By Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF)
Fight The Dragon is a new Hack’n Slash RPG adventure game brought to us by 3 Sprockets. It has a focus on co-op play and community created content. The game comes with the Adventure Construction Kit which is stock full of features to help you create your own adventures to play or share. The game takes its name from its “ultimate boss,” the dragon, which comes with a whopping one-million HP that you will need to hack away at over time with the end goal of eventually killing him. Fight The Dragon has a nice assortment of features that make it stand out within the Hack’n Slash genre, and I’m excited that I got the chance to give it a play in its Early Access phase.
Fight The Dragon has a unique art style, to say the least. It’s very simplistic in nature and it honestly reminds me of some older 3D games. The maps have a distinctive “Blocky” nature, which works quite well with the rest of the graphics. I’m actually surprised that I liked the graphics as much as I did, as I wasn’t too keen on them just from looking at stills. But once I was actually in the game, they seemed to improve drastically over what my original impressions were. I’m actually wondering if the style wasn’t chosen simply to pull at people’s heartstrings with the nostalgia effect. Their low-quality nature will make it easier for older machines to run the game, as well.
In terms of customization of your character’s looks, the options are sparse. At least for now. The game is still in Early Access, after all. You’re able to choose your character’s gender, its “face-plate,” and hair style. You also get to choose an outfit, too, though I suspect that your choice there won’t matter much as you get armor to cover it up. I’m going to say that what was available showed promise for the future.
Character Progression and Customization
Like most games of this genre, Fight The Dragon has a leveling system. When you achieve a new level, you’re given points that you can distribute between various attributes. During the early levels, you won’t feel like anything special, but as you continue to play and level you’ll begin to feel more powerful as more options will begin to open up. Just like most A-RPGs.
Like most A-RPGs, there is also a loot system in place. Loot will drop from chest and mobs, and you’ll end up picking up a lot of it. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly find your inventory full. For this reason, the Loot Shrine is a thing. You can take your junk loot and donate it to the Shrine and eventually you’ll be able to pray for a chance at neat rewards such as rare items, dragon tickets, or stamina boosts. It’s an interesting system, but not necessarily unique as most A-RPGs come with some sort of loot recycling mechanism.
While the controls are more than sufficient enough to play the game, there is a slight “clunkyness” to them while playing with a mouse and keyboard. As they prompt you to select your primary method of control (either gamepad or mouse/keyboard) as soon as you start up the game, I’m assuming they designed things more with a gamepad in mind. But, as the game is still in Early Access, I have hopes that they’ll be able to smooth things out. Besides a relatively minor gripe about the way the controls feel (specifically where the mouse is concerned), I was able to enjoy the game with no problem.
Gameplay is fairly simply – the game is a Hack’n Slash. That’s not to say that you can just mindlessly play the game, or at least not all the time. A lot of adventures (including player designed ones) make use of puzzles to keep things interesting. These include jump puzzles, hidden keys to open closed gates, pressure plates, and other tools that can make someone scratch their head for a moment. Then there are the enemies that populate the adventures. Even though the game is in Early Access, the mobs seem to be interesting and fun to fight. A lot of them have a tactic that needs to be learned to be able to effectively dispatch them without suffering too much damage in the process.
Adventures are usually populated with plenty of “trash” opponents, some harder ones, and one or two “bosses.” There’s also a healthy population of treasure chests to open and vases to break. And that’s essentially what you’ll be spending a majority of your time doing – going through adventures, killing things, breaking things, and opening things. All to reach the Obelisk, which ends the adventure while scoring your prowess. All of this is done to reach the end goal of facing the Dragon. But I’ll get into that later on.
Combat is fun, especially the melee. Usually, I prefer casters but I found myself enjoying the Warrior class more than anything. Perhaps that’s partially due to the classes not being complete yet – I’ve said it a few times but I’ll say it again, the game is in Early Access. It feels a lot like the combat in games like Path of Exile or Diablo. Which makes sense as this is essentially an A-RPG like those two are.
What makes the combat the most fun, in my opinion, are the enemies I mentioned. They can be challenging to face, and you can’t just blindly run at them or you’ll quickly find your character’s lives gone. For example, there are these floating eye-looking dudes. They’re fairly easy to avoid if you pay attention, but they’ll shoot a sort of laser beam that does a decent amount of damage. The best way to avoid it is to simply run around them in circles (which can kind of confuse them). That seems simple enough, but it’s harder when you have two of them going at you, or another enemy. I find it interesting figuring out the tactics to take on the different types of enemies.
This is probably the feature that stands out the most, at least immediately, when you get into the game. Heck, the name of the game is taken from it; Fight The Dragon. It gives the impression that the whole point of the game is to defeat that dragon, and that’s basically the way it is. You do adventures, gear up your character, collect Dragon Scrolls, and level up so you can take on this Dragon and eventually defeat him. To me, that just seems epic and I wish more A-RPGs did something like this, giving the players an ultimate goal to aim for.
ACK and Community Created Content
One of the other great features of the game is the Adventure Construction Kit (ACK) and the plethora of content that can be created by the community with it. Since 3 Sprockets has implemented this feature into the game early on, there will never be a shortage of unique content for you to play. The ACK allows you to design your adventures from the ground up, from the way the maps look, where chests are located, what enemies spawn, etc… Basically all you could want if you’re into creating custom content.
What’s great is that sharing this content is also easy. Players can look through the Adventure Gallery, using various filters, to find adventures created by others. Because it’s so easy to create, share, and play the ACK adventures, there will always be something new within Fight The Dragon. I find this great because a problem I often run into when playing A-RPGs is repetitive and boring content that has to be played over-and-over to get the best loot, to grind levels, or simply because there is no other content. I don’t see that being a problem within Fight The Dragon.
Fight The Dragon has a pretty sweet deal going. Awesome custom content through the Adventure Creation Kit, a fun Hack’n Slash combat system, and a unique end-game goal of defeating an epic dragon boss. As the game is still in Early Access, and therefore still in development, there are some areas the game could use some polishing – namely the controls when playing with a mouse & keyboard. However, all-in-all, I’m going to say Fight The Dragon is on the right track to be a fantastic game!
Currently the game is offering a short term 40% off sale as well on Steam so don’t miss out.