Dungeons & Dragons Dark Alliance Early Impressions

Dark Alliance aRPG Early Impressions


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The Dungeons & Dragons Dark Alliance aRPG developed by Tuque Games released on June 22nd 2021 for PlayStation, XBOX & PC (both Steam & the Microsoft Store) and is also available for both the XBOX & PC via the XBOX Game Pass. The game got shredded by the reviews on steam for many reasons but after playing it for several hours yesterday I can say that it’s not as bad as people make it out to be. It’s true that there are a lot of things that seem unpolished with the co-op and there are a some badly designed features (such as the looting mechanic that only rewards at the end of a mission), however, there is a lot of fun to be had while playing the game.

EDIT: Already put close to 60 hours in the game and I still stand by my early impressions and that the game’s not as bad as the reviews make it out to be.

Early Impressions Video:

The Story:

The story in Dungeons & Dragons Dark Alliance is inspired by the books of best-selling fantasy author R.A. Salvatore. The narrative is split into different “Quest” that are like mini-campaigns that each are split into 3 acts. Acts I, II, and III each feature their own dungeon/map that the players explore with a boss-fight at the end. Act III is normally where the boss-fight will a bigger and tougher one whereas Acts I and II will feel like fighting mini-bosses. The game also features various cut-scenes that appear when you start a map and sometimes when you reach the boss arena/room. I’ve also noticed that on the map menu where you select what missions you wanna do there is a narration voice-over for each of those acts that introduces us to what is going on and why we need to do the mission.

The Heroes (Playable Characters):

The game features 4 playable characters with a 5th one (a Mage) to come in late Fall 2021. Those are:

  • DRIZZT – After fleeing his home, Drizzt now fights to protect Icewind Dale from the threat of the Crystal Shard. Drizzt wields two scimitars with lightning-quick ferocity and can call on his astral panther, Guenhwyvar, for devastating attacks.
  • WULFGAR – After five years of imprisonment, Wulfgar learned there’s more to life than the conflict of the elk tribe. With his colossal hammer and thirst for adventure, the Reghed barbarian will now venture headlong into danger and crush any foe who dare threaten his home.
  • CATTI-BRIE – A relentless optimist, Catti-brie was raised by Bruenor and the grumpy Battlehammer dwarves. With deadly accurate bow and arrow, Catti-brie will see the Dale free from the forces that seek the Shard.
  • BRUENOR – Having lost his throne to the invasion of monsters seeking the Crystal Shard, Bruenor now uses his axe and shield to plow through his enemies with ease (but that won’t stop him from grumbling about it).

The Combat:

The combat feels very fluid at times and on some heroes and very clunky at other times. For example, on the Archer (Catti-Brie) I had to hold down my aiming button to make sure my shots actually hit stuff and not just randomly fire in a terrible fashion. Sure this can also be solved by locking onto a single target (which sucks if you wanna spam AoE shots) but that also switched the field of view and camera angle to a ridiculously terrible one that feels atrociously uncomfortable to use. Then on the Assassin (Drizzt) there is some clunky movement when dodging or when you wanna rotate the camera. The camera rotation is very inconsistent and just breaks that nice fluidity that the combo moves provide. This is most likely only true on PC as the game here feels like a console port.

And this brings me to the good parts: the combo moves that feel very fluid and fun to mess around with (especially on Drizzt). I hope the devs look into the camera movement & field of view more and try to accomplish something similar to what Godfall’s camera movement and rotation feels like as the closest thing combat-wise I can think of as a comparison.

Loot & Looting Mechanics:

The looting mechanics are kind of strange as sometimes they are very user friendly whereas other times it feels like a complete 180 turn. There are cases where loot will be picked up by one player and everyone else in the teams gets that loot. And then there are times when one player opens a chest and the loot will not automatically go into everyone’s inventory but rather drop on the ground separately and every player will need to go there and pick it up. Then there’s also the various gold pouches and sacks that also need to be manually picked up when it could have been auto-collected when you pass through the loot or its vicinity. Hopefully, the devs look into adding some QoL in this regard.

The Gear System:

The Itemization is where I really love the game and hope to see some QoL improvements/features. There are various sets in the game that feature set bonuses at 3, 5 and 8 pieces. The total number of equipped items is 8 so combinations of 3 + 5 of two separate sets will be possible and would allow some depth to the build diversity.

Example set bonus Tiers

On top of that there are the 5 item rarities: common, uncommon, rare, epic, and legendary which don’t seem to bring anything more than just more affixes and higher numbers on those affixes. Here is also where I’d love to see some QoL improvements such as:

  • adding Unique items not parts of sets that give special abilities or effects or procs.
  • adding a system that allows us to upgrade the rarity of an item
  • adding a system that lets us upgrade the tier/rank of an item

Upgrading Gear

Then we also have the gear upgrade system which is kind of lacking at the moment. It allows us to upgrade up to two times every piece of equipment for the cost of gold and shards. This will increase the base stats as well as the randomly rolled affixes of each item. This seems lacking and incomplete but it’s still better to have it than not.

Upgrading Materials

There are 5 material rarities in the game as well: common, uncommon, rare, epic, and legendary. Those materials are called “shards” and can be found by destroying nodes/clusters of crystals in every map/dungeon. They can be exchanged (by upgrading or downgrading) as such rates that switching back and forth does not result in a loss. For example: 10 common = 1 uncommon shard as an upgrade and vise-versa where 1 uncommon shard can be downgraded into 10 common shards. In the same way 8 uncommon = 1 rare, 6 rare = 1 epic, and 3 epic = 1 legendary shard(s).

