Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance
By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Action tale is focused squarely on bloody fantasy combat.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Simple concepts of good and evil run through the story, which is wholly focused on brutal (and sometimes comedic) fantasy combat.
Positive Role Models
The heroes are likable but also pretty bloodthirsty. Their primary aim is to defeat monsters and save the land and its good people, but doing so requires nonstop killing, which they seem perfectly fine with.
Ease of Play
Combat is straightforward and should feel familiar to players comfortable with action/adventure games. Multiple difficulty settings -- plus the skill and abilities of the people you happen to be playing with -- determine the level of challenge, with the easiest setting providing a fair experience that shouldn't prove too frustrating for rookies.
Violence & Scariness
Human, elf, and dwarf heroes do battle against trolls, goblins, and other fantasy monsters from a third-person perspective using swords, axes, bows and arrows. Enemies cry out in pain, release small splashes of blood, fall to the ground once defeated. Many environments show bloody aftermath of previous battles, with bodies hanged, impaled, sprawled on the ground.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Background dialogue contains occasional instances of the words "s--t" and "a--hole."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Based on popular tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons and the novels that have stemmed from it.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance is an action role-playing game for up to four players available on Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. Players choose to play as one of four premade fantasy heroes and decide whether to join up with others online before jumping into one of several connected action-filled campaigns, all of which are set within a simple story about good and evil forces questing for a powerful magical shard. The game is wholly focused on combat, with the heroes wielding various medieval weapons to slice, clobber, and impale opponents, resulting in screams, splashes of blood, and sprawled bodies. Many environments are already littered with the bodies of the dead, some hanged and impaled. Background dialogue sees enemies uttering threats and jokes, sometimes peppering in words like "s--t" and "a--hole." Parents should be aware that this game was inspired by the popular Dungeons & Dragons tabletop role-playing game and its associated novels.
Where to Play
Videos and Photos
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance
Based on 1 parent review
Fine, not any worse than the actual D&D
Report this review
What’s It About?
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: DARK ALLIANCE is an action role-playing game (RPG) with optional co-op play based on the popular tabletop game. It's set in the world of Icewind Dale, a frozen land home to a magical crystal coveted by the forces of evil. Players begin the game by picking from one of four premade characters: a dwarf, an elf, or one of two humans. You can then choose one of the game's multi-act campaigns, which are gradually unlocked through play. Each campaign contains loads of fantasy enemies waiting to be destroyed, a handful of contextual puzzles, and a good assortment of loot to collect. Lone wolves can head out on their own, while more social players can opt to adventure with up to three other players online. You can freely switch between available characters in between acts, and each one evolves individually, earning their own loot and abilities through experience. It's designed primarily as a social game, with the general idea being to play and replay each chapter with friends to grow your characters so that you can play yet again on harder difficulty settings, which offer a shot at finding better loot.
Is It Any Good?
If all you want to do is hack and slash some monsters with friends and earn better weapons and gear, this is a pretty good choice for dozens of hours of fun. Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance is perfectly playable as a single-player game -- you can adjust difficulty so that you don't encounter any serious roadblocks -- but it's a lot more entertaining played with friends with whom you can joke around while taking on waves of baddies. Combat and movement are a little stiff compared to many bigger-budget action games, but that shouldn't keep most players from having a blast carving their way through hordes of monsters or feeling a little spike of dopamine whenever one happens to drop a legendary or epic (they're color-coded so it's easy to tell) piece of loot. And while the idea of playing and replaying chapters just to level up and earn better gear might seem tedious, it will likely take quite a while for a sense of repetition to set in, since there are dozens of acts -- each of which take around half an hour -- spread across multiple campaigns. Basically, there's no shortage of missions to choose from.
There's a little more to it than just monster beatdowns, though. It's surprisingly pretty for a budget-priced game, with great character designs and loads of cool lighting effects. And die-hard D&D fans will dig all the bits of lore that you can find in tomes and tablets scattered around the environments, which you can read outside the heat of battle, as well as the game's authentic sense of humor, expressed most notably by monsters muttering among themselves. Still, the main reason to play a game like this is to battle trolls and ogres with your pals and grind for loot. Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance is action-packed, very easy to pick up, and all the more fun if you have a friend or three who can join you.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about violence in the media. Is the impact of the violence in Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance affected by the brutal combat shown throughout its gameplay? Would the impact be lessened if it wasn't as bloody or gory? How do video game battles make you feel? Are you aware of any sort of physical or emotional changes as you play?
What is it about imagining otherworldly lands and characters that appeals to us? Are the depictions of these places and people more or less compelling based on the media (books, movies, games) in which they appear?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
- Release date: June 22, 2021
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Language, Violence
- Last updated: June 22, 2021
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Play
Our Editors Recommend
Fantasy Books for Kids
Best Fantasy Movies
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate