With Mortal Kombat and portal two out-of-the-way I was looking for something to fill the gap between now and the release of Duke Nukem, ive decided to skip brink after a brief trail at a friend’s house and L.A noir looks like it threatens to cut into to duke gameplay time. A friend told me that he’d just downloaded Daggerdale so I thought id do the same and try catch up to him so we could join a few battles and have a couple laughs. I opted for the archer class (Elven Rouge) because the game reminded me of my days spent playing conquer on the desktop. I gathered all the food and drink I thought id need that night and locked myself in my room, the before mentioned friend wasnt on live so I thought it the perfect opportunity to catch up so I wasnt the weakling who constantly needed to be revived when we joined forces. The game play is simple but effective, a bit of reading around the topic was required to understand what some of the weapon attributes were but that’s probably my fault for knowing bugger all about the D&D universe other than what id heard in podcasts and passing conversations. Each class has a unique ability the archers is the ability to roll which at first seemed a bit useless but after realising it can be used to dance around enemies or through entire hordes to line up a better shot the simplistic beauty of the combat really started to shine. each character has a melee and a ranged attack and unique abilities can be bought as you level up in a typical character building way.

After a couple of hours the game got a little repetitive and perhaps that’s what started my criticism. When on a mission if you complete objective X you’ll be taken to a cut scene of the mute character with subtitles saying “generic message X”. this happens despite what you’re doing as soon as the objective is completed your blinded by the cut scene so you could be left in battle or jumping off a cliff it’s really disorientation. Occasionally my sword made of fire would go right through someone and cause them no damage no matter how close I stood or how many times I swung at them but this could be resolved by a couple of bow bolts. All in all the game is quite enjoyable with rewarding loot for side quests and exploration with a few gameplay difficulties that are to an extent expected of XBLA games.

Now im at level seven and really into the game mowing down waves of ghouls and goblins when suddenly one of my special attacks doesn’t work, my character just stands the bent over letting the enemy put their weapons wherever they like. After the embarrassing fight I try to assign the attack to the controls where it used to be only to find that my skill points had been reduced to zero. After a cry and a calming cup of tea I decided to let it go and carry on, I was almost at the next level so id be able to buy it back to an extent. With the attack bought again I started my next mission. In the middle of a fairly large fight my character stopped charging its AOE and started dancing around the screen attempting to stare people to death. All of my skill points had been taken and I was left without any special attacks. now the Xbox gets unplugged.

I went to the Atari forums to give them a piece of my mind only to find im not the only person this has happened to its a major gamebreaking glitch that’s effecting almost everyone that plays the game. The most common occurrence seems to be at the beginning of chapter three but instances have been recorded from various times throughout the game including in co-op and online multiplayer games. I called my friend to see if it had happened to him but he said he’s only played a bit of it laughed at my situation and said thanks for the heads up. Atari have issued a statement saying “Thank you for giving us as much possible on the skill point issues. We are actively looking into this and are planning to address this with a patch as soon as possible. That being said, we want to make sure we fix it right the first time, so it’s not something we want to rush”. It seems like the complaining community has done all that’s in its power and its up to the developers to fix this now but with approximately 6730 15$ downloads on XBLA alone and no return policy for downloadable games I doubt it’s the top of the priority list.

With that in mind lets take a brief look at the XBLA structure. The average game costs 1200 but you can only buy Microsoft points in bundles of 1000 and 500 at the lowest and there is no way of taking a direct amount in cash for an XBLA title. Should there be a return policy for downloadable games? If this had been a boxed game id of taken it straight back for my money but as this can’t happen the developers have no immediate incentive to make sure the game is perfect on release day.

hey, this was almost real journalism as opposed to my usual ramblings.

To the friend that started this whole problem; Thanks Laws, thanks a bunch.