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Dungeons and Dragons: Tactics (PSP)

Rated: 12+

Story: Honestly, I have no idea, despite the fact I played this for several hours. There's something about a prophesy and impending doom. Since the first cut-scene doesn't appear until after the second mission, it's like the game itself doesn't even care what's going on.

Gameplay: Painstakingly guide a group of up to six adventurers around dungeons and battlefields, fighting monsters and gathering treasure. Combat occurs in a turn-based fashion. Most of your time will be taken navigating menus, moving the characters laboriously down corridors and managing what they're carrying.

Save System: Save at any time.

Comments: Some games require a beard. Facial hair is essential for stroking while considering the next move, for scratching while pondering the impenetrable rules and for pulling out in clumps while wrestling unsuccessfully with the controls.

Dungeons and Dragons: Tactics is one of those games.

If you have never played any Dungeons and Dragons before, then steer well clear. The learning curve isn't so much vertical, it actually overhangs. I played plenty of D&D as a teenager, I'm a fan of turn-based board games and I have a physics degree. I still found this game hugely difficult to understand. That might be forgivable as 'depth' if the whole thing weren't such a tedious faff to play. In theory, computerising the complex D&D rules should have taken the effort out of playing but, in reality, the simplest actions, like changing weapons or moving across a room, have been transformed into something lengthy and involved. Meanwhile, since the dice rolls and calculations are now hidden from the player, it's very hard to work out why the zombie your entire party has been hacking at for the last five turns is adamantly refusing to fall over.

Even if you can recite the latest Dungeon Master's Guide off by heart, the frustrating interface and thread-bare story are worth avoiding anyway. Break out some miniatures and invite a few friends round instead.

Conclusion: Not worth growing a beard for.

Graphics: Nothing special and the magical effects are disappointing. Cut-scenes consist of text and a few static drawings.

Length: Long.

Rating: 1/5.

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