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June 20, 2007
Dreamlords Review - A Hidden Gem
 

By G. Lance Brazell AKA -Avalon-

Hidden somewhere, deep inside the internet, are loads of games that most people will never hear about. Dreamlords, from Lockpick Entertainment, happens to be one of those games, and unusually enough, it is a game very much worth mentioning. It features a ton of content that I think would appeal to a specific niche in the gaming community. This group is the same one that made such games as Risk and Civilization so famous.

The first most important part is getting started, and I was a bit depressed on my starting off, as it required a little bit of the subscription process and downloading a decent sized client. But, after that was done, and the game was patched, I began the tutorial. Now, normally I despise tutorials, but this one actually kept me interested for the majority of the process. I learned things like how to perform basic movement and attacks, as well as use my special powers and all of that. The intro also teaches the player how to build, maintain, conquer, and populate cities and the nearby lands. While doing this, the player must have both the browser-client and the game-client open, and alt-tab between the two. The browser-client operates the basic management tool, while the game-client operates the combat and questing side of the game.

Creating your avatar, or Patria, is a fairly short process. You can choose between the three races: Thul, Nihilim, and The Covenant. The Thul are a warlike yeti race who are easy to manage and very combat oriented, but do not do well with strategies. The Nihilim are mysterious elven people who can utilize strategy to its utmost, but are very weak combatants. The Covenant (the one I chose to play through the tutorial with) are basically a very human race that faithfully follows their scripture and beliefs, they are not extremely strong, nor are they weak. They can use strategies and adapt fairly well, but the best part is, they can learn to use healing and can even resurrect their fallen comrades. After picking the race and selecting the tutorial option, the first step begins…

The first step in the tutorial is The Awakening. Your Dreamlord Patria wakes up in a strange but familiar place near a keep. The soldiers nearby inform you that you have been awoken to reclaim the land from the enemies who have taken over. So, float over to an obelisk, read it, and go inside to slaughter the poor saps that have made themselves your enemies.

Next, learn some more about the browser-client management tool and it is back to the game-client to kill some more things. In the mission Recognition, your soldiers patrol the keep killing enemy soldiers and are told that there is a terrible beast lurking outside the walls, go kill it! Take the soldiers outside, wander around a bit, and lo and behold, the nasty evil beastie turns out to be a big wasp. Destroy it and return inside to complete.

The tutorial takes a turn here and spends a great deal of time teaching how to wander the land building cities, claiming treasures, and equipping your army. Some of the encounters are just wandering monsters; some are special events that reward the player in special ways, like gaining a new attack or a new cool item that will upgrade your units.

The building of cities is a neat part of the game. There are founder units, which can build cities, but are unarmed and die instantly if moved next to enemies. Population units can be spawned from cities and moved to other cities to gain, yep you guessed it, population. Population in return allows the player to build more buildings.

Soulshards are the currency of the game, but it serves a dual purpose. They are the currency with which players buy buildings, but also the currency which allows you to use your powers, by turning them into gnosis. These abilities are the most powerful in the game, and can easily turn the tide of battles.

The combats in the game involve decent amounts of units at the least, battling against one or multiple foes. Special abilities can be learned through different items won by completing missions and defeating various foes. The abilities seem to be well-balanced and are actually very helpful, not just cosmetic trinkets or door-prizes for winning. Fighting is accomplished in a timely manner, and the missions are pretty quick too. The only gripe I have is that when the mission is completed, the game does not give the player anywhere near enough time to read the surprisingly interesting dialogue. If you are going to have dialogue that is worth reading, as this game does, give us time to see it!

Graphically, Dreamlords does not wow or let us down. The looks and feel of the game are sufficiently dreamy and gothic, but they are not so awe-inspiring as to detract from the game, nor do they cause a huge requirement on the player's computer. The music truly captures the gothic feel, and the sound effects are well mixed. Imagine the tiny clangs of sword-on-sword fighting, and the rain pouring down into a muddy battlefield, while battle cries are barely heard amidst the ruckus.

The bad part of this game is really the dual-client style, the awkward controls, and the fact that pages sometimes take awhile to load. This causes a little bit of lag to creep up and lock you where you are in the browser-client for a few minutes. With a little patience, though, the player will get to the end of the tutorial (which has 99 steps by the way). Along the way having picked up much needed knowledge for the game, as well as some nifty items, special abilities, and a civilization on its way to taking over the game.

Pros:

  • Great In-Depth Tutorial
  • Combo PVP/Army/Civilization style game
  • Very Few Bugs

Cons:

  • Only 3 Races
  • Camera Angles and Movement can be awkward
  • Having to Alt-Tab Constantly

Low Down:

  • Well-Designed Army PVP with built-in PVE
  • $11.99 per month subscription fee
  • Moderate System Req's

Game Play 8
Stability 9
Interface 6
Community N/A
Graphics/Sound 9
Reviewer's Tilt 8

Total 8

 
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