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Chris Kavan's Video Game Reviews (456)

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Metro 2033 3.5/5
South Park: The Fractur... 4/5
Sundered 3.5/5
Mass Effect: Andromeda 3.5/5
Life is Strange: Before... 4/5
God of War 4/5
Doom (2016) 3.5/5
Armada 3.5/5
Detroit: Become Human 4/5
Destiny 2 4/5
Horizon: Zero Dawn 4.5/5
Oxenfree 4/5
Murdered: Soul Suspect 3/5
Kirby Star Allies 3/5
Celeste 4.5/5
Dark Quest 2 3/5
Just Cause 3 3.5/5
Guacamelee! 2 4/5
The Incredible Adventur... 4/5
Rise of the Tomb Raider 4/5
Dead Rising 3 4/5
Layers of Fear 3.5/5
Prey 3/5
Zero-K 2/5
Tales from the Borderla... 4/5

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Dark Quest 2   PC (Steam) 

Both Heroic and Generic at the Same Time.    3/5 stars

Dark Quest 2 will appeal to a certain audience as the game bears a not-so-subtle resemblance to 90s board game, "Hero Quest" - a kind of high fantasy, D&D lite-type game full of miniatures and generic fantasy that, despite its basic premise, probably influenced a lot of impressionable nerds back in the day, myself included. Those nostalgic for a trip down memory lane, and wanting that experience transformed in the modern video game era, now how a way to relive their young.

Presentation: The game looks pretty good for a small studio endeavor. Both backgrounds, characters and enemies are rendered in a fine 2D grid-based setting. While the levels are very much generic castle settings, at least the layout is well done, with quite a bit to explore (especially later levels). They even try to change things up by having some levels be short, but with a lot of enemies to kill, while others are longer with enemies spread out. The art style is original even if the characters and enemies are not. I mean barbarian, mage, cleric - they're all here, with most enemies being orc or skeleton-based. It's still nice to look at.

The sound is also pretty good. While the music is best described as standard fantasy vibe, the sound effects are well done (and sometimes unintentionally funny) while the translation is hit or miss - despite being done by and English studio - and someone really needs to push an "I will crash you!" meme right now. There is really no voice acting, nor would I expect as much from a smaller studio, with the most you get out of it is grunts or hoots. Overall, it looks great, but everything else could us a bit more polish.

Story: I mean, as generic as fantasy can get: evil wizard, town under siege, group of heroes, catacombs and castle to explore - everything about it screams generic fantasy in big, bold letters. Granted, that was Hero Quest as well, so if they're trying to emulate it - they're doing a damn fine job! Likewise, the generic heroes aren't even given any names - just classes. And while you can buy gear and upgrade abilities, you won't get any backstory or any story at all about your heroes. The enemies are no better, with generic orcs, undead and chaos armored knights beating you about (along with the odd werewolf). Even the big, bad evil wizard is just a template and is apparently being evil for the sake of being evil. In any case, if you want a deep story or narrative, this isn't the game for you.

Gameplay: The game is fun to play - even if our local co-op was essentially cobbled together (though it worked better than I would have expected). Early levels only let you control one-two character, while later ones up that to three (which was good for us). The grid-based system means you have a limited area to move/attack. There are traps you can trip (or disarm) but, annoyingly, spotting traps doesn't mean you can avoid them (unless you are moving one square at a time) as your character will still step on them even after spotting them. Good job! Characters can be melee or range, while magic users can be healing or offensive. We found the best combo involved the dwarf (me, of course) for trap spotting, decent melee; the Knight for healing and melee and, with a certain item, damage reflect and the Archer for good ranged damage and some specialized skills that really came in handy. We used the Barbarian early on when we had no one else, but his brawn was soon outclassed. Likewise, we did try the Dark Monk a little at the end but while his abilities are impressive, he is also incredibly weak.

Movement is simple point and go - enemies will attack the closest character without question and it is sometimes best to bottleneck them while the ranged character picks them off. You can lay traps and use various abilities that target multiple enemies or dead more damage, but, for the most part, you will use standard melee. Some enemies have very high block chance, so some battles can be prolonged as the characters (at higher levels) are also harder to hit. Most enemies have only a small health bar and can be easily dispatched with an attack or two. There are specialty enemies (even mini-bosses) with more, but, for the most part, we had little trouble with the levels.

The main town has a few areas of interest - the blacksmith has armor, weapons and accessories that can turn the tide of battle - each character can only equip two such items, so you much decide what is most important - damage, defense or other. There is a potion shop where you can buy "gasp" potions - mostly healing, but also ones that restore ability points, a trainer where you can upgrade your abilities - some more useful than others with healing and damage winning out over most else. An inn where you can fully heal for a nominal fee. A graveyard where you can revive any dead characters (for either a lot or a little, depending on your gold reserves), a brothel where you can get a "boost", a gypsy who will buy your trinkets and a useless town mayor who claims he will give you advice but always tells you absolutely nothing.

The game is simply a mix-and-match where you choose the right mix of characters, abilities and items. It is a rather short game that a dedicated person/group could easily get through in one sitting, but we took a bit more time.

Replayability: Not a lot here. Sure, you can try all the characters, grind out for some of the particularly grindy cheevos but otherwise the game is a one-and-done kind of deal.

Overall: For those with a penchant for some old-school fantasy that toes the line between board game and RPG, this is for you. Just don't expect something particularly deep or polished.

Presentation: 3.5/5
Story: 2/5
Gameplay: 3.5/5
Replayability: 2/5
Overall (not an average): 3/5



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