Upgrading Consumables

This is a fun little system that lets us unlock new consumables as well as upgrade them up to Level 5. There are a total 8 consumables that can be mixed-and-matched to fill a total of 4 consumable slots. Each one has a different cost to unlock or upgrade but in general the higher the level of upgrade the more it costs and each upgrade features an equivalent increment. For example: each HP Potion upgrade gives you 10% more HP restored: from 50% to 60% to 70% to 80% to 90% or the Alchemist Fire granting 25% more physical damage to the bomb with each upgrade.

Skins Transmog/Remodel System

This is one of the things the game dos differently than other games. While it does not let us put the skin of one piece of equipment on another piece of equipment (which i hope they add as a QoL feature eventually), it does let us pick from a number of skins for each piece of equipment (except some legendary items that seems to only have 1 skin). Those skins are not just simple re-colours but they also change the texture/material of the item as well. For example a smooth surface may change to a surface with scales or one with carvings on it. This lets us do some mix-and-matching which is pretty fun but still feels a bit incomplete.

Build Diversity (Feats, Moves, Abilities, Attributes):

There are several elements (other than the gear) that provide us with build diversity customization of our hero. Those are: Feats, Moves, Abilities, and Attributes (skills).


Feats are passive bonuses that are split into various different trees that always sum up to a total of 21 feats. For example Catti-Brie, Drizzt, and Bruenor have 3 Feats Trees that include 8 + 8 + 5 feats and Wulfgar‘s are split into 8+7+6 for a total of 21 feats that can be unlocked for all of them. I still do not know what the maximum number of Feat Points we can get but we do get Feat Points as we level as well as some (maybe all) dungeons have hidden feat points that can be collected as a one-time bonus. If we assume that there are a total of 21 feat points that means everything can be maxed out which would me no real build diversity here when maxed out.


There are 14 total moves that each hero can unlock. There are also two types of moves: combo moves and abilities (skills). Combo moves are performed by executing a combination of hotkeys in a certain order or by holding a hotkey when a certain condition is met. Abilities are skills that can be equipped in one of the two slots dedicated to abilities, more about that below. Both of those unlock with just gold.


Abilities are this game’s skills. They can be slotted/equipped in one of the two slots dedicated to abilities, which is where we get some sort of build diversity. From what I’ve seen so far each hero can unlock 2 more abilities on top of the starting two for a total of 4. However, the abilities menu shows 8 ability slots so maybe they will add 4 more later or they already are added and I just haven’t figured out from where one unlocks them. There also appears to be ability upgrades that either don’t exist yet, or I haven’t unlocked yet, or were removed and the UI icons did not get updated.


There are 6 attributes in the game, which can be upgraded with Attribute Points:

  • STR (Strength) – improves physical dmg and armor
  • DEX (Dexterity) – improves crit chance and crit dmg
  • CON (Constitution) – improves HP, Stamina (used for combos, abilities, dodging) and Stamina Regeneration
  • INT (Intelligence) – improves Elemental Damage, Condition Penetration, and reduces the cooldown timers
  • WIS (Wisdom) – improves resistance to Elemental Damage and Condition Resistance
  • CHA (Charisma) – improves the Ultimate and increase our Proximity Radius

Any Endgame?:

In Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance there is something that can be referred to as ‘endgame’. There are 4 campaigns/quests that are unlocked only after finishing the main set of campaigns/quests. Those 3 are: The Mask of Kelvin, Crystalline Dreams, and The Fury of Icewind. You have to do them in this exact order, starting with ‘The Mask of Kelvin‘ and finishing with ‘The Fury of Icewind‘.

What is different about those 3 Quests/Campaigns when comparing them to the other ones is that they feature a 6th difficulty rating – Vanquisher. Vanquisher has a recommended gear/combat score of 4000 whereas the 5th difficulty called Ascended requires only 2800 combat score. Vanquisher is technically the 7th difficulty but those 3 late game quest maps start with Hero being the lowest difficulty when it’s usually the 2nd lowest. This results in shifting all other difficulty ratings down by 1, thus Ascended is now number 5 and Vanquisher is 6 for those 3 maps.

This may not seem like actual endgame and will surely not be to everyone’s liking that we’ll just need to repeat those 9 maps/missions. Each Quest features 3 ‘Acts’ that are basically a separate dungeon with it’s own objective and this applies to the ‘endgame’ quests and the ones before them. This means there will be 12 missions that can be ran up to the 5th difficulty and another 9 dungeons that can go up to Vanquisher. A total of 21 maps/dungeons does not seem that bad but considering that in the end people will only be repeating the last 9 seems a bit boring.

Two free and one Paid DLC are scheduled for Summer and Fall 2021

However, the devs have already promised new levels to come as FREE DLCs in this Summer & Fall that will each unlock a new Quest with 3 new dungeons (that hopefully will feature Vanquisher) and the Fall DLC apparently will also feature “new difficulty rankings” which either means 7th difficulty or even and 8th. This is both good and BAD NEWS because it practically means BORING POWER CREEP INCOMING. New levels are always welcome but why make our old gear trash and useless and make us farm new gear that can handle the new content. Rendering our old gear useless is a big slap in the face of the playerbase that surely has put precious time and sweat into farming those items. However, if they add a QoL feature that lets us upgrade our old gear’s “Tier”/”Rank” by sacrificing a solid chunk of materials that would solve this whole problem.

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