Din’s Curse: Demon War from Soldak Entertainment is all about atoning for your characters’ past sins; unfortunately it has a few sins of its own as well. An overhead action RPG in the vein of Diablo and Dungeon Siege, Din’s Curse does not bring much new to the table with one notable exception: almost everything is randomly generated. Demon War is a new expansion for the game that brings a new character class and enemy types to the game, but the core is largely unchanged. There is almost no story to speak of, and the presentation and graphics are right out of the late nineties. If you enjoyed Diablo and its dungeon crawling ilk, however, Din’s Curse: Demon War may be a nice way to bide the time until Diablo III is released.
Basically, the story of Din’s Curse revolved around your character being recalled from the dead by the god of honor Din to fight endless waves of undead and demon monsters in order to make things right for your past misdeeds (what they are, I can only guess). You will only figure out the premise of the game by talking to NPCs in town, if you are so inclined. Even the very first time you play the game, you are plopped into the world with almost no direction beyond a terrible hint system, in the midst of a dozen NPCs and the oversized, deep-voiced god Din himself. You will need to figure out on your own that you need to pick up quests from these characters—and you will need to figure out on your own that failure to do these quests in a timely manner can have dire consequences; most of them are time-sensitive.
One of my first experiences with the game was having my entire town’s population destroyed by invaders within the first half-hour, and I had no idea why. The good news is that failure is not a huge deal: you just generate a new world and start the dungeon diving anew. If you are anything like me, you won’t really know why you are in these dungeons in the first place and you will feel very little attachment to the world and its inhabitants. The only real reason to fight onward is to strengthen your character. When you get down to it, self-improvement is the driving force behind most RPGs, but it is a bit jarring to have any presupposition of a story thrown to the wayside.
The only thing that remains constant throughout the game’s ‘campaign’ (I use the term lightly) is your nameless character and his stats and skills. Every time you fail to succeed in defending your home town, you can start again with the same character in a new world that will look remarkably similar, but different from the old one. All of the RPG archetypes are available for leveling, including but not limited to: Mage, Warrior, Rogue, Ranger, and as of the new Demon War expansion, Demon Hunter. That last one is particularly fun to mess around with. Each class plays differently, and you can even create your own hybrid class, but doing so will sacrifice one of the character’s skill trees. Leveling up and gaining new skills is compelling, and like Diablo you can save up your skill points to invest in the more powerful spells and abilities, foregoing the more basic ones, if you should so choose. There is no doubt that Din’s Curse is all about the gameplay; killing countless enemies, fulfilling quests, and investing skill points in your character are all satisfying to do, and there is definitely fun to be had down underground. The sheer variety of abilities and enemy types provided by the game is undoubtedly enough to keep some people playing for quite some time.
If you are a lover of dungeon crawlers, and wish to be teleported back in time a decade or so, Din’s Curse: Demon War is right up your alley. The game looks and feels like something from that era; the graphics are basic at best, when compared to most games released today—and the same can be said of the game’s UI and presentation. The gameplay is fun when you get into it, but whether or not it is fulfilling is something you will have to figure out on your own. This game, like most RPGs, can be a timesink, and without much in the way of motivating factors such as an engaging story or even a persistent world, you might find yourself wanting to spend your time on something more meaningful. The game does give you the option of increasing the amount of experience you gain, thus quickening the pace of the game, but progress still takes time, as it should. If all you want to do is level up a character by fighting hordes of undead and demons with the click of your mouse, Din’s Curse: Demon War might just do the trick.
Pros: Variety of skills and enemies
Cons: Graphics and presentation are from 1998, lack of story and persistent world may lead to apathy