More Reviews
REVIEWS Astro A38 Wireless Headset Review
With the launch of the A38s, Astro has clearly shown that they can rock our eardrums off even if we aren’t sitting in our living rooms.

Destiny Review
With Bungie's leap to next-generation platforms and interstellar space closer to home, I wonder if E.T. is out there somewhere.
More Previews
PREVIEWS Skylanders Trap Team Preview
While younger gamers have flocked to the brand, more mature consumers remain reluctant to jump on board. Skylanders move forward with trappable enemies, though I doubt it’ll turn stubborn heads.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
Release date: 09/30/14

Alien: Isolation
Release date: 10/07/14

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
Release date: 10/14/14

The Evil Within
Release date: 10/14/14

LATEST FEATURES Assassin's Creed Unity Interview: Ubisoft Talks Multplayer, Next-Gen Development, More
Ubisoft's first "truly" next-gen entry in the Assassin's Creed franchise takes the fight to France. Here's what you can expect.

PlayStation Download September 2014 - Updating Each Week
Sony's platforms always get plenty of new digital software and we'll bring you the list each week with the rest.
MOST POPULAR FEATURES The Updating List of PAX Indies
We're heading to PAX Prime! Are you looking to check out a few unique indie games while you're there? UPDATED: Dragon Fin Soup, Dungeon of the Endless,

Read More Member Blogs
A Letter to the Big “N"
By shandog137
Posted on 09/12/14
I have and will continue to have a place in my heart for Nintendo. In fact, my first console was a Super Nintendo. The video game market has changed drastically since the early '90s and it seems like what once was platinum is more so along the lines of silver now. Nintendo has always been...

Darkstone Review

T Contains Animated Blood and Gore, Animated Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Wow! It's Diablo in 3D!

It happens every time: just before the sequel to a great game is put onto the market, some other company puts out a clone, to reap the benefits from those gamers with little patience and lots of money. The Action/RPG game Darkstone fits quite nicely into this niche. DSI (makers of the classic Flashback) released this game to help Diablo fans holdout until the long awaited Diablo 2 is released. Unfortunately, the game they released is an unpolished 3D shadow of the original.

Normally, I don't like comparing two games directly, but the format of Darkstone leaves me no choice. The game uses the same basic game structure, the same isometric view of the action (except in 3D), the same grid-based inventory system, the same health/mana system, the same random dungeon generation, the same magic casting system, many of the same spells (with different names, of course), and even similar pictures of the items you collect. With this many similarities, it's amazing that they didn't call it Diablostone.

The plot goes like this: some really evil monk gets the power to turn into a dragon and destroy the world. You, as the main character, must find several crystals, form the time orb, and then kill the monk. Sounds like the standard, last-minute excuse to hack and slash all sorts of monsters.

First, for the good stuff: the game is based off of Diablo, which was a great game, and thus the underlying idea is pretty good. Being able to control two characters at the same time is fun, though occasionally confusing. The control is fairly good, as is the sound. Be forewarned that the voice acting is horrible, however. There are a few new RPGish characteristics, like the requirement of eating food to keep your health up, which does add a little complexity. Though, why does your character need to eat, but never needs to sleep?

The biggest change from Diablo is the full 3D rendering of everything in the world. All the characters in the game look very polygonal and angled. Though not as smooth looking as many other games, I must say that the enemies are occasionally well done. Unfortunately, despite the fact that this game requires a 3D Graphics card, they still cut corners - the leaves on the trees look very pixilated, and various objects in the game look downright unfinished.

Another problem is the treatment of the camera. Whenever your character is blocked by something, the object turns transparent, which is a real neat trick. However, the camera still can get stuck in buildings, ruining the effect. The ability to rotate and zoom the camera is useful to fix this, but it's still awkward to have to stop, push the appropriate arrow keys to fix the view, and then continue on your way. While there is a follow-type camera view, it can feel awkward for gamers used to a fixed view.

The 3D format of Darkstone also messes up some elements of the dungeon game. In Diablo, it was exceedingly easy to find objects strewn on the ground, because it created a glowing outline around the sprite when you moved your mouse over it. Now, because of the 3D treatment of this game, they couldn't do that. Instead, they made selectable objects glow red. This is all well and good, but red doesn't stand out against the black of the dungeon, and you can't see the glow if it's hidden behind your character, a desk, or any other object in the game. This makes it really hard to pick up treasure you free from various barrels and treasure chests. (Hmmm, barrels and treasure chests. That sounds familiar...)

Darkstone also suffers from a few petty annoyances. For example, the font they use for small in-game text is horrible. It's barely legible, requiring you to read over it several times before you understand it. This problem is compounded by the fact that all the information in the character creation screen is in that font. The game's website does have a a fix for it, but that fix causes the map to get screwed up. Like I said, it seems unfinished.

Graphics aside, the gameplay doesn't really match up to Diablo. Although, on the average, it plays adequately, there are lots of little things that detract from the game. For example, treasure sometimes appears outside of the room you opened the chest in, when its dark you can barely see any of the screen, the mouse pointer is fairly inaccurate, and the AI for the other characters in your party is pretty stupid. With friends like these, who needs enemies . . .

Although not a complete waste of time, Darkstone is an unimaginative marketing ploy to ride on the coattails of Diablo. If you don't own Diablo, buy that instead. If you have both Diablo and patience, wait and see what Diablo 2 looks like. However, if you're one heck of a Diablo junkie, who can't stand another minute without some sort of fix, than this is the game for you.

C Revolution report card
  • The elements taken from Diablo are good
  • Some interesting RPG elements
  • Blatant rip off of Diablo
  • 3D Graphics hinder gameplay
  • Obvious shortcuts in design
  • Gameplay has many quirks
    Reviews by other members
    No member reviews for the game.

More from the Game Revolution Network

comments powered by Disqus


More information about Darkstone

More On GameRevolution