Dungeon Hunter 4: The latest action-packed RPG in the series
Gameloft has taken the wraps off of the fourth iteration in its Dungeon Hunter franchise, and it doesn't disappoint as a worthy successor to the first three. The franchise is a top-down hack-and-slash game, but just leaving the description at that sells it a little short. There's also an extremely expansive RPG component to the game, with character management, skills, upgradable weapons, item crafting, quests and so much more.
The depth of content available in games on mobile platforms is baffling, and the experience provided in Dungeon Hunter 4 is a great example of this. Hang with us after the break and learn more about what Dungeon Hunter 4 has to offer.
Dungeon Hunter 4 is set in a mythical land of sorcery, demons and over the top battles for entire regions of the fictional world. You start out the game with a nice cinematic introduction to give you a nice primer of the storyline, which is important for an RPG that you'll be spending lots of time in. You then select one of four classes -- Battleworn, Blademaster, Warmage or Sentinel -- as well as their gender and name. You can run multiple characters at once, going in different directions with each if you prefer. In typical RPG fashion, your character starts at level 1 with a minimal set of gear and stats.
Another nice cinematic cut scene leads you into your first level where you're instantly thrown into some action. Battling your way through some easy to defeat demons, you're given nice tutorials every time a new thing happens in the game. For example when you receive a new spell, you're guided into your character pane to enable the spell and drag it into the action bar. When you pick up a new piece of gear, you're again given steps to equip and upgrade it and sell the old item you're no longer using. Along the way you're also greeted by allies, which help lead you through the storyline with dialogue and cut scenes.
The main control scheme in Dungeon Hunter 4 is what you'd expect for this type of game. You get a single joystick on the left, along with a main attack button on the right and special ability and spell buttons around both. Across the top of the screen you have a character pane on the left showing your picture, health, mana and level, as well as a mini map on the right. Because you have no control over the camera angle in the game (with just one joystick), the map becomes extremely important to getting your bearings as you move along through levels. You get green and red dots to show allies and enemies around you, as well as indicators of loot to be picked up and waypoints for upcoming objectives. It takes a couple of levels to be completely acquainted with the controls -- and much longer to understand every function of the game -- but the hand-holding is almost necessary and we're glad it's there.
After your brief introductory period to the game, you're let off on your own to start killing the demons and protecting your allies in the search to complete your objectives. The gameplay is good -- scratch that, great -- and appropriately keeps in mind the limitations of controls on a mobile device. You are never expected to make precise attacks or individually target certain enemies, which helps keep the game moving. That's not to say that Dungeon Hunter 4 is simple, it can get quite difficult, but it is just appropriately designed keeping in mind touchscreen controls. There are still important decisions to be made about which spell to use at what time, and where to move on through the level next.
The graphics, sounds and voice acting are quite high quality for mobile devices as well, which help along the storyline and keep you feeling like you're progressing through the game. As we said, this feels like a complete RPG experience due to the depth of content available. Aside from the great single player experience, Dungeon Hunter 4 also includes multiplayer co-op and PVP both online and on local networks, right from the main menu. This gives pretty extensive replay value to the game, even if you happen to get through the single player storyline.
Being a free game with no ads, there is of course an in-app purchase situation at play here. In order to make some item purchases in the game and speed up the progress of upgrading and crafting items, gems must be used. As you progress through the game you come across gems naturally but at some point you will be faced with a situation where you would really like to have more than you do -- and this is where the store comes in. Buying bundles of 200 to 15,100 gems will set you back anywhere from $1.99 to $99.99 in-game (you get bonus gems when you purchase large amounts). Like it or not, this is the way many mobile games are going. While it may not be an issue for most playing exclusively in single player mode, it may rub some multiplayer enthusiasts the wrong way.
But there's no reason to let the in-app purchases have you down on this game in any way. Dungeon Hunter 4 provides an excellent gaming experience -- even on a phone-sized display -- that you can get hours upon hours of gameplay out of. Gameloft has made a more than worthy successor to the previous three Dungeon Hunter titles this time around, and has done it in a free-to-play model that exposes it to as many players as possible.
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Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.
1) The game is extremely buggy and the customer support seems to be non-existent. There are a lot of complaints in the app store. I heard a lot of people complaining about the co-op bug (where if you try to join a co-op match, your character's stats bug to really low damage and health such that you will die in one hit). I kept thinking to myself that co-op is fun and I haven't had a problem with the bug, so I am in good shape. Then (I can't figure out how or why), I got the bug. Now I can't play co-op anymore because I die in one hit on co-op play. So I have had to ignore the friends I made for the past two months. Gameloft is aware of this bug, yet they have done nothing to fix it in months!
2) Even though I haven't spent a dime, I have perused the shop on many occasions, and everything is insanely expensive. Even low tier weapons cost a ridiculous amount of gems- you are going to pay about $5 for even the cheapest gear, which is absolutely ridiculous (and the gear becomes outdated once you level up). The most annoying part to me is that you can't reset the skill points you have used without paying gems, and the game doesn't let you know this early on so if you invest all your skill points into your early level skills, your character is weak later on unless you spend $5-10 resetting your skill points. Also, each time you purchase extra inventory slots, the cost goes up (i.e. 40 gems for the first 2, 50 gems for the second 2, 60 for the third, and so on....). I have used free gems to get my inventory up to 30, but now I can't justify spending 80 gems to up it 2 more slots. Even reviving your character one time, which is pretty much pointless in this game, costs 50 gems (50 cents to revive your character once- you have got to be kidding me). 3) Crafting in this game is a good concept, but the way they have it set up, crafting is useless once you hit level 30+. I have 30 something voidstones sitting around because the best weapon you can craft does significantly less damage than weapons you can buy for gold in the shop. Crafting is good early on, but by the time you grind enough (and trust me you will grind a lot to save enough) to transmute and save enough voidstones to make the voidstone set pieces, your level is high enough to where the voidstone pieces have crappy stats and you are better off buying stuff from the shop. They seriously need to revamp crafting in this game. 4) Combining high level charms (level 6+) and upgrading high tier weapons takes forever! I should not have to wait 4+ hours for a weapon to upgrade or for a charm to combine (that is, unless you want to shell out moula), especially since we already have a limited inventory space. Want to take a charm out of your armor? Well, that'll take another 4 hours. Literally, it can take an entire day to take a charm out of your armor, combine it with another charm, and then add the charm to another piece. This wouldn't be so bad if you had decent inventory space. 5) If you haven't been able to tell already, the game is nothing but a cash grab. No you don't HAVE to pay a dime. However, things are a lot more grindy and a lot less fun this way. 6) PvP (player vs player) is absolutely pathetic. I don't play this for PvP, but have tried it a few times. There is always the one guy in there who is 20 levels below you, but has spent $10 or $15 real money purchasing the most powerful items, who will then proceed to wipe the floor with you. Or perhaps this was because my character was bugged and my health was at 200. Either way, it stinks. In summation, I still play about once every 3 days or so for a couple of hours, but it has gotten old, especially since I can't play with other people because of the bug. If I didn't already have so much time invested, I would probably just delete the game from my ipad. It is ok on the fun scale, but leaves a lot to be desired, and don't expect any customer service, even if you do spend real money on the game buying gems.