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Dragonshard (review)

Discussion in 'Dragonshard' started by teekc, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. teekc Gems: 23/31
    Latest gem: Black Opal


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    To spoil your reading, Dragonshard is Dune. It is an economy material falling periodically from the sky, randomly on the ground. You will need to gather them, and together with gold, to build an army. In the game, your infantry don’t take injury working in dragonshard field. In fact, almost any kind of land unit can harvest dragonshard. So in Dragonshard, harvesting is not a matter of sending worker over and set up a few towers. Usually, your army will travel, spot a shard field and everyone will harvest is quickly in case your enemy arrives too. This is a new twist to strategy games. Sadly, this is one of the few “pros” this game offers.

    Dragonshard offers great graphic if your pc can support it. Looking back at Liquid’s past products, they also made War of the Rings (a Lord of the Rings strategy title). War of the Rings and Dragonshard offer the same Warcraft 3 cartoony atmosphere. Of course since Dragonshard is the latest product, it should also have most detailed texture and responsive environment. Responsive environment refers to the swinging of grass when units walk through, the smearing of showy surface when walked too much, the fluctuating of water waves units fighting nearby. All these effects though enhance the gaming atmosphere but do not really affect the gameplay.

    I tried my best, in other reviews, not to mention the story of the game in order not to spoil any readers. Since this is a DnD title, its story, naturally, has to be subjected to hash interrogation. Unfortunately, Dragonshard story offers no twist, no turn, no complexity, no climax, not even characters. Starcraft has Kerrigan, Warcraft 3 has a Prince Arthas. Characters of Dragonshard are stereotypical. The warforged hero adds “bash” in between every other word, the rogue thinks about retreat at every turn, the yuan-ti rogue sss-ing at every opportunity. The story of Dragonshard, even I can write it while waiting for my class to start. Two factions, human and lizards, are each fighting their ways straightly to the largest dragonshard in the world. Each campaign is its own. There is no interaction, story wise, between factions. The human thought they were doing good; the lizards were just defending their place against intruders. As for the Umbragens (shadowy folks), well …. ummm…. Due to time constrain, its story is abandoned and not included in the final product. Yes, not included in the final product, thus making this a short 14 mission (7 for each) single player game.

    Each mission of each faction mirrors each other, just like the units of different factions in the game. There is a healer for human, there is a healer of Lizards and Umbragens. All have ranged and melee units similiarly, even hero units mirror each other. Thus though playing different factions, the same general strategy can be used, it doesn’t matter. Each units has special powers which can be found on any DnD manual spell list. And that is why this game bears a DnD title. I have heard complains about fast action game makes it hard to use special powers and how DnD strategy games need pause function (like what in Baldur’s Gate). All units have only one or two special powers and you can activate them universially using hotkeys. Besides, there is no need to diversify your units like in Starcraft or Age of Empires series, the game is unacceptably simple, something you expect from Red Alert.

    Dragonshard is one of the three resources of the game. Building and training needs both dragonshard and gold, which can only be found in the underground. Any map is two-fold, the normal ground where buildings and Dragonshard are and the underground with gold, chests, special items, side quests and larger enemies. The third resource is xp, gain via killing. XP is what you use for climbing the linear tech. tree. Dragonshard doesn’t have as extensive tech. tree as Age of Empire series, just simply using XP to buy level up for all units for better hp, mp and special powers. So unlike Battle for Middle Earth where each unit has its xp bar, when you buy level up for a unit kind, all of the same kind level up.

    Ahhhh …. What good can I say about Dragonshard? Simple story, linear tech. tree, serially homologous units across factions, dull and stereotypical characters. All these suggest to me this is a game of 12 under. Did i mentioned the hasty produced game is buggy and likes to exit unexpectedly? If you want a copy of the game, you might find my current copy as second hand in your local store. (Besides, Star wars strategy is out now)

    Notice the arrows firing, fired, and stucked on the walls. Or, notice that i use all ranged units.
    arrow

    Dragonshard falls periodically from the sky. Some harvestable, some just do little damage to your units.
    comet

    i know, every sad geek wants to see this, i just made it easier. Or you can participate on the ongoing topic about exploitation of female characters in fantasy games somewhere here. Or you can see the snow on ground getting thinner as i moved Marryn around. Oh Lady Marryn

    The reward shop, unique to campaign where you sell extras, buy needed, equip if you want, and buy special powers for your hero.
    reward shop

    skip, skip for me.
    skip

    "Soldiers of the Flame! The first Seal of Light is ours!" sterotypically said by the stereotypical paladin in her stereotypical paladin voice.
    seal

    me specs
    Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition (5.1,
    motherboard: Abit AV8
    Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3800+, ~2.5GHz
    Memory: 1024MB RAM
    DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
    display: RADEON X850 Series 256mb
    Sound: Realtek AC97 Audio

    [ March 13, 2006, 23:29: Message edited by: teekc ]
     
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