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First impressions of Dungeon Hunter 5, the next big mobile action-RPG from Gameloft

During my recent trip to PAX South, I had the pleasure of meeting up with some fine folks from Gameloft and playing their current tablet build of Dungeon Hunter 5. The latest in the popular action-RPG series, Dungeon Hunter 5 promises better graphics, an improved system, and much more. It will be coming to Windows Phone, Windows 8, Android, and iOS later this year.

Since playing Dungeon Hunter 5 I've been dying to tell you more about it, and at last I'm free to do just that. Read on for my impressions, an in-depth look at some of the new systems and improvements it, and an update on potential Xbox Live features!

Dungeon Hunter 5 early screen

Multiple types of missions and goals

Dungeon Hunter 5 will feature an epic campaign, not unlike Dungeon Hunter 4. I played through an early portion of the campaign on a tablet and was quite impressed with the scale that Gameloft has achieved in the new game.

After creating your own unique character (I chose an archer), you're thrust right into the thick of things during a demonic invasion. An evil force has wrecked the local castle, creating an impressive sense of destruction.

Gameloft touts the increased environmental detail in this game. The environments really do look better and feel larger, with tons of detail not just at ground level but in walls, archways, and other structures. The level I played had a sense of verticality to it that you might not expect from a dungeon crawler.

Dungeon Hunter 5 concept art

Daily dungeons and weekly events

Every day of the week offers a different type of dungeon. Each daily dungeon type offers different Evo Materials as rewards. Provided these dungeons don't get too repetitive, I can see at least running through the dailies even when my time is limited.

In addition to daily dungeons, Gameloft plans weekly events for players to join. Whether these are specific levels or just optional objectives and goals associated with the campaign and other missions, we're not sure yet.

Naturally, each event will have a leaderboard. Players will earn prizes based on their leaderboard rank, not unlike the time-based events in World at Arms.

Dungeon Hunter 5 concept art

Multiplayer

In addition to single-player campaign and missions, Dungeon Hunter 5 supports both ascyncronous cooperative play and competitive play.

Since co-op seems to be strictly asynchronous (not real-time), you'll want to build up a friends list with which to recruit partners for missions. Most free to play games with asynchronous social mechanics only let you call on a friend's help once per day, so it wouldn't surprise me if that applies to Dungeon Hunter 5 as well.

When you take a friend's character along during campaign missions, both players will receive Bounty Tickets. Presumably Bounty Tickets can only be earned through co-op. These can be used to open Bounty Chests that contain unique rewards.

Dungeon Hunter 5 early screen

Strongholds and raiding

The all-new stronghold system basically brings Clash of Clans-style PvP raiding to the normally cooperative-focused Diablo-style action-RPGs.

Each player can create his or her own dungeon, placing minions and traps to defend it. Your minions will generate gold (likely based on defeating invading players) that you can spend on further defenses. You'll also be able to purchase shields for your stronghold, which will almost certainly cost premium currency. place minions, collect gold the minions generate, and optionally purchase shields for the stronghold

Raiding other players' strongholds asynchronously works like Cloud Raiders and similar games, except you'll directly control your character and fight through it like a dungeon. The final portion of a raid ends with you battling an AI version of the player who created the stronghold.

Players might be able to choose between several targets to raid rather than just being thrown into a specific match. By successfully raiding someone's stronghold, you'll earn rewards like gold, Quartz (premium currency?), and League Points.

Dungeon Hunter 5 concept art

All the loot

Seeing as how the Dungeon Hunter series is essentially Gameloft's take on Diablo, "loot" (weapons, armor, and other items) plays a huge role in the game. Players will earn loots as they progress through the campaign itself, join in online co-op, participate in various events, and raid other players' strongholds.

Gameloft has greatly expanded Dungeon Hunter 5's loot system. Each weapon and armor can be leveled up to increase it stats, and they'll often have elemental strengths and weaknesses as well. But the really big change comes from item fusion/evolution.

Dungeon Hunter 5 concept art

Gear fusion and super fusions

Players always tend to outgrow their equipment in games like this; it's the nature of the beast. But you can keep using weapons and armor a lot longer in Dungeon Hunter 5 thanks to the gear fusion system.

Fusing your gear together requires items that are already at max level, plus fusion resources called Evo Materials ((earned from Daily Dungeons). It will probably take a little time to complete fusions as well. Every piece of gear has a tier (depicted as a number of stars) indicating both its rarity and max level. The higher the tier and level, the higher its stats can go.

Combining four items of the same type will add fusion points to the resulting item. Fusion points are separate from the item's tier and level. These points increase the power of the item, such as greatly boosting a sword's attack power. Fusion points can also be transferred to other items of the same type.

Dungeon Hunter 5 concept art

Improved monetization

Although Dungeon Hunter 4 was a large and well-made free to play game, it suffered from an overabundance of in-app purchase hooks.

Free games with in-app purchases are by far the most popular type of mobile game, and developers depend on those in-app purchases to make a profit and continue adding new content and improvements to their games.

