While it has a ‘3’ in its name, Dungeon Hunter 3 has almost no relation to its predecessors. While the first and second Dungeon Hunter games had lengthy stories and loot-driven dungeon crawling, this iteration scraps everything that made those games click in exchange for a wave-based arena hack-‘n-slash. It’s unfortunate, as the grinding nature of the new formula mixes with a freemium model that makes it incredibly tough to progress without spending money. This game isn’t worthy of the Dungeon Hunter name.
When you first start Dungeon Hunter 3, the game appears to offer quite a lot for free. Leveling is quick, you have sufficient gold to purchase the base set of armor, and smashing through enemies is easy and enjoyable. This continues until you blow through the 10 keys you are supplied with from the get-go, each of which allows you to unlock the spoils and experience you earn upon completing an arena match.
Where’s the flyswatter?
After that, you can either pay for more keys or settle for the dribble of income collected from slain foes, until your next free key arrives a half-hour later. Before long, your character will be severely under-geared, and unlocked powers will be too expensive to purchase, causing progression to slow to an unsatisfying pace unless you open your wallet. This approach to progression design directly contradicts what made the previous Dungeon Hunter games so successful.
The twist is that you likely won’t care, since fighting waves of enemies by smashing the attack button only stays entertaining for so long. Each of the game’s arenas follows the same formula: down wave after wave of weak baddies until you reach the severely overpowered boss, during which you’ll almost definitely need to use at least one health potion (purchased with gold that could be better spent on gear). One reason bosses are so difficult is that there’s no way to dodge enemy attacks. It’s a grind with little gain in the end.
I see your stats are as big as mine.
Online multiplayer was a major step forward for the series in Dungeon Hunter 2, so it’s beyond us why Gameloft decided not to include multiplayer in this three-quel at launch. Mowing down wave after wave with other players would be a natural fit for this game. In fact, it would seem easier to balance co-op arenas than full-blown dungeons filled with loot and quests. However, Gameloft has announced that they are planning to add multiplayer in a future update.
It is worth noting that there’s a ton of gear and skills available in the game for each of the four playable classes. Much of it is rendered moot due to the amount of time needed to unlock it, but we commend Gameloft for the effort. We can only imagine how great this surplus would be if it were implemented into a dungeon crawler setting.
Dungeon Hunter 3 is free, although your time would be much better spent on the previous two games in the series. This only goes to show that Gameloft’s current take on the freemium pay model goes against the very nature of the premium console experiences they strive to emulate.