At least the game controls well. Then again, that's the one thing you can say when talking about any contemporary tactical RPGs. After setting down your party you will have the opportunity to move around in just about any direction (just as long as it's not obstructed in some way). Once you've moved you will be able to attack, use and item, open doors, and an assortment of other useful tasks. Like most tactical RPGs you can control the camera angle, which is accomplished by moving the analog nub around. In truth this game controls about as well as you would hope for, there are no glaring flaws associated with the control set-up. Sadly the same cannot be said about the menu system (which you will use more than just about anything else in the game), but we've already been over this subject already.
The most frustrating thing about Dungeons & Dragons Tactics is how much potential the project had. Despite a few control issues, this is a good playing game that has the makings for a solid adventure game. I would even go as far as to say that there are genuinely good ideas found in this PSP game, including a deep character creator and how ethics work in this fantastical world of dragons and gnomes. The problem is that most gamers won't get far enough into the game to see how great these ideas are. Instead most gamers will give up shortly after they start the project, frustrated by all of the terrible design choices that were made along the way. While there's not one thing that ultimate breaks the game, the combination of literally dozens of design flaws start to take their toll on you.
What's more, the gloomy graphics never make you want to continue on your quest. I understand that not everybody likes the anime-inspired visuals in Jeanne D'Arc, but Dungeons & Dragons Tactics swings the pendulum a little too far in the other direction. This is a "realistic" looking game, which is to say that everything is grittier and looks a little more like what you would see in the real world. But there's no reason for the graphics to be so depressing, it's as if the developers went in with the specific goal to bum us all out with sad rocks and boring caverns. Movies like The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings trilogy prove that you can make an exciting fantasy world that looks realistic without turning everything dark and dreary.
Of course, it's not unrealistic to believe that there may be some gamers who are looking for this king of Dungeons & Dragons game. While the game didn't do much for me, I'm sure there are fans of the series that will be able to overlook some of the negatives and find a worthwhile game here. If that describes you then you're in luck, because Dungeons & Dragons Tactics offers a lengthy single-player campaign. It isn't nearly as interesting as the campaigns found in other recent PSP tactics RPGs, but it's still long and full of diverse missions.
And if that's not enough, Dungeons & Dragons Tactics also comes with a multiplayer mode. Unfortunately you can't team up with other players and play cooperatively. Instead you're forced to play competitive games, such as monster bash and deathmatch. Sadly neither of these modes are much fun, so most people will probably just ignore the multiplayer option altogether.
Dungeons & Dragons Tactics is a game that had a lot of potential. There are some interesting ideas, along with a deep role-playing engine that allows you to build a lot of unique characters. Unfortunately the game is brought down by a number of gameplay flaws, depressing graphics and slow-paced action. With so many better role-playing choices out there I see no reason for anybody to pick this up, it's just another example of a good idea gone wrong.
This is a dark, depressing and boring role-playing game with complicated rules and major design flaws. With games like Jeanne D'Arc and Final Fantasy Tactics on store shelves there's no reason to play Dungeons & Dragons Tactics.
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