Here we have a fantastic addition to the 9th Dawn series with a third installment in 9th Dawn III: Shadow of Erthil with a heap of content, features and gameplay to keep you more than satisfied with this purchase. Expect a huge 2D open world, dungeon crawling experience with an exciting RPG adventure in store and vast amounts of loot for the taking around every corner while you venture around through multiple areas of the land. For someone who has never played these games, I was pleasantly surprised with all the both exciting and different elements that have been incorporated into the game by developers Valorware LTD. My only experience with dungeon crawling games has been Diablo 3 but I can safely say, this game should fill the void if you’re looking for a similar experience to grab your attention. Upgrade your equipment, choose which skills and attributes you would like to invest in, learn a range of extra professions to assist yourself and allies, create a team of creatures to follow you on your journey and find many quests from NPCs to complete at your leisure. Did I also mention that there is a well-built card game called Fyued you can get involved with? Earn, win and buy cards to build yourself a suitable deck to take on townsfolk around the map. Right, I think it’s about time to get into why this game is such a welcomed title.
What we liked!
- Plenty of content to keep you going – I honestly don’t even know where to begin with the extraordinary amount of content this game hits you with. Obviously, like most games, you start off with a short tutorial to teach you the basics of how to play the game but there is much more to contend with. Once you start accepting various quests from townsfolk, you’ll have dungeons to clear, objectives to work towards and areas to discover and explore. Be aware, when you die you will lose a chunk of XP but it’s far from the end of the world. Also, upon leaving a dungeon and reentering, everything will respawn instantly. While doing all of this, you’ll unlock new skills such as fishing, smelting, cooking etc. which come with their own small mini-game to be successful in each one and gain experience to do higher-level content. You have a couple of journals to complete at your leisure and ways to build your character which leads me onto my next point of interest.
- Play your character how you want – Choose attributes, abilities and equipment to suit your playstyle. Whether you want to be a magical, ranged player or the tanky, up close and personal kind, the choice is entirely yours. You can build and put points into different aspects that strengthen your character as you progress through the game. You have over ten equipment slots to play around with including a usual whole body loadout, jewelry, weapons and ammunition which can be changed around whenever you feel the need to. Spend attribute points in strength, dexterity, endurance, intelligence and wisdom when you level up to further assist your build and find ability coins around the world to unlock new and improved abilities, baring in mind there are over thirty to choose from which all increase in price and strength as you make your way through the game.
- Variety of quests – Feel like you’ll just be clearing waves of enemies? That is definitely far from what this game is, even if you’ll find yourself doing that the majority of the time. As you venture through the lands and find new settlements and NPCs, you’ll soon become inundated with enough quests to last you until you reach the next area. This could be related to killing a certain enemy a set number of times, bringing a particular item to said person or talking to someone in another area to progress the task. Some quests only have a few stages whereas others tend to have multiple before the quest is completed.
- Build a team to suit you – One aspect I really enjoyed and felt made the game stand out was that you can build your own little or large team of creatures to assist you on your travels. It does mean you have to put some time into crafting traps for them and successfully catching them but once you do and improve your efficiency, you’ll start growing your very own unique group of helpers which you can customize, manage and improve along the way with yourself.
- 2D Appearance and soundtrack – I wasn’t massively keen on the graphics or soundtrack of this game and felt like although it had an old school style to the game, it could have been improved to perhaps look and feel a little more modern. When I first started playing the game, it did make me chuckle to see my character in 2D when I was switching directions and admittedly, it does make the game beautiful in its own way however I was just not a huge fan of the appearance. As far as the music and sound effects of the game, I wasn’t really impressed other than the main menu music. The orchestrated music just didn’t quite grab me perhaps as much as it should have done but again, this is just my personal opinion.
- Navigation – Free roam in a rather large world is music to my ears – most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I adore this game for the amount of traveling around you have to do to unlock new areas and find secret places but one thing which I found was a slight hindrance about this game was the fast travel system. You’re probably wondering why and it’s purely because although there is one, to use them requires a decent chunk of your gold. Of course at the early stages of the game you probably won’t need to use it and even if you did, you wouldn’t be able to afford it for what it’s worth. I would hope later on in the game, this becomes a viable way of travelling vast distances otherwise you may need to prepare yourself for the long journeys ahead.
What we disliked
- Balancing could be improved – My only gripe I found was the lack of balancing throughout the game. You’ll find yourself comfortably clearing waves of enemies in one area only to progress to the next and find yourself getting absolutely slaughtered which means it can sometimes be a bit of a pain to progress. The other part which I feel could do with some rebalancing would be the taught skills. Although to level these up it just takes time and repeating the process, the percentage of success doesn’t increase much when you are which can be a little displeasing at times. Lastly, for example, you may choose you want to go down the tanky route and put points into abilities and attributes but should you find yourself in the later game not getting on with your build, you’ll have the long process of starting from scratch with another tree – light armour for example as you can’t go back on your choices once you’ve accepted them.
With the amount of content 9th Dawn III: Shadow of Erthil has to offer and the price tag, you really can’t go wrong. This is definitely a title you could sink plenty of time into and feel rewarded whilst doing so. It’s an old school version of a dungeon crawler done extremely well which I’ve definitely had fun playing through. When you die, you simply dust yourself off and get straight back into clearing waves of enemies, completing quests and upgrading various aspects of yourself and your team. A very much recommended experience from myself, especially if you need a game to sink time into and keep you occupied for days on end.
Hello, I’m Victoria. I’m from the UK and have been playing video games for as long as I can remember; back on DreamCast. I’ve pretty much fallen for Xbox since I was around eight years old and remember BioShock being my first game on the Xbox360. Although I find it thoroughly enjoyable to not only experience gameplay, I also find comfort in getting lost and engrossed in the online worlds that sometimes differ greatly from what we know. Another side of my Xbox passion would be achievement hunting and gamerscore. I thrive when I hear the little sound of one popping up on the screen and I’m always finding ways to work on my backlog when possible. Horror is my favourite genre so if you have any recommendations, don’t be afraid to send them my way!