available to an individual player-character, which ones are available depend primarily on class choices. There are almost 50 overall in the game. Some open up when you win your way into an elite class. Some open up when you get to a certain point in other skills.

Combat is more than point and click, like Diablo II, but has some of the same addictive qualities. It has been much better implemented than in similar games, such as Morrowind (which I loved too). Think of a simplified version of a game like Street Fighter. As you climb in skill you can do special combos. Different combos are associated with different weapons. Or barehanded - the ninja-type classes open up a whole new set of fighting moves and animations. What combo you use and what weapon you choose are part of the strategy when fighting. Each melee weapon has a speed and a "reach." Choose a long pole weapon to kill giant spiders without being poisoned, for instance.

What else? The automap works after patching to version 1.3. I like it, it looks good, but it was fun using the poster-map too.

So. It's not done, the game should have baked a while longer. No furniture! Some of the fireplaces have no logs. I know these are important to some players, but they don't interfere with the gaming.

Most importantly, what could have killed the game for me: there are no bugs or problems that stopped me from finishing all my quests and the entire mainline story. I did encounter one mission bug, but I had read about it and knew the workaround before I got to it. This was fixed in the 1.3 patch, so you won't need to "read ahead" or even worry about it. As far as I can tell from the forums and my own experience in the single player game, there are no game ending or quest spoiling bugs. I have read that the multiplayer does still have some funky issues that can foul up certain quests.

Quite a few people have finished the game now - many are like me going back for more. One guy who posts regularly on the (active and helpful) Dreamscape forum is on his sixth time through. He wrote that he's found new things each time through. Others on the forum have validated this. Same thing with the Typhoon Games (they are the Asian distributor) forum.

If you love role-playing games, and your satisfaction is based on finding the game fun, with complex and addictive game-play, engaging combat and unparalleled character development choices, rather than quibbles about eye candy and frosting on top of your frosting (I agree, they should not have promised it), then i expect you too will have a great time.

One other interesting thing about this game. There are people who hate it and just love to hate it. So much that they post for months on the various forums about why they hate it. Over and over again. Apparently this game inspires a weird kind of anti-loyalty! I don't really get that. If I hate it, I move on... It is interesting though.