This game is a real stinker

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imhungry

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#1  Edited By imhungry

Just played through the first mission of the game and I'm kind of amazed at how terrible it is? There's an overall lack of polish which is somewhat expected and excusable for a smaller project like this but fundamental aspects of the game are really poorly designed.

The combat is extremely stiff, and not in a deliberate Souls way. Attacks launch in the same direction as the camera which is locked behind-the-back and has a painfully slow default turning speed that isn't much better even when maxed out. You can gain better control of your attacks by locking on to an enemy which then zooms the camera in, giving you less situational awareness especially given the fact that you can only change lock-on targets if they're on screen. This is a problem considering that even in the first mission the game was throwing groups of 6+ enemies at you at a time. The groups of enemies also don't help when your 'backstab' equivalent has a lengthy but non-invincible animation. I never died because I was on the easiest difficulty but it felt extremely bad to play, which strikes me as a problem for a hack-and-slash dungeon crawler. It reminded me very much of licensed character action games from the PS2 era.

The baffling design decisions extend to parts outside of the combat too, like putting chests beyond icy paths that required a timed buff to be traversed safely but then having the chest animation and loot spawning take time to resolve, littering the floor with traps that you can just trigger and then harmlessly back out of before they do damage etc.

I don't want to sound like I'm taking glee from taking a giant dump on this game but it's just sort of surprising to me that a relatively high profile, if modestly budgeted, game has so many poorly designed aspects in 2021.

Has anyone else given this a shot? Am I completely off base on this?

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bigsocrates

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it felt extremely bad to play, which strikes me as a problem for a hack-and-slash dungeon crawler

I haven't tried this yet, but that actually strikes me as a problem for virtually any kind of game. Even something like a hidden picture game can suck if it feels bad to play (like if you're trying to control it with a D-pad and the acceleration on your cursor is too fast to be precise.) It seems like a fundamental problem for any game.

It's "free" on Game Pass so I'll give it a shot at some point and come back and complain in this thread. Thanks for the warning, duder!

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noblenerf

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It's horribly broken.

I played the first mission solo with Catti-Brie and then uninstalled it. Her ranged attacks broke every single encounter--the enemy AI just gives up if you're far enough away. Then you walk away from the mission with some slightly better loot and have to do it all over again?

An ARPG borrowing from a more Vermintide-style layout is a cool idea but Dark Alliance is an abject failure of a game. Maybe some patches can salvage it but the only thing that wasn't actively terrible in my time with it was the music.

And I should add, this was with Game Pass. I'd be livid if I paid money for this game.

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Big_Denim

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#4  Edited By Big_Denim

Haha oh no. My buddies and I thought this might be a dumb, fun game to mess around in tonight. Looks like maybe we should find something else to play instead :|

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BonOrbitz

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*sigh* After seeing Microsoft at this year's E3, I'm really looking forward to brand new games coming to Game Pass going from "Oh oh..." to "This is good!".

History has a plethora of good D&D games... There's no excuse for not learning from that for Dark Alliance.

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Efesell

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#6  Edited By Efesell

Yeah this game is rough in a way I don’t see anymore. I don’t understand what they’re even trying to do with the combat.

It reminds me of Hunted that weird fantasy Gears of War clone but without a good engine to copy off of instead.

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Camosid

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I refunded it after killing an entire encounter from a hill in the first level. Not a single goblin triggered they would just sit and take the arrows and die and then the next wave would come out and repeat.

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deckard

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I was somewhat optimistic it would be decent but realistically I figured it was probably bad. A D&D licensed game, reliant on multiplayer, being released on Game Pass day one in the middle of summer? A lot of red flags right there. Aside from Microsoft’s first-party stuff it still seems like Day-One GP releases are the video game equivalent of Direct to Video. Or Netflix Original Movie, take your pick.

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morningstar

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Yeah, I pre installed it and then uninstalled it before even trying it today. Maybe they'll be able to polish it into something better but I doubt it will ever be good.

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Humanity

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I've been hearing nothing but bad word of mouth about it since this morning. Apparently not even the relative ease of access through Game Pass is a redeeming quality.

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Big_Denim

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#11  Edited By Big_Denim

@deckard: I wouldn't say that's entirely true. There's been some stinkers for sure, but there's also been some awesome day one releases for the service since its inception.

  • Void Bastards
  • Outer Wilds
  • Octopath Traveler
  • Tetris Effect Connected
  • Spiritfarer
  • MLB The Show 21

And that's just off the top of my head without including first party games like Ori, Forza, and Gears. Those first party games alone pay for the service as it is. Anything else is just gravy.

