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Game Review #230: Dragon Marked for Death

Reviewer: Frank Wood


Publisher: Nighthawk Interactive

Category: Action, RPG, Platforming

Release Date: 01.31.2019

Price (at time of review): 49.99 (physical) | $14.99 (Digital - Base, with DLCs extra)

Buy Dragon Marked for Death from the Nintendo eShop here.

Buy Dragon Marked for Death from Amazon here.

A Name Known For Quality

Dragon Marked for Death is an ambitious co-op action platformer made by some of the best in the biz, Inti Creates! They have a long list of games they have made that I absolutely loved, and this game certainly built up the hype for me! I was watching trailers and was super pumped for it, I told myself I would wait for the recently released physical version to get it, but a few days after release in February I cracked and bought one of the character packs for $14.99 which had 2 of the 4 characters and that was the moment they got me. Later that night I downloaded the other 2 characters and started experimenting and playing more and more and man, was I hooked. Let's get a little bit more into what this game has going on!

Avenge Your People, and Save the Oracle!

You play as the survivors of the Dragonblood clan, an exiled group of people who were hunted down and killed by the kingdom, and had the oracle of their people taken. They forge a pact with the Astral Dragon Atruum, turning the 4 people into warriors who became one with powerful dragons and engaged in a quest to strike back at the kingdom and save their oracle! This game looks GORGEOUS! It comes from the team who brought us art from the likes of Mega Man Zero and man does it show - the pixel art is beautiful and any drawn scene just pops right off the screen with the visual style they are known for. They have succeeded in making a very visually interesting world that makes you inherently want to know more about it and see more of it. So begin your journey, battle through your first quest, and make your way to the pub with me, so we can undertake some more quests!

The Dragonblood Clan

The gameplay consists of high-difficulty action-platforming, mixed with almost MMO-esque party roles for each of the character classes. The Empress normal attacks can stop enemies in their tracks, while capitalizing on big opportunities for HUGE damage, but suffers from a lack of variety in her attacks. Simple, but highly effective, she is the definitive front line fighter of the bunch. Not far behind her is the Warrior, a beefy guy clad in blue who can tank attacks with the best of them! He can absorb attacks, protect his team, and counterattack. He swings his axe with a mighty heft; the warrior is who the party will rally behind in times of scary huge damage. After that, there is the Witch who is perfect for you people who love some serious complexity in your tool kit. She can combine a TON of different commands in order to make spells essentially.

Assigning elements and modifiers in specific combos and stacking some spells with others all while trying to stay alive is tough, but MAN, I have seen some witches absolutely WRECK online beyond anything I have seen before. So it seems the high learning curve really pays off with an equally high skill ceiling to go with it. Then we get to my man, the one who really made me fall in love with this game, the Shinobi! Having the dragon’s curse afflict his lower body, the Shinobi has an insane amount of movement, tied with huge damage at the expense of being extremely frail. You will find yourself buzzing around the battlefield while being constantly airborne and dealing out damage if you play the Shinobi, and boy is it fun. I naturally gravitated towards him and am still using him today!

Hit the Fub For Drinks… and Quests!

Your general gameplay loop is to equip all your equipment and items in the castle town, then head to the pub and load up some quests! Dragon Marked for Death features the option for single player, local co-op, and online co-op. Most of the content in the game truly feels balanced towards having a full team of 4 players, and running the game with less can occasionally feel pretty rough and tough. Big fights can really take quite some time to deal out the required amount of damage to actually win the fights. This fact, mixed with the fact that it is tough to find a full game using the in-game party search really does hurt this game a little bit. It’s still doable single player, but man is it going to be close EVERY TIME, and honestly has some segments feeling like a battle of attrition. THANKFULLY, there are great resources full of people who love this game to play with online.

Personally, I found that the Dragon Marked for Death Discord channel helped me TONS in finding people to play with, and people to teach me some of the more nuanced mechanics of this game. Quest objectives can range from kill all the enemies, make it to a certain point of a map, find a certain item, or straight up boss fights from the start. They star a variety of locales from the game’s world and are all pretty varied visually. The game could do with a little more enemy variety and less recolors but the ones they have are quite fun and visually interesting to fight with, and like I said there are some HARD fights in this game. It isn’t for someone who just wants to come in and steamroll the whole game; that just is not going to work. You are going to have to dodge and learn enemy patterns if you want to be successful in this game, fellow Dragonblood.

Wrapping up, I don’t want to drag-on

The score is good on this game, with upbeat beats to fight to, and crisp sound effects mixed with voices to highlight the fight. I will always love when a dragon sphere (as I call it at least) spawns around the end of the boss fight, and you and the whole party gets a big power up and unlimited access to your resource pool to finish off the boss. It has a great effect and really gets you in the mood to knock a hard boss’s socks off with all of your might! I really do recommend this game, it is great fun and deserving of more players! The Devs are still supporting it as well, with more DLC and who knows, maybe even more characters! You can get into this game for as little as $14.99 if you just get a character pack, so come and fight with us! The community has been great and friendly, and it’s made by one of my favorite studios. I give Dragon Marked for Death a resounding 9/10 for a truly fun experience that is solid as anything!

Score: 9/10

Buy Dragon Marked for Death from the Nintendo eShop here.

Buy Dragon Marked for Death from Amazon here.





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