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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: XSEED Games
Developed by: Global A Entertainment
Genre: RPG Simulation
Players: 1
Rated: E10 (Everyone 10 and Up)
Release Date: June 19, 2007
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

When you look at the typical RPG title, you canít help but notice that they all start in a similar fashion. Thereís a boy with issues thatís called upon by higher powers in order to save the world, thus a new hero is born. This universal storyline is widely accepted as a way of life, and can be seen in titles like Legend of Zelda, Tales of Symphonia, and even the likes of Dragon Quest. But then every generation you have a title that breaks the mold, trying to difference itself from the pack. This time is upon us with Dungeon Maker: Hunting Grounds for the Sony Playstation Portable. Now the questions are, does this title capture the audience? or does it fall to the side?

The premise of Dungeon Maker: Hunting Ground is that you are a young, adventurous man looking to strike it big within the world. You acquire an abandon dungeon in the hopes of fixing it up to attract some of the most dangerous monsters alive. To get your future started, several people within a small town will send you on various quests in order to acquire various goods, including building blocks, in order to help build your sprawling maze and make your dungeon more complex and interesting.

When it comes to time developing your dungeon, you are only limited to your creative imagination. You can branch out in any direction and place your hallways and dungeons any place you feel like. Another nice feature is that everytime you enter the dungeon, itís never the same twice. One day you could battle against hoards of goblins, while other days it could by several bats. This element adds to replay-ability of this title, keeping the action unique and invigorating.

As your dungeon gets bigger, youíll notice that thereís always a nice supply of enemies to kill and loot to collect. In order to acquire bigger and better loot, my best advice is to change the theme of the various rooms within your dungeon, allowing darker and dank creatures to show up. You can also install treasure rooms that have chests, which provide valuable items for your character.

Another feature that you can take to the max is the character customization. You can customize your characterís hat, armor, legs, boots, rings, etc. The further you progress with your character, the wider the diversity of you character will become. The traditional leveling system has also been tossed out the game, in favor or a unique system for increasing your basic stats. The game only allows you to enter your personal dungeon only once a day. Once you leave the dungeon, you can talk to various townspeople and take part in some quests until its time to go back into the dungeon. Right before going to sleep, youíll be able to eat one meal, which will increase your basic stats. The more diverse your recipes, the more diverse you stats will become.

Looking at a long line of visual impressive titles on the Playstation Portable, Iím sorry to say that Dungeon Maker isnít one of them. Itís not a horrible looking game, but itís not that impressive either. The overall look is very bland, though there are a few enhancements here and there. The character models, including the monster, are detailed in their look, but donít really stand out within this so-so looking title. Surprising enough, the smaller looking monsters come across more stylized and vivid when compared to the larger ones.

In regards to the musical score, itís not the best, but it definitely fits the theme and various moods of the title. When you are talking to the townspeople, you have some harpsichord tunes playing in the background to compliment the situation. In regards to the replay value, some may argue that XSeed should have included a multiplayer mode, but after playing this game for several hours, you will realize that thereís no need for such a mode. You can easily replay your own dungeon over and over, or tweak a few things here and there, creating a whole new experience every time. This is added to the 30+ hours of gameplay included within the game.

Though Dungeon Maker isnít the premiere title everyone wanted it to be, this is just the beginning of what could be a series of creative titles. Some features could be fleshed out a bit more like the depth of the assigned quests, and other features could be added to create a more immersive title like a multiplayer mode, allowing gamers to do team battles within a given map offline and even online. Though this title has one too many flaws, this is a definite must have for gamers looking for an original RPG with great promise.


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