And the road ahead looks even more promising as well (Hades, The Ascent, Back 4 Blood, MS/Bethesda first party games, etc).

If there's anything to be concerned about with GP its the plethora of live service and co-op games that will take over the service. You know, the sort of games that entice people to continue to subscribe and/or purchase the game when it leaves gamepass as opposed to linear/narrative games where you can easily cancel a subscription once you've finished it.

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bigsocrates

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A lot of people are using this as a reason to bash Game Pass and...I strongly disagree. Obviously big publishers aren't going to put their biggest most expensive projects on Game Pass for various reasons, but there have been plenty of solid games that have launched on the service even not made by Microsoft. Outriders is far from perfect, but a lot of people enjoyed it. MLB The Show 2021 wasn't the best entry in that series but it wasn't horrible. Meanwhile Square, Outriders' publisher, published the famously terrible Balan Wonderworld not on Game Pass at a similar time, so it's not like they used Game Pass to dump their worst game. Then there have a bunch of top indies that launched on Game Pass like Spiritfarer.

This was never going to be a fantastically polished AAA game. It launched at a reduced price point. It could have been a competent and fun action game, like the Vermintide games. Vermintide 2 was on Game Pass at its console launch.

So while the game is bad I don't think it really says anything about the quality of Game Pass games in general. I think it's just that this was a bad game.

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deckard

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@big_denim: I agree that the next 6 months looks really good - almost every H2 2021 game I’m interested in is coming to GP. However your list of good “Day 1” GP games is a bit misleading:

Void Bastards: you got me there, that was pretty good

Outer Wilds: I consider this first-party since MS owns them

Octopath Traveler: Not Day 1; came out on Switch way before GP

Tetris Effect Connected: the original Tetris Effect was released on PS4 and EGS before this version

Spiritfarer: Yep

MLB the Show 21: was on Xbox GP Day 1 but not on PC GP

Some of this seems like splitting hairs but like I said, for something like a multiplayer-focused game with a well-known license to show up on GP immediately is a little suspicious. And this time the suspicions seem to be correct.

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Bollard

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I agree the road ahead looks great, although I have heard Back 4 Blood is surprisingly rough even if a lot of people are excited for it.

Even just looking at this list of "Day 1" GamePass games you have some bangers - The Ascent and Warhammer 40k Darktide are my (non-first-party) standouts on that list, but I'm sure some of the unknown indie titles like SkateBird will be great too.

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Efesell

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Some of the day one games are gonna be shit. I don’t see how this, at this moment at least, is suggestive of anything.

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BladeOfCreation

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I'm downloading the game now, but seeing these reports of how it is does not fill me with hope.

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imhungry

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@efesell said:

Yeah this game is rough in a way I don’t see anymore. I don’t understand what they’re even trying to do with the combat.

This is the part that has me somewhat mystified, it feels like a bad game from a totally different era.

In general I don't really see why releasing Day 1 on Game Pass should be taken as a hint at a game's potential quality. If Microsoft is paying out anywhere as much as industry chatter suggests then I'm sure many smaller operations would love to take them up on a deal if offered. A game like this one would probably have been a perfect fit for Day 1 GP even if it was fantastic just because of its nature as a coop focused loot game.

I would need a lot more data points before I'd draw any correlation between Day 1 Game Pass games and their quality, especially for a service that in many ways is only just beginning to hit its stride.

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FreakAche

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@deckard said:

@big_denim:
Outer Wilds: I consider this first-party since MS owns them

Outer W*lds mixups are a time honoured tradition :-P

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Efesell

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This game feels more like a janky PS2 game than the original Dark Alliance.

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RalphMoustaccio

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Honestly, I had zero interest in this game whatsoever, but y'all sold me on seeing just how bad it is first hand.

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42manZ

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I was hopeful that this would be good, but watching the trailers the action looked a little stale. It's also weird that it's called Dark Alliance, but the shortcut on my desktop is "CotH" which I'm only guessing stands for Companions of the Hall. Like, was this originally not even a Dark Alliance game? I think the combat could be better if they unlocked attack direction from the camera and improved the enemies, but those seem like big asks that I don't expect. It's a real bummer.

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lpkeane88

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I would like to add that you currently cant play between a PS4 and a PS5. Me and a friend just tried to play and we couldnt. This fucking sucks.

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shota00

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It somehow feels worse than the Avengers game.

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Efesell

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@shota00: It's like not even in that conversation. Avengers has a myriad of problems but at its base level it's a totally competent action game.

With this its like I don't know what you've done, or what you intended, but none of it works.

