I play a lot of video games. Especially role playing games. I prefer western-style D&D-inspired games the most. I don’t mind a good JRPG from time to time but I prefer western style the most. Mostly things like Elder Scrolls, D&D itself, Diablo and Fable, among others. Of course I prefer single player games. I don’t care for MMOs too much.
Recently I been putting a lot of time into a couple different games. The first is Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance and Diablo 3 both on PS4. The two games have many similarities but there are some notable differences. For starters Baldur’s Gate has a more true to form combat system based on the table top role playing game. This is limiting in a video game capacity as it requires the player to save and rest frequently as combat is not a big part of D&D table top game play. It is meant to be nuked at low levels. I am also playing a spell caster which severely limits my combat prowess. Still the game is generous with the save points.
Diablo on the other hand has a more video game friendly combat system. I am also playing a spell caster there but you earn powerful spells quickly and your first level spells are far more useful than first level spells in the D&D game. Baldur’s Gate is also based on the 3rd edition D&D ruleset so while it is combat heavy compared to previous editions, it still has limitations in that regard.
As far as the story goes so far D&D is your standard fair. You start in a tavern and make your way into the sewers/first dungeon. From there you fight monsters one at a time if you want to live very long. It requires a lot of hit and dodge tactics followed by running away from combat to get your health brought back up. The game does provide a few easy to obtain health potions but the difficulty ramps up quite quickly. By the time you get to the first area in the dungeon you will find yourself hovering around that save point after each combat encounter. Perhaps this is the sort of game best experienced as a fighter-type character rather than a magic user. I find the game balance incredibly lacking. The game is meant to be played with a fighter class character not a magic user. This is a problem.
Diablo has a much smoother story to get into. It starts off immediately with an attack by undead zombies. It throws you into the action right off the bat. The story unfolds as you go on your adventure. The cutscenes are a little less cinematic in Diablo compared to Dark Alliance but they do the trick. They at least have voice acting as do the cut scenes in the D&D game.
I haven’t gotten far in Dark Alliance to have a strong opinion on the story itself. So far it seems pretty basic D&D. What I can tell you right off the bat is the controls are pretty easy to use. However there are limitations. I have a bow and a ton of arrows I can’t use as a magic user. This is disheartening as the game keeps dolling them out like candy on Halloween. My only spell is Burning Hands. A useful spell in close quarters combat one-on-one but useless for ranged attacks. My first hurdle came as a group of monsters with bows and arrows attacked me from head on. I had to drink several health potions and jump over some boxes in order to fight them. It took several deaths before I figured out the pattern. In table top D&D you get one shot and once you are dead you are game over make a new character. The fact the game offers save states is helpful, especially as they appear to be spaced out evenly. That helps.
Diablo has more going for it than better combat and a more engaging story. It has well defined dungeons with clear objectives. I am wondering around aimlessly in Dark Alliance not entirely sure what I am supposed to be doing. Diablo is more up front with the lore too. You find scrolls and diary entries left behind by adventurers that came before. This helps flesh out the story as well as the lore. Then there is the weapons/armor upgrades. I come across gold and weapons quite often in Diablo. So much so that I often find myself having to sell items off to clear space in my inventory. So far I haven’t come across a single weapon or armor upgrade in Dark Alliance. In fact I have yet to find a shop where I can browse items to buy. So far the game dropped me into the sewers with no explanation and then threw me to the rats.
I have to admit I enjoy playing each game for its own unique take on the role playing genre. I am enjoying Diablo 3 quite a bit more than Baldur’s Gate so far but I am still getting enjoyment out of both games. I was itching to play some D&D so Dark Alliance scratches that itch nicely. However Diablo 3 is by far the more satisfying role playing game. When I am in need of a D&D fix Diablo is my go-to game right now. While I will continue to explore Dark Alliance I must admit I prefer Diablo 3 much more.