When Dragon Marked for Death released on Nintendo Switch, I was happy to experience a 2D action game with online multiplayer features. However, the online features were most definitely the highlight of the game and sadly I find that I play my Switch more on-the-go, which limited the time I was able to play it. Being that this game was designed around its online components, I was happy when the developer announced it would be coming to PC. It’s easy to see that this is the best way to play this unique game, but there’s definitely room for improvement.
Dragon Marked for Death’s story is centered around the revenge of the Dragonblood Clan. These people are being hunted and on the brink of extinction, which forces them to band together and fight back against the Divine Family. It’s clear by the way civilians react to the characters that this clan is truly hated, and yet, they’ll accept help from them. The Dragonblood Clan definitely got the shit end of the stick on this one, but their goal revolves around forging a contract with an Astral Dragon named Atruum and taking down the ones that aimed to destroy them.
The story can be easily passed up while you play and the game as it focuses on it very little. Each mission will include a short interaction between characters that slightly details information about the state of the world and your place in it, but more often than not, you’ll just be playing through the missions with the only thing on your mind, gear drops. Still, one element that might hold your interest from the early moments is the gorgeous character sprites, which seems to be a staple in the Inti Creates line-up of games.
The gameplay is streamlined into missions that are accepted at the tavern. Here, players can take on quests of various objectives to gain level and collect materials. Each time a mission is complete, a higher difficulty is unlocked for you to replay for more experience and loot. The glaring issue with this is found only for those who aren’t playing this game online. If you’re thinking of going through as a single-player, you should probably find something else to play.
The PC version of Dragon Marked for Death comes off like a straight port of the Switch version as there are very limited PC exclusive features here. I would have liked to see higher resolution support or more refined textures. Regardless, the game was gorgeous on Switch and that isn’t lost in this version. Sadly, the framerate still takes random dives during missions. I’m not sure if this was due to a connection issue or if it was just the game, but there were times when it would drag.
When it comes to the online portion of Dragon Marked for Death, I had trouble finding an open room sometimes. However, I never seemed to have an issue getting players to join a room that I created. Once you have a few people in your party you’re off with a group of strangers to take down some enemies.
The gameflow of running through a mission with a group of others is exceptionally satisfying. Each character plays a necessary role in the party, which makes it more fun when you get a party of players each playing different characters. Missions revolve around objectives like defeating a boss, escorting a civilian, collecting water samples, and even guiding an air balloon up a tower. There’s very little room to get bored here as the developer has provided a large variety of quests to choose from.
However, you’ll quickly realize that it doesn’t matter which quest you choose because this game is all about grinding levels and loot drops. Finding and purchasing new weapons and armor to upgrade allows you to kit out your warriors in exotic threads and there’s a much larger set of equipment unlocked to higher-level fighters.
An additional layer of customization available allows you to take on a new element for your character. For example, the Empress begins as a fire user, but I chose to speak with Atruum to switch to using the Wind element It’s just another layer of options to fit your playstyle, which also appears in the level-up system where you distribute points into specific stats of your character.
Dragon Marked for Death on PC is the best way to play this game since the online infrastructure is far more dependable than its Switch counterpart. However, I don’t think the developers took full advantage of the port and failed to really sell this version of the game. Sure, it has controller support, but I was hoping to find improved framerates and resolution options. So if you’re looking for an addictive 2D action game to play with friends, Dragon Marked for Death has got you covered for many hours.
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