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Onemanarmyy

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#25  Edited By Onemanarmyy

At least this was a reason to bring the old Dark Alliance game to PC, which is a game that tickles my nostalgia-receptors.

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shota00

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@efesell: You're right, I only played the tutorial. I played the first level and it gave me headache, I uninstalled immediately after.

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Ben_H

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I watched the Nextlander people play this game a bit. It looks rough. One of the spells for Vinny's character had basically no animation other than a projectile shooting straight out then blowing up with a bad looking explosion. When he smashed a few crates it genuinely looked like an early 2000s B game. Every crate broke in the exact same way with the same animation and the weapon clipped through it. The combat looked horrid. They were fighting this big orc thing and the whole fight was basically just Vinny whaling on it with a generic attack and watching the life bar slowly go down.

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SethMode

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I was first disappointed in early reviews, then I read just enough to think *maybe* this would be a game I could like despite its flaws. This thread is absolutely brutal though.

I can't play it anyway, because the only way I'd be doing so is on my Xbox One X with gamepass, and my One X has shit the HDMI bed and doesn't give me a picture so...I guess I'm not missing much.

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BladeOfCreation

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Played the first mission solo as Drizzt, who I went with because I expect to like his play style the most. This game isn't awful, and I have a lot patience for co-op games I can play with other people. I'll keep picking at it, but it has a lot of problems. Attacks clip through doors, the camera doesn't turn fast enough, the combat feels floaty, the lock-on zooms in your view in a way that makes no sense. Game Pass this one or wait for patches.

Oh hey, the Outriders patch (that fixed their "community appreciation" patch) just dropped...

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rawrz

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All this talk of this being terrible makes me intrigued to play it just to see how terrible lol

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ALLTheDinos

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Played this game for an hour and “rough” is a great one word descriptor. It feels severely undercooked, and the combat could have used a ton of quality of life improvements. Graphically, it looks like a remastered game from 2007. I respawned and it failed to load my body except for my legs and gauntlets.

I hope no one here paid money for this game. Blecch.

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morningcoffee

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I gave this a shot since it's on game pass and I kinda don't hate it. I don't seem to be having all the trouble other people are having. I watched Vinny and Brad play it and the enemies just stood there while they attacked them which I never experienced. I also noticed a lot of rubber banding in their game which never happened for me. I haven't noticed sluggish controls either but I'm playing the big hammer man who is slow as hell so maybe that's why I haven't really noticed.

The only bug I've seen is when I perform a RB + RB + RT combo the RT sometimes doesn't trigger and it locks me up and I just stand there for 1.5 seconds. A couple of the enemies dropped these orange (legendary?) crystals and I can't seem to pick them up. Maybe it's a bug or maybe I'm just too low level or something. Other than that I haven't noticed much else, I'm only on Act III though so maybe it gets worse.

It's not a great game but it's satisfying that hack-and-slash itch. It's fun smashing enemies with my big hammer man and watching them go flying in the air and I do like the resting mechanic that let's you choose to heal up/restore usables or increase loot rarity.

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BladeOfCreation

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I finished the three main story sections solo as Drizzt, most of them on the first difficulty tier. I tried a couple on the second tier after having a higher gear level; some of it was doable, some of it was a ridiculous difficulty spike.

Enemy response times to your character encountering a mob run the gamut from "they recognize where you are within a Planck second even when using a stealth ability" to "stand around and not react until the heat death of the universe." Dying and respawning is a good way to make various interactable items like puzzle runes, ladders, and tablets unable to be used. I encountered a bug where I tried to throw an alchemist's fire, but I got surrounded so I dodged instead. Normally, this cancels the throwing animation. Except this time, it canceled the animation but the flask stayed in my hand, clipping through my swords. I was then unable to attack or use other items like health potions, so Drizzt met his untimely death at the hands of some basic mobs. Oh, and the jumping/platforming sucks ass.

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fracturedveil

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As a big fan of the heroes of Ten Towns I'm a little sad to see the coverage of this one so far.

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bigsocrates

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I knew this game wouldn't be good but I was hoping it would be at least entertaining bad. It looks like it's just sad bad. Hopefully they can patch it up so that it's worth messing with at least.

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morningstar

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Sad Bad indeed.

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FacelessVixen

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...So how well does Skyrim hold up in 2021?

This is a rhetorical question for those that aren't familiar with my facetiousness and sarcasm. Point is, this looks like one of those games that makes me want to play Skyrim again, or at least some other fantasy themed game that is more interesting this this one.

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warpr

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Getting PS2/gamecube era Guantlet vibes from this one.