By: Matthew Striplen
Although Doom & Destiny Advanced touts itself as an “advanced” version of the first game, don’t let that fool you. D&DA bares many similarities to its predecessor, but it is an original game, complete with a brand new adventure.
D&DA controls identically to its predecessor. There isn’t much that requires a precise control scheme, but the layout is nonetheless simple and easy to use. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
This second entry into the series sports all new character portraits, which take a decidedly different approach than the original. While the first game tried to make the characters look as stereotypically normal as possible, D&DA opts for a more caricature-esque look.
Much of D&D‘s charm stems from the fact that the characters feel real and relatable, though nerdy as all get out. The new designs do the game a disservice by removing an element of realism and substituting it for something more cartoonish.
D&DA‘s sound design is pretty much the same as the original. There are a few new tracks, but nothing to write home about. The original D&D suffered from poor sound quality, and unfortunately, the same caliber MIDI files are used again. Be prepared for much more cacophonous belching than in the original.
Although D&DA features a new story, the gameplay remains largely unchanged as players explore sprawling dungeons filled with random battles. There are a few tweaks to the class system. Players can change their class by consulting giant floating crystals. Classes can also be upgraded by spending points at these locations.
D&DA starts out very differently than its predecessor. Instead of providing context for the story, the game drops players directly into a tutorial, which takes the form of your party trying to escape from a burning building. This tutorial shoves a ton of information down the player’s throat, making it difficult to absorb.
Although the mechanics are not particularly complex for an RPG, their presentation makes it seem overwhelming. The most troubling issue is that the mass of information thrust at the player is not immediately utilized, making players likely to forget functions that become crucial later in the game.
Once the tutorial is finished, the true story begins, which bears a striking similarity to the original, but with key components conspicuously out of place. You and your buddies all meet up to play games together, when suddenly things go horribly wrong. Dimensions clash together as the familiar begins to blend with the fantastical.
This is pretty much the same as the first game, but suddenly a new adversary appears. Without giving too much of the plot away, he robs you and your friends of your bodies, and you are forced to assume a new form. The plot from here on out is largely unrelated to the original.
Most of what made the first D&D special was its clever writing, which targeted and parodied nerd culture. Unfortunately, D&DA fails to recapture the same magic, as the references that once felt organic and natural now feel contrived. Although the first game was certainly no stranger to toilet humor, D&DA relies heavily upon it, and its implementation is less clever.
As I said in my review of the first game, an RPG needs two things to be successful: a good story and a good combat system. Doom & Destiny Advanced possesses an identical battle system to its predecessor, but it adds little to keep series fans engaged. Although its additions are welcome, they come with the sacrifice of too many qualities, notably humor, that made the first game so charming.