Dungeon Hunter 4 Hands-On Preview

Lots of great game series fizzle out after a few too many sequels, but some just go off the rails entirely due to a mistake in judgement on the part of the developers. Just look at EA’s recent SimCity launch on PC for a great example of how to disappoint your game’s fan base. Last year, Gameloft plunged a little too quickly into freemium monetization with Dungeon Hunter 3, a game that took a big step away from what made the series great: epic exploration and storytelling. Dungeon Hunter 4, available in April, brings back the plot-driven exploration, but also keeps the freemium model.

Gameloft is betting that what fans didn’t like about Dungeon Hunter 3 wasn’t that it was free-to-download, but that the storyline and plot were missing. This to us seems like a pretty decent bet. Although hardcore gamers tend to dislike freemium gaming’s optional payments (like for health potions) and annoying countdown timers (for armor and weapon upgrades), free games often have far more total downloads, and can generate a lot more revenue from certain players.

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These are players who are too impatient to wait for upgrades, or are desperate not to lose a tough boss fight. Like in recent freemium action games from Gameloft such as Six-Guns, you’ll slowly earn premium currency just by leveling up, or you can pay for a bundle of gems to power-level through parts of the game. You can even pay gems to unlock more character slots– only two are available for free, but there are four character types (warrior, blademaster, battle mage, and scout), and some players will want to try them all.

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For anyone who still enjoyed Dungeon Hunter 3′s arena battles, those have returned in Dungeon Hunter 4, but they are not as big of a focus. You’ll still be able to pick fights in PVP arenas, or fight cooperatively online against enemy attacks. But most of the 29 environments, which actually include dungeons again, will be in service of the game’s storyline.

The storyline doesn’t stand out as being very memorable, from our brief time with an early version of the game. The kingdom of Valenthia is being ravaged by demons, and you’re the unlikely hero who has to fight them off. You can choose a male or female version of each of the four character types, and the battle mage and scout actually use ranged attacks, which turns the game into a kind of twin-stick shooter. If you choose the warrior or blademaster, you’ll have to use a regular action button to swing your sword.

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We think that Dungeon Hunter 4 will give some fans what they want, while still disappointing others. If you’re looking for a lengthy RPG storyline, deep character customization, and cutting-edge graphics, you’ll probably be thrilled to get it all for free. However, if you resent paying or waiting for potions, gear upgrades, or character slots, you probably won’t be happy. Gameloft is fully committed to freemium gaming on iOS, so our take is that instead of dismissing it without giving it a try, reviewers and gamers should tell Gameloft exactly which freemium features they consider unacceptable.

19 thoughts on “Dungeon Hunter 4 Hands-On Preview

  1. I reject your reality and subsitute my own.
    This may get more downloads but it’ll kill immersion. I like being in a game world that is near seamless. Iaps and waiting for potions and upgrades break that immersion. IAPs also break balance way too easily.

  2. Disappointed. I’m one of the gamers who thinks freemium is just a painfully pathetic, greedy move to bleed kids of all their money. Looks like I’m done with this series.

  3. I still don’t like this fremium junk. Make the game $1.99 and totally playable without IAP’s… but add in IAP’s for people that want all of the best stuff, or stuff that you can’t get without IAP’s, extra characters, gold, gems, upgrades, and/or whatever.

    I keep going back to it, but — Infinity Blade is the best example of a good use of IAP’s. Yes, the game is totally playable without IAP’s, but they almost feel justified if you are trying to craft something on the fly, or need just a bit more cash for that sword you want, or WHATEVER! The IAP’s in that game feel a bit more welcome because the player becomes so invested in the game that a few extra dollars almost seem warranted – not to mention, the game itself costs very little.

    I did not download DH3, and it looks like I will not be downloading DH4.

    tim

    ps: the complete oppisite is possible as well – look at Square Enix. They are charging an exuberant amount of money for games that we have all played multiple times.

    I would pay $15.00 for a completely remastered FF6 that has bee rebuilt from the ground up to fit on a touch device. But I am not going to be paying $15-$20 for a quick hack-job of a port that has clunky controls and offers no new content.

    I would also pay for a remastered or even ported FF7, 8, 9, 10… but definitely not 5 or below.

  4. I remember 5 years ago when people made fun of ios gaming. Now it’s THE best platform for handheld gaming. Android, 3DS, and the Vita all take a back seat to the awesome game library on ios.

