by Johnathan Irwin
reviewed on PC
Jonathan Fortin: It really says something when the entire premise of your game is 3-person online co-op and the co-op doesn't work.
Johnathan Irwin: To be fair, a lot of games have shaky online sections at launch. However, usually games that are co-op-centric are not the ones that suffer from it. I've come to expect it from some titles, but with co-op you'd think it'd be ready to go out of the box. So to speak anyway, since it's a downloadable game.
JF: That's true. It would be more forgivable if it were more fun as a single-player title, but the game is clearly designed primarily as multiplayer. Playing Dungeons: The Eye of Draconus single-player unfortunately just isn't much fun because it feels like it's lost such an important element. Sadly, as neither of us were able to find a way to get the online aspect of the game running, single-player was the only way we could experience the game.
JI: I would argue that the game has lost several important elements. It's less of a game and more of a chore, riddled with immature jokes, boring combat when it works, frustrating combat when it doesn't work in the form of the worst hit detection I've ever experienced, and horrible audio quality. We'll be picking each aspect of this apart of course, but off the bat I just have to say that even with the co-op you can't plug a leak in a ship that has already sunk.
JF: That's true. Let's start with the core gameplay. Dungeons: The Eye of Draconus is a beat-'em-up in the vein of Golden Axe, with three central characters: the nearly-naked big barbarian warrior, the wussy nerdy wizard, and the lady-rogue. Each player is supposed to play as one of them, but if you're playing this single-player like we did you can only select one at a time.
JI: Being the gruff and lovable oaf that I am, I of course felt the need to (as always) pick the barbarian. While I was expecting him to be able to take damage, I was also expecting him to be able to dish it out. What I found was anything but. When his attacks landed, they were the weakest of the three classes. And he was so slow.
JF: It's so odd. He looks like he'd be the most powerful character in the game, but ends up being the most useless because of how slow his attacks are.
JI: Plus, the hit detection is so shoddy that the game wouldn't even register that my barbarian's massive sword was clearly connecting with enemies. Unless I was lined up 100%, it didn't count. Now, in FPS games I admire the need for pinpoint accuracy, but in a sidescroller like this where you can move up and down the screen it simply doesn't work.
JF: Seriously, the hit detection in this game is awful. You know how in Little Big Planet, the platforming often gets really annoying because you have to move up and down the screen as well as left and right, and if you're not lined up perfectly then you'll fall to your death? It's like that. In good beat 'em ups this isn't a problem, just like with good platforming. But in this game it definitely becomes frustrating. Frequently you'll attack and it will not hit any of the enemies, because you're standing a little too far up or a little too far down. Plus, the enemies tend to mob you all at once, because the levels were designed with three players in mind. The screen gets clogged with too many enemies at once. As if this wasn't enough, you have to push a button to pick up health items, rather than just walking by them.
Poor Audio Quality
JI: I got bored with the barbarian and switched to the female rogue. While the hit detection wasn't as much of a problem with her, the combat proved to be unrewarding and borderline sleep inducing. In fact, if it weren't for the shrill audio quality when she talked, I probably would've fallen asleep. This is not so much a complaint about the voice actress for her performance, but rather the fact it sounds as though it was recorded through a low-quality headset with heavy background interference.
JF: All of the voice acting in the game is bad, and poorly recorded. It goes to show how studio grade mics make all the difference. The voice acting would be less of a problem if you could skip the cutscenes, but you can't. They frequently interrupt the gameplay, and they don't feel justified because the story is nonexistent.
JI: I could forgive it given many developers these days are in an era where they can start small but dream big, but you have to show the effort in that. You have to pour love and affection into a project like it's your newborn child. But the content just isn't there. In an effort to be funny and appeal to I presume a teen audience, they have perhaps alienated gamers at large with the poor jokes alone. I feel like the love isn't there. The game feels like a souless Frankenstein attempting to cross Beavis and Butthead with Golden Axe and Castle Crashers if you ask me.
JF: Thing is, Beavis and Butthead is actually funny, and uses the stupidity of its leads for purposes of social satire. There's nothing satirical or intelligent about this game's humor, nothing to show that the developers don't think as the dim-witted characters do. When we meet an orc scientist, the rogue refers to him as "four-eyes." And it gets worse when we get to the gay characters. First there's a talking gay statue that prattles on about dildos while you fight.
JI: I actually stopped fighting in an attempt to overhear what he was saying. This is the kind of fuel that major outlets would love to jump on to put gamers in a bad light.
Beat 'em up gameplay hits a few nostalgic buttons
Awful hit detection, awful voice acting, awful comedy, and the multiplayer doesn't even work