Din’s Curse – PC Game Review
Din’s Curse & Demon War Expansion. PC Game Review. Publisher & Developer: Soldak Entertainment. Din’s Curse $19.99, Demon War $9.99
Passed Inspection: Solidly fun gaming, with multiplayer!
Failed Basic: Weak back story.
I just don’t remember the last time I actually failed a quest in a video game, yet had so much fun while doing so.
So, I’m in the deep dark of yet another dungeon, hacking and slashing away at the evil within to accomplish the tasks appointed to me by the townsfolk and the god Din just above ground. In between slaying all manner of monsters left and right, messages popping up on screen are keeping me appraised on what’s happening in town, such as someone needing some mining done, or someone else wanting to build some device.
I’m also seeing reports of what’s happening below me, in lower levels of the dungeon. The undead are rising up in greater numbers, darkness, earthquake, and anti-magic machines being built, and one creature just took down another to become even more powerful. I’m thinking, this is a neat game concept, one I’ve not seen before in an RPG like this. I don’t pay much attention at first since I’ve got creepy crawlies around every corner, all waiting to make me their next meal.
Suddenly a string of messages appear warning me the town is under attack. Wait, what? So am I! Maybe the townsfolk can defend themselves? I’m four levels down, and the nearest exit is on the other side of this level. I may not make it up in time, but I’ve gotta try!
And try I do, to no avail. A few seconds later, Din sternly informs me that I’ve lost the town. FAIL! Welcome to the world of Din’s Curse, the most dynamic action RPG I’ve had the pleasure of playing.
Think of Din’s Curse as a mix of Diablo-style exertion within a living, breathing world such as The Elder Scrolls, or Fallout 3, where NPCs have lives, and deaths, of their own. Even more special is that this game is from an independent developer, Soldak, and is more than worthy of being compared against those and other big name titles.
Din’s Curse (along with the first expansion, Demon War) lets players choose from seven character classes, each with three sub-classes, or choose to make a hybrid class by picking any two sub-classes from all available. The rest is pretty basic RPG stuff: gather quests, equip your character with proper armor and weapons, then venture forth into yon dungeon and commence to kicking arse.
As described above, Din’s Curse is unique in that you not only have to kill a wide assortment of creatures below, but you also have to actually save the NPCs above, by providing them food, water, money, and weapons, or by physically defending them from attack, disease, and a host of other problems as they arise.
When an NPC says he’s are starving, he really is starving and may die if they don’t get food, or money to buy food, soon. Players can talk to an NPC, inspect the NPC’s equipment, and give the NPC food from your inventory. The same can be done to provide them with money donations, or better weapons and armor, keeping them better equipped to face random monster invasions into town. If the three primary quest givers in town (apothecary, steward, and warmaster) perish, the whole town is lost, and players must continue the quest for redemption in a new town.
Of course, not all the action takes place in town. Din’s Curse also has plenty of dungeon-running and beast-slaying to do. Another part of the dynamic game play comes by way of dungeons (and towns) being uniquely built with each new town to be saved. Even at the max 1280×1024 resolution (Correction: the game can be played at higher resolutions but will only list resolutions supported by the graphics card), the creatures all look very acceptable, dungeon items are easily distinguishable, and spells and power effects are worthy. I especially like the wide variety of dungeon facades, so I’m not fighting my way through the same-looking dungeon time and time again.
The Demon War expansion adds in a very likable element: creatures fighting other creatures. That’s something that has very often bugged me in other RPG games – why do all these different creatures get along with each other so well that they seem to have only one natural enemy: me? Here, you may turn any corner to see monsters duking it out amongst themselves, only to turn in your direction when they’re finished and attack you, if you haven’t wisely attacked them first.
Dungeon corridors are peppered with varying traps and hazards, from magical booby traps along the floor to poison mushrooms, lava pools to cave-ins. The more intelligent creatures will build machines and other devices that steep the entire level into a deeper darkness, or prohibit magic, or spin in place shooting lightning bolts in all directions. All these and more must be contended with while also keeping a close eye on events in town, and therein lies much of the fun.
I don’t have much negative to say about Din’s Curse, other than the story and purpose is very weak, explained in one sentence: Din has placed you under the curse of another life in order to make amends for your former life. The NPCs could’ve also used more "life" put into them, seeing as they can die. Their conversation choices are very slim, missed by the developers as a prime place to flesh out the past storyline.
The buildings in town all look very similar, and could’ve used the same dose of originality that was put into dungeon design. And with his name on the game, I think Din himself could do with being interactive, instead of seemingly not much more than a really tall statue.
Din’s Curse presents a wonderful sense of urgency that both Diablo and Diablo II lacked. In fact, I’ll make this bold statement about Din’s Curse: if Diablo III doesn’t have at least a matching save-the-town dynamic, or sense of urgency and satisfaction, I may be sorely disappointed with it.
My final thoughts are that Din’s Curse is a blessing in disguise for action RPG gamers, and you should buy it and the Demon War expansion now. So far, it’s the best thirty dollars worth of PC gaming I’ve played this year.
Armchair General rating: 90%
About the Author:
Jim H. Moreno dropped his first quarter into a video game back in 1977, and has been avidly gaming ever since. He joined up with Armchair General just before the website went live as a game reviewer, and remains a regular contributor of war, combat, and strategy articles. He’s also written for PC Gamer, The Wargamer, The WarCry Network, The Instance Podcast blog, Epinions, Demand Studios, and Examiner.com. When he’s not writing or gaming, he’s usually catching some sci fi shows, or just being zen with family, friends, or his cat, Spritzer.
Soldak Entertainment / Din’s Curse