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iPhone App Video Review: Dungeon Hunter 3

by Andrew Koziara

Dungeon Hunter 3 is the latest entry in Gameloft's dungeon crawling action RPG series, except it's abandoned all dungeon crawling and story and replaced it with freemium arena fighting. Yes, this game continues Gameloft's recent fascination with the freemium price model, and it's a real shame.

While it makes use of the same basic controls and gameplay, it's not even a real sequel. It's still fairly well done and worth a look, though. As I said, all the story elements and characters have been dropped like a sack of potatoes. Rather than take on dungeons and collect sweet loot as the adventure unfolds, you'll now hit up arena after arena, taking on waves of baddies with no ties to any plot. But is the game still fun to play? For the most part, yes. It controls very much the same, with virtual stick movement, a main attack button, various abilities, and a spell-casting faerie that follows you around. There are four very different classes to choose from that wield two weapons each. The gameplay is much less "Action RPG" and much more "Hack and Slash." It's basically "Dungeon-Hunter Gun Bros."

As you complete battles, you'll be rewarded with experience and gold. Each battle comes with three optional objectives that, when completed, give you a nice gold and experience boost, though they are often very hard to pull off. The only purpose leveling serves is to unlock new equipment and abilities, but the pricing of said equipment is always too high to afford. Gold is also used to upgrade your weapons and buy potions, although even if you pony up the dough, the upgrades take a certain amount of time to complete. The first batch of items take 30 minutes, while the third takes over four hours, and it can only get worse from there. You'll also get to spend Gems instead of coins, except gems can't even be earned naturally through gameplay as far as I can tell. Gems are used to speed up the upgrade process, and to purchase keys, among various other things. Keys are used to unlock chests with even more bonus experience and gold after each battle. Once you run out of keys, you'll quickly notice just how paltry the regular rewards really are. Of course, Gems and Gold can be purchased in-app. Doing so makes the game hilariously easy though, even with the cheapest purchases. I'm sure the difficulty curve catches up eventually, but why bother at that point?

The graphics are the best of the "series" thus far, which is probably thanks to the more confined environments. The production values are as high quality as ever. Combat feels satisfying, though there's no practical way to evade attacks, forcing you to spend even more money on potions. The game is fun, but ultimately very shallow and not really worth it. This is another great potential game ruined by the freemium model, in my opinion anyway, and I'd much rather pay for the first two games in the franchise. This game will still keep you entertained for a good while. I just wish they called it something other than "Dungeon Hunter," really. It's iOS Universal and free, so give it a download if you must.

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