When it comes to hack-n-slash RPGs that have a strong emphasis on loot collecting, one of the most famous has to be Blizzard’s Diablo series, although Gearbox Software’s Borderlands certainly gave it a run for its money recently. Last year, Gameloft released their own hack-n-slash RPG on the iPhone which also saw a release on the iPad and Android called Dungeon Hunter. Months later at E3, Gameloft announced they were working on Dungeon Hunter 2 which was expected to be released later this year. Dungeon Hunter 2 was finally released on the iPhone with a laundry list of improvements on an already solid gaming experience. Be sure to keep your iPhone chargers handy because you’re going to be playing Dungeon Hunter 2 a lot.
Gameloft promised Dungeon Hunter 2 would feature a darker, more mature storyline which follows two brothers who are the sons of the King of Gothicus. One brother becomes the ruler of Gothicus by using dark powers, while the other is condemned to rot in a dungeon, which you assume the role of. The game starts off with your character hanging in a cage where he’s rescued by an old man and a fairy.
Before you begin your adventure, you need to pick a character class for your hero. Your starting character class begins just how it did in Dungeon Hunter by choosing either a Warrior, Rogue, or Mage, but as you level your character up, you’ll be able to branch off and select one of two additional classes. Warrior can become a Berserker or Crusader, Rogue can become a Death Walker or Archer, and the Mage can become a Shadowmancer or Illusionist. Each set of additional classes have their own unique active and passive skills that you can spend points leveling up.
As with most action RPGs, the more enemies you kill and quests you completely, the more experience you’ll earn which will eventually level up your character. Every time you level up, you’re given 2 points to increase your character’s stats (Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, and Energy) and 1 point to be spent on your skills. Each character class has their own set of skills that take advantage of their class’ strengths. For my first adventure, I chose a Mage and leveled up to a Shadowmancer, so not only did I have the first set of skills when I was a Magellan but I also was able to use Shadowmancer skills such as summoning undead to fight for me, and cursing any enemy that uses melee attacks against me.
If you are a loot hunter, then you’re going to enjoy Dungeon Hunter 2 as nearly everything drops something that can be useable by your character. Even if you cant equip a specific gear that you picked up, you’ll be able to transmute the item into gold, or you can hold off and sell it to a merchant for more gold. The game even has an option that allows it to automatically transmute certain items when they’re picked up, like items whose names are white, which indicates they’re items with no bonuses to your attributes. You’ll come across more color coded loot that you may want to hold on to as they all have bonuses that are activated once the item is equipped. If you’re not one to mix and match your gear, Dungeon Hunter 2 has an auto-equip feature which places the most ideal gear on your character. I found this option to be helpful at times, but there were other times where I felt I had gear that would offer more benefit to my character than what the game had recommended. If you decide to allow the game to auto-equip your character, I would recommend you keep an eye out on what the game is selecting as they’re not always going to be your ideal choice.
One of the big selling points of Dungeon Hunter 2 was the ability to play with up to 4 people in online multiplayer through Game Center or Gameloft LIVE. Through numerous attempts to play a game through Game Center, I was never able to either create or join a game successfully. On the other hand, it was very easy to create or join a game through Gameloft LIVE. Online multiplayer had its ups and downs. First of all, most of the games I experienced had very low lag and it felt like the people I was playing with were in the same room with me in regards to how quick the game ran. There is no matchmaking in the online games, so if you join a game it can either be with players who are in a level much lower or higher than you. This can be good or bad as if you join a game where the enemies are too tough for you, you could end up dying a lot, but if you join a game where they’re too easy, then the experience points will barely be worth your time. As I mentioned in my preview, you’re still unable to keep track of your team if they wander off-screen from your current location, which can make adventuring with a group frustrating if everyone wanders off.
FINAL THOUGHT: Dungeon Hunter 2 is a must have for fans of games like Diablo or Borderlands. There’s enough loot, creeps, and story to keep you entertained for a very long time. The game features a number of achievements that require multiple playthroughs to complete, as well as its online multiplayer component that could certainly use a tweak or two, both of which will certainly keep you coming back for more.