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Dungeons and Dragons: Dragonshard (RTS)

Hey all.

I bought this game a couple years back when it first was released. I waited a long time before writing this review simply because Dragonshard is a difficult game to take in. I've been playing real time strategy since the original Warcraft, so I went into this game with a lot of expectations. At first, I was very frustrated. After a little while I was amused. At last, I was blown away.

This game is really well thought out. There's a lot of attention to minute details that add to the experience immeasurably. Many other reviewers have mentioned the resistances, the strategy, etc... but very few of them have talked about the pace of the game.

Unlike the Warcraft and Command & Conquer series, Dragonshard doesn't allow you to create a group of peasants/harvesters and set them to the task of gathering resources. Instead, you have to build up a small army of characters who, basically, adventure for gold. This and gathering Dragonshards from the local area add a complexity to the game that is unknown to previous real-time strategy games.

What this leads to is a breakneck pace to the game as you try, in essence, to play two pianos at once, ESPECIALLY in skirmish mode. The single player game is pretty straight forward, but its when taking on multiple AIs that the game really becomes maddening.

On the one hand you're trying to build up an army large enough to repel attacks and remain strong enough to invade the enemy. On the other hand, you're trying to assemble a force of cavern crawlers to get you the money to build such an army. If that sounds difficult, that's because it is.

The game has an addictive quality, though, that I could see really appealing to masochists. Even though playing the game, especially in skirmish mode, is serious punishment, its punishment I kept coming back for more of. Maybe its because after each time, I seemed to be getting the hang of it more and more. Eventually I was beating my opponents on harder and harder levels. Then, voila, the game became fun!

If you're interested in playing a game that takes an entirely new spin on D&D and RTS, I heartily recommend Dragonshard. If you're looking for your standard RPG or RTS fare, respectively, this game is a definite pass.

Keep it real...
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