I’ve been playing the new MOBA ‘Dragons and Titans‘ by PlanOfAttack, and here’s what I think.
It’s not as good as DOTA.
Now that’s out the way we can look at the title in more detail. You play a dragon rider of sorts who’s tasked with protecting a village from various types of attack.
This forms part of a decent tutorial that is short, but effective enough to teach you all you need to know to get on with the game. In fact, you learn what you need to without really realising it, which is what a tutorial should do.
The meat of the game is lies on the MOBA side. Your heroes in Dragons and Titans are (surprisingly enough) dragons, and they are many and varied. Some of their design is very good and it is to the credit of the art team that they manage to make the majority of the dragons distinct and to have their own visual styles.
It would have been far too easy to just churn out dragons with only slight-superficial differences, but that’s not the route they took and they should be lauded for it. For example in one memorable match I ended up with a dragon made of water that breathed bubbles…. Talk about bringing a knife to a gunfight…
Unfortunately though, while the dragons do look unique they do not feel that way to play. Some of the more obvious differences are immediately apparent, for example there are the odd ones that are noticeably slower, or ones that do more damage to certain enemies, but past that you really have to be looking hard to notice any other differences. The variety is upped somewhat by the ability to equip a secondary weapon (the dragon’s fire -breath being the primary attack in most instances) and it does add a little bit more spice to proceedings, but as the weapons are so interchangeable and the effects on the whole seem so muted they don’t really add to the sense of individuality or indeed, fun. This leaves the overall experience feeling somewhat flat.
This feeling is further compounded by the dragon-select and equip-screen. The majority of the dragons and associated equipment are unlocked during play or bought for real-money, but the way they’re displayed makes them all feel insignificant and throw-away. I’m not sure what they were aiming for with the design but instead of having a screen where you lovingly craft your dragon and it’s set up, pouring over stats and designs, you have what feels like two roulette wheels on top of each other. This has the unfortunate effect of lessening any attachment you may have had to a dragon and gives you the real sense that any decision you make won’t mean much anyway, a feeling which is somewhat borne out by the feel of the gameplay.
In-game, the way the dragons move is a problem for me as well. You can fly forwards and turn at a reasonable angle, or fly backwards and again, turn but what this game is really missing though is a dodge, or strafe ability. Now I know this would need to be balanced, perhaps against stamina or something, but it would really help. As it stands most fights devolve into an accordion-like procession of dragons flying up to and reversing away from each other in quick succession and I’m afraid it just looks daft. It just feels like there’s no real skill involved and this is the games achilles-heel. Without a feeling that there’s any real skill in the fight (save typical MOBA tactics of mob management and lane choice) you don’t feel rewarded for a good win, and feel only distinct frustration at a loss. This coupled with the lack of ‘connection’ with any of the dragons gives me little incentive to return.
Other issues include that the matchmaking feels arbitrary and clumsy, and that the map variety also feels quite restricted; I’ve seen three, and that was with trying to find as many as I could (though I’ll be the first to admit I may have just been unlucky with the games I joined).
The final nail on the coffin for me are the Titans. They’re giant demonic creatures that serve as the focal point and logical end to any game. You’re literally fighting to release your Titan before the enemy can release theirs. Should you be victorious however, all you’ll get is a 3-5 second clip of one standing up before you’re summarily dumped back at a menu. It would have been great to see your Titan then wreak havoc on the remaining enemies- a reward for a good game, but instead you get a small animation and then nothing. This basically removes any real need for the Titans at all: you may as well be fighting for a bag of peanuts for all they pay-off you get.
So there you have it; Dragons and Titans is a competent game, but that’s it. It does nothing to push the genre forward and it certainly doesn’t do any of the standard MOBA fare any better than it’s already established and far-superior competitors. As such I can’t recommend it, even though you can ride a water dragon into a firefight.
Verdict – Off Target
Platforms Available/Reviewed – PC
Review based on code supplied by the publisher. Please check this post for more on our scoring system.