Sunday, November 16, 2014

My 100 Most Favorite Video Games of All Time #90: Dungeons and Dragons Tactics

‘Tis true, warrior.  Back in the day I was an Advanced Dungeons and Dragons player.  With that in mind, it may come as a surprise that I enjoy the PSP’s Dungeons andDragons Tactics.  A surprise to those who have played it, at least.  It was, by most accounts, not a popular video game.

The game has issues.  A cumbersome menu system and an irritating camera are just two of its problems.  My biggest gripe, however, is that it takes everything that is fun in the role playing game and jettisons most of it.  No more random encounters.  No multi-classes.  In doing so, it turned the game into nothing more than a tactical battle, which is truth in advertising, I guess.  So why did I like it so much?

It’s simple.  The game came out worldwide in 2007, and I was no longer part of that crowd which enjoyed the paper-based role playing game.  When I saw this game, though, I bought it hoping it would somewhat measure up to what I grew up playing.  I knew it couldn’t replace it, but I had hopes.  It didn’t quite satisfy me, but I could recognize the skeleton of the game I once enjoyed, even if it was using a rules system that had changed since my days of being behind the DM screen.  The spells, character classes (for the most part) and monsters, however, were intact and remained fairly true to the original game.  What its manufacturer, Atari, presented was good enough that I could overlook the flaws and enjoy the game for what it was, memories be damned.

Nostalgia is a dangerous thing.  It’s hard to return to the past, as you journey there a changed person.  I kept that in mind when I made this purchase.  I knew it wouldn’t live up to those 27 hour marathon sessions with graph paper, dice, soda, Pop Tarts, stacks of manuals and lots of cursing.  I was hoping, however, that it could capture just a bit of that magic … and it did.  It may be awkward and flawed, but it tries to be a good game, and in many ways succeeds. 

Note: Seven years later I still haven’t finished it…