Review: Dungeon Hunter 2 HD
Symbian-owning fans of role playing games should be happy at the moment. Following up on our reviews of Crusade of Destiny and Eternal Legacy HD, we have another epic RPG from Gameloft. Weighing in at 305MB Dungeon Hunter 2 is another game you'll be wanting to install over WiFi. In yet another impressive display of Symbian^3 graphics abilities, Dungeon Hunter 2 also has the mechanics to appeal to hardcore gamers.
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Dungeon Hunter 2 tells the story of two immortal brothers, born of the Gothican king, and rivals for the throne. The world of Gothicus is a realm of swords and sorcery. You play the good brother, who goes by any name you choose (I thought David was a good choice!), who is rescued from exile by Rene the preist and one of several faeries. The story is told via frequent text-based dialogues between characters, throughout the game. You reluctantly take on the quest to de-throne your evil brother Edward and put a stop to his dark-arts fuelled reign of terror over the land.
You and Rene coming face to face with the evil Edward!
Gameloft have provided yet another graphical extravaganza with Dungeon Hunter 2. Throughout the game, we're treated to beautiful and smoothly rendered 3D graphics. Just as I said about Eternal Legacy (also by Gameloft), these graphics wouldn't have looked out of place on a games console just a few short years ago. Throughout all of the various environments in Dungeon Hunter 2, lighting is extensively used to add a real sense of atmosphere to the game. This really serves to give a signature style that differentiates it from the other big role playing game (RPG) titles available on the Ovi Store.
In the other two big RPG titles I've reviewed for All About Symbian (Crusade of Destiny and Eternal Legacy HD), the control method has been such that character movement was controlled by one thumb, and camera angle was controlled by the other. Just as this control method was looking like a new standard, Dungeon Hunter 2 does away with it in favour of a fixed camera angle. This has the advantage of freeing up your other thumb to access the many combat related buttons, but it also means that you can often lose sight of your character behind scenery, because you can't 'look around the corner'.
Character selection screen
When you start “rolling” your character, you have to choose from three broad classes, Warrior, Rogue, or Mage. As you advance through the game, you'll eventually have to choose from two specialisations in each class. Warriors, the melee class, specialise to Beserker or Crusader. Rogues, the ranged class, specialises to Archer or Deathwalker (stealth). Mage, the magical debuffing class, specialises to Shadowmancer or Illusionist.
Class selection screen
During the early quests of Dungeon Hunter 2, you're guided around by the character who rescued you in the intro animation of the game – Rene. In addition to him, you are always followed by a faerie. As you progress through the game, you meet other faeiries who join your quest. Each of them have different abilities (which can be built up via quests), and you can chop and change which one you want guarding you at any time via menus. As you are initially finding your way through the game, Rene acts as a guide, but also as a bodyguard, dealing with some of the bad guys for you, while you're busy fending off the rest of them.
Rene, watching your back
Combat is how you advance in Dungeon Hunter 2. As you might expect, combat earns you experience points, which allows you to 'level up' and gain more skills, or enhance the skills you already have. Additionally, killing enemies yields gold, armour or weapons. When you find new armour or weapons you can equip them, giving an immediate boost to your abilities, or choose to sell them on. Selling unwanted items to a merchant is how to get the best gold payout. However, if your inventory has filled up, you can transmute items into lesser amounts of gold than you'd get otherwise. There's a well designed configuration system in the inventory screen, allowing you to set up which equipment you're going to use. The best part of this screen is the “Auto equip” button which will automatically pick out the best equipment (that you're able to wield, given your current abilities).
Equipping items in the inventory
There is a wealth of detail given over to weapons and armour in Dungeon Hunter 2. For each item in the game, there are four grades. Basic items have no special attributes, just damage points for weapons, and armour points for armour. Beyond this, you can have up to four added properties to an item which will boost some of your attributes. The distribution is seemingly random, but it does mean that you really need to keep an eye on what you're picking up, as you could get lucky and find something very useful indeed.
Item detail screen
Another aspect to using different selections of equipment is that you can inherently customise the appearance of your character. This is something that was missing from Gameloft's other RPG epic, Eternal Legacy. I know from playing MMORPG games (when I actually had time to play games for fun!), that customising the appearance of your character gives an added layer of emotional involvement with your character. This in turn greatly helps with Dungeon Hunter 2's longevity, because you begin to either identify with, or care about, your character.
Upgrading weapons and armour as you progress through the game.
This is where I would normally wrap up the review, but Dungeon Hunter 2 has one last trick up its sleeve, which sets it apart from any mobile RPG I've played before – a cooperative multiplayer mode. There are several ways in which you can play: you can join, or host, a game via a wireless LAN, Bluetooth or the Internet. In the case of the Internet, you need to have a Gameloft account, with which to sign into their online services, including your record of game achievements. I tried joining a couple of games hosted on the Internet, and it worked surprisingly well.
There's no in-game chat, which is hardly surprising, giving the nature of the game and the type of device it's being played on. However, the co-op mode takes place in re-enacting several of the single-player quests, including all the in-game character dialogue. Therefore, everybody should know what they're meant to be doing. As you might expect, the gameplay isn't quite as smooth as a single player mode, thanks to Internet lag. Still, being able to play cooperatively with another human being on your phone is a novelty which will keep the longevity of this game going and going. Hardcore players should be happy to hear that all gold, equipment and XP points gained in the multiplayer mode, carry over into the single player game. Which is how I came by my rather nifty Twilight armour, as shown above.
When I concluded my review of Eternal Legacy, I commended the graphics but felt the gameplay was limited. I then posed that as a polar opposite to the other big RPG on Symbian, Crusade of Destiny. Dungeon Hunter 2 HD has stepped in and given the best of both worlds, long lasting, engaging gameplay, coupled with beautiful graphics and music. At £3.00 it is on the pricey side, but you are truly getting a lot of game for your money. RPGs are not for everyone, but Dungeon Hunter 2 is an unashamed member of the genre which will leave hard core players with nothing to wish for but a massively multiplayer online version of the game on their phone!
David Gilson for All About Symbian and Ovi Gaming. 21St July 2011
Reviewed by David Gilson at