When I heard Dungeon Fighter was coming to XBLA, it was a double-edge sword for me.
On one hand, I was excited to hear that the free-to-play game was coming to consoles for easier access and controller use. However, I also worried that the game would be hampered by going to a console and being charged for.
For good and for bad, I was right on both accounts.
There’s a bid of a story, but, considering this comes from an MMO, you can guess how important it is. Basically, enemies carry the Phantasmalia disease and want to spread it, and you have to kill them all and find out who’s behind it. Basically, the story takes a backseat to just killing and grinding.
A drawback the game has is seen by fans of the PC version early on, and that’s a limited class selection. There are only three classes in the game: Slayer, Fighter and Gunner. There is no word on if there will be additional classes added in later on or not. Each one has their own advantage, whether it be range, damage or just being an all-arounder.
In the game, there will be a central area you go to accept quests, sell items, buy recipes to make new items and more. I never bothered with recipes a lot early on, but it’s worth noting that some of the better items can come from making your own equipment. The main thing I bothered with in the city was selling items and getting my next quest and new area to go to.
Each area you go to for a quest is split up into different sub-areas with enemies in them, along with sub-bosses and items here and there. As expected, each area also ends with a boss battle. The enemies don’t vary a lot, but players probably won’t care. They’ll be too busy trying to find new loot and leveling up.
The game does a fairly good job with loot by giving equipment, items and an interesting feature called pots. Pots are actually items that you can break to give random equipment. The equipment can range from common items to epic items and everything in between.
The combat is actually pretty entertaining in the game. There’s a standard attack button, along with a few buttons you can map for special moves. However, you can also use all the special moves you’ve unlocked by remember the button sequence for it, similar to a fighting game. The sequences aren’t complex to remember and actually make them easier to use. It’s worth noting here that all special abilities require MP.
While it’s alright going through by yourself, the game becomes far more entertaining when other players get involved. Up to three other players can join you in your romp around dungeons. Unfortunately, loot isn’t split up, so it can often become a mad dash for loot. In addition, at the end of a level you get random chests for loot, but only one person can get a chest. However, I still haven’t hit anything good through these chests.
A few problems arise in multiplayer. Since there’s only three characters, it means there will be at least one duplicate in a four-player game. In addition, characters can’t be customized, meaning you can quickly lose sight of your character or forget where you are. Parties also can’t be taken into the city, meaning you have to disband and reinvite your online friends if you need to get a new quest. Plus, I noticed that it never wanted to make my parties open when going to a new dungeon. It always started as invite only and I had to change to open.
Another thing to note is that the game does have a tutorial for new characters. While it’s nice the first time, it’s mandatory for all new characters, and also mandatory for any local friends you have that may want to play alongside you. Why this can’t be skipped I don’t know.
As you progress through the game, you’ll notice that dungeons become bigger and more complex, with dead ends and loops. In addition, you’ll also notice three difficulty levels (normal, expert and master) that cause enemies and more mini-bosses to show up, as well as better loot. While you can just instantly replay a dungeon, often you’ll want to go to town, sell or repair equipment, turn quests in and unlock new dungeons to explore.
The graphics are the same as the PC version, although townspeople have become static in location and look like stickers on a background. The soundtrack is also alright to listen to, but can become a bit repetitive.