    • lol in what world do you live in? There are more games for ios but htey are NOT higher quality than on the 3DS or the vita. I say that as an ios gamer. You are crazy and misinformed. Do you own a 3DS or Vita or are you talking out of your ass?

    • lol in what world do you live in? There are more games for ios but htey are NOT higher quality than on the 3DS or the vita. I say that as an ios gamer. You are crazy and misinformed. Do you own a 3DS or Vita or are you talking out of your butt?

      • It’s funny when someone says their opinion is more right than someone else’s opinion, especially on matters of taste. I’m not saying either of you are wrong, but all 3 platforms have high quality games.

        • Well. I would say his opinion isn’t wrong per say, but he is. Just because it seems as though he doesn’t own a 3DS or a Vita and hasn’t played either platform’s games. So his opinion is unfounded. And that’s talking out of your ass which automatically makes you wrong in my book. I own three of the four systems he was talking about and I think they all have quality games. My vote is for the 3DS then Vita then ios, but that is just me. That’s not the right opinion. But it is one based upon my personal experience. Not me just saying things from a place of ignorance.

          • He hasn’t said what he owns or doesn’t. Which makes you sound foolish to make assumptions about a person you don’t know anything about. If you’re vote is for 3DS, that’s perfectly fine, but that still doesn’t make the other person’s opinion wrong, simply because there is no accounting for taste. The fact is, everyone has different tastes.

            My favorite color is green, but if you have a favorite color different than mine, does make you wrong or mean you are “talking out your butt?” No. All it means is that you have a different opinion than mine. Neither of us are wrong for liking different things.

          • Opinions when you share them are automatically up for debate especially when you say something inflammatory like dumbass I responded to. I’m not wrong or foolish in offering my opinion as being what I think is right. In the world you live in debates wouldn’t be a thing. And that’s truly foolish. Right I don’t know much about that person, but it did sound like he was talking out his ass so I called him on it.

            Colors are completely different, asshat. That’s something completely subjective and while liking games is also subjective high quality isn’t. You can look at budget, rating, length, polish ect. Don’t compare apples to oranges. This isn’t a culturally relativistic society. Some people’s opinions are more right than others. TBH. get mad.

          • The color example is an analogy. It’s meant to put things into perspective, but requires a bit of intellegence on your part to see the relationship between them. I can see now that probably wasn’t the best approach to illustrate my point, since even the most obvious topics seem to escape you.

            Quality is determined by time and effort, and has nothing or little to do with budget, ratings or length. It’s also subjective, just like everything else you have an “opinion” on. A example of that is your favorite color. That’s why I used that as an example. If an opinion wasn’t subjective, it would be fact, and therefor NOT an opinion. Did I lose you there? Think about that for a while.

            Never mind, you probably won’t get it. You seem to think an opinion is right or wrong based on how it compares to your opinion, which is a whole lot of stupid to begin with. I was wrong to think you were intelligent enough to reason with. Good luck to you, little Nichole Hunter. Life is hard. It’s even harder for stupid people.

          • you misspelled my name, when it’s right in front of you, yeah I’m the dumb one. Secondly Opinions can be right and wrong. You’re retarded. Go ahead and go through life thinking that your opinion is on par with everyone else’s even if the majority of people think you are wrong. That’s a healthy relationship with the world for sure. Retard.

          • How your name is spelled isn’t important to me. Your response proves an earlier point I made. You’re just not smart enough to understand it. Since you don’t have anything of real value to say, there’s no reason to continue this conversation. Good luck to you, Nicole Hunther. You’ll be needing it.

  5. The Freemium model is so shitty for gamers 90% of the times… But unfortunately Gameloft (in this case) and many others won’t take note of our opinion.

    • They do want your opinion. The reason they added quests and exploration (you know, dungeon hunting) back in the game is because of fan response to DH3. If you want the next game to be different, or better, you have to tell them exactly what you’re looking for. They’ll respond to that.

  6. Guys don’t be disappointed of Gameloft’s freemium-pay-to-win games. As long as its hackable, there should be no worries :) I mean thats the good thing with IAPs. I prefer to grind with a premium game. I prefer to hack with a freemium-pay-to-win. Alls good.

  7. I’m played out of this freemium stuff. I think it’s slimy to build a game around taking advantage of people and their pocket books. Game studios are getting far to efficient at separating fools from their money.

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