As we all know, carving out a niche and delivering a polished VR game can be a daunting task. EnterDungeons of Eternity, the ambitious VR dungeon crawler brought to us by the minds at Othergate. When I first stumbled upon the game trailer, the scenes unfolding before me felt all too familiar — a seemingly generic dungeon crawler that did not particularly tickle my excitement or that of others on the 6DOF Team. However, we all know that trailers don’t always tell the whole story, and honestly, generic or not, a game can still be fantastic if it nails the mechanics and execution. So, with cautious optimism, I strapped on my VR headset to venture onto Planet Eternity.
I have to give props where props are due, Dungeons of Eternity puts up a great front, the presentation is well polished, and sports an intriguing mix of science fiction and fantasy elements. From the opulent design of the map room, where adventurers plot their next course, to the welcoming embrace of a lounge allowing for tranquil moments in front of a fireplace with companions, Dungeons of Eternity was clearly crafted with great attention to detail.
In a genre oversaturated with hastily assembled entrants, Othergate beckons players with a promise — a promise of a unique, ever-evolving adventure where fantasy comes wrapped up in a sci-fi cloak, holding within it the potential to redefine the VR dungeon crawler landscape.
Crawling Through Eternity
The backbone of any great dungeon crawler lies in its gameplay mechanics, and here, Dungeons of Eternity does not disappoint, offering players the opportunity to craft personalized avatars along with an expansive range of load-outs and power-up perks.
A standout feature is undoubtedly the game’s melee combat system. Dungeons of Eternity does very well here, steering clear of the pitfalls that have ensnared other titles such as Everslaught Invasion. Here, the weapons bear a satisfying heft, interactions with physical objects feel convincingly real, and parrying attacks actually work.
Although the game allows several playstyles, you can use melee weapons, ranged weapons, and magic, my experience was that you only really get melee weapons and a bow at the start of the game, you’ll have to do some grinding to get magical weapons. This is a curious game design choice since it means that new players to the game can’t really go into the dungeons with a wide range of classes. In fact, there are no classes per se, you are what you do, essentially, and, at least at the start, you can’t be a mage.
The game can be played single-player, but if you’re looking to fulfill its unspoken promise, that of essentially playing Gauntlet with friends in VR, you’ll want to play it in multiplayer, where the stakes are higher, the enemies more numerous, and the fun multiplied by the presence of others whose company you enjoy.
There are three different quest types; Dungeon Raid, where you have to traverse a dungeon to find, power up, and retrieve a drone that’s been lost, Crystal Hunt, which has you in a pyramidal structure hunting for three crystals that’ll power up a smaller pyramid at its center, giving you points you can use to buy perks, and Soul Harvest, which is essentially a horde mode and the least entertaining mode of the bunch.
At launch, the Dungeons of Eternity offers 12 dungeons, not counting the tutorial, that are divided into different areas or themes. Although this gives some variety to the proceedings, a couple of the areas are similar enough that they don’t really feel fresh.
Despite the generic dungeons and creatures that are on offer once you get past the sci-fi framing of the game, Dungeons of Eternity is a really good-looking game by Quest standards. The graphics are atmospheric, with real-time lighting, some nice particle effects, and good textures. The overall look of the game is very good, and the enemies, although they remain mostly generic are well designed and well rendered, if lacking in variety.
The audio in Dungeons of Eternity is good, if unremarkable. Suitable music comes up sometimes that helps enhance the atmosphere, but the real star in the audio department is the sound f/x for the weapons, the clangs of steel against steel, and the spatial audio that helps you turn around in time to attack, or defend yourself against, an enemy coming at you from behind. It works, and it works well.
Pitfalls of Perpetuity
Okay, so good graphics, great physics, decent combat, and a great opportunity to go dungeon crawling with friends! What can go wrong?
Well, as mentioned previously, there are only three game modes, and one of them is a dreadfully boring horde mode that I can’t imagine many players would enjoy.
Another issue is the lack of character classes. Although this might initially seem okay, since you can increasingly customize your character and their load-outs and perks as you unlock more and more of the game, it also means that fresh players cannot play a mage, for instance. Magic is mostly staff-based, so it amounts to you becoming a shooter, and it’s only unlocked later on, which means that fresh gamers coming in can’t have a magician as part of their party of three.
There’s also a problem with the same-iness of much of the game’s content. As mentioned before, the four areas or themes aren’t very distinct from each other, making me feel that Othergate should have capitalized on the sci-fi setup of the hub world, infusing more of that in a theme or two to give them an altogether different character from the rest. As it stands, however, the dungeons all feel quite samey. Couple that with the tedious horde mode levels, and the overall value of the content takes an unfortunate dip.
Lastly, the single-player mode lacks any real challenge. Every single time I played the game alone, I breezed through the Dungeon Raid levels. Too many health potions, not enough enemies, not enough difficulty. The game needs to figure out how to challenge single players, even if it’s not designed around single-player gameplay.
End of Infinity
Overall, Dungeons of Eternity lays a great foundation for what could eventually grow to become a rich multiplayer experience. As it stands, it is perhaps the only game on Quest that really offers players the chance to go dungeon crawling with their friends in VR, however, the charm will soon wear off if Othergate don’t build on that foundation with more exciting missions and more varied enemies.
I also think a longer narrative-driven mode that takes players through several different dungeons with a more gripping narrative than ‘save the fallen drone’ would absolutely propel the game into a higher tier, and make it easier to recommend.
For now, it’s not a must-have, but will provide some value and some fun to older players who miss the Gauntlet days and don’t mind the generic nature and limited scope of what’s on offer.
Dungeons of Eternity
TLDR : Summary
Dungeons of Eternity is not yet a must-have, but it lays a great foundation for what could eventually grow to become a rich multiplayer experience.