Still, there is a line at which point the IAP hooks become too annoying or prevent a game from being as fun as it should be – and many players would say that Dungeon Hunter 4's potion timers crossed that line. Potions are used to heal you character during combat, a vital mechanic in games like this. Unfortunately, once used, potions took several hours to become available once more unless a gamer ponied up real money for more. The end result is probably that some players used their potions, couldn't play anymore, and moved on to other games.

Gameloft couldn't go into full specifics about Dungeon Hunter 5's IAPs just yet, but they did promise one important thing. The new game will either not have potion timers or they will be much shorter. The idea is to keep you engaged with the game whether or not you feel like spending money. There will likely still be timers associated with other mechanics like the new gear fusion system, but nothing that will keep you from being able to play outright.

Dungeon Hunter 5 early screen

Xbox Live support: yay or nay?

Gameloft made a splash recently when it updated several Windows Phone and Windows 8 games like World at Arms to include Xbox Live support. Achievement fans hoped that Gameloft would release all of its future titles with Xbox support as well. It turns out that won't be the case.

Dungeon Hunter 5 will launch without Xbox Live features, much like the recently released Dragon Mania Legends. Still, this one is a good candidate for a future Xbox update, so players who grab it at launch will be ahead of the game compared to the crankypants who sit it out.

Regardless of Achievement systems, Dungeon Hunter 5 is looking like another killer mobile action-RPG so far. As long as this one doesn't go too overboard with IAPs or make players sit things out when their potions run dry, this should be one of the largest and deepest mobile Windows games of the year.

Paul Acevedo with Mandy and Ryan from Gameloft in San Antonio, TX

Paul Acevedo with Gameloft's Mandy and Ryan at the San Antonio Riverwalk

Dungeon Hunter 5 doesn't have a solid release date yet, but it should launch within the next few months. We'll have more exclusive coverage before then!

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

61 Comments
  • Sweet
  • You mean the next big money sink from gameloft right ?
  • I need that RIGHT now!!
  • I actually rather have it with Xbox Live Support I like the reputation/points you gain with achievements.
  • Yeah, and speaking of which I'm wondering why they went on a spree of updating their games with Xbox support... then stopped all of a sudden. I'm still hoping for some Xbox enabled Dungeon Hunter 4
  • The problem is on Microsoft's end, as I understand it. But I can't talk about it.
  • Yeah I probably won't play the game until then.
  • Will it work on 512 ram? (*PLEASE*)
  • That's my ques
  • Like how you called xbox only people crankypants
  • Yeah, lets just throw everything unique about WP out the window so we can fit in with the popular kids....
  • It's a perfect slogan: "Windows Phone: We're unique because our games can't be updated! Who needs new content? Achievements!"
  • So much this! MS needs to fix the whole Xbox live certification shenanigans first and then I'll be all for xbox games.
  • Achievements freaks: Achievement>all.
  • That is how some of them think, yes.
  • LOL
  • Having achievements is such a small factor to the whole windows phone package.
  • IAP and F2P can go die already! I miss buying a game and paying for nicely sized expansion packs later on.
  • That's just not a viable model on mobile, unfortunately. But if you're playing on console or PC, you already have the option to buy Diablo III or Torchlight 2 or whatever.
  • That' perfectly viable model for a company like gameloft which already benefits from enough popularity to be trusted as a quality game factory. What you really meant is that they wouldn't make as much money as they will with this model.
    Their whole point is milking people, not finding a "viable" model, come on, it's gameloft, they're not at the edge of bankruptcy.
  • Every company is out there to make money. Very few companies willfully choose to do business in a way that guarantees they will make less (Nintendo springs to mind). I agree that it's possible to make a profit from paid games on mobile, but the profit potential is exponentially lower.
  • Yes it is a viable option, to think otherwise is enabling the model. Halo Spartan Assault, GTA, Angry Birds, Machinarium, Skulls of the Shogun, Reckless Racing, Dragon's Blade, Great Big War Game are all ridiculously successful games with no IAPs. As long as idiots, and yes that is what a person is if they spend money on an IAP, keep forking over the dough, companies will not change the model. Don't support the model and criticize it where you can rather than lauding it.
  • Agreed. Do not forget Terraria... Fully featured polished games bring money; a lot of people are ready to pay 10$ (or more in my regards) for quality gaming experience.
  • Terraria is already hugely popular on other platforms. It's unlikely it could have achieved the same level of success had it only existed on mobile (the same goes for Minecraft and of the games BraddenEllen mentioned).
  • So this is a fatality ? Because WP is not the 1st mobile platform, the only full premium games we'll get are the one that:; 1. Have met important success on other plateforms 2. Are developped by companies who are ready to give a shot with WP Therefore, IAP model and its high rate of survivability should not be criticized and be praised as the best thing we'll ever get ? I'm sorry but I feel like there is somehting wrong, at a time where smartphone specs can compete with gaming console I don't understand that we're still ruled by companies like Gameloft that flood the market with pay-to-win crap using the same - yet pretty - appealing 3D engine. .
  • Gameloft isn't the only free to play developer. It's the whole mobile industry, with the exception of mostly smaller devs and a few others. it's just the business model that works best and is most profitable with mobile audiences. You don't have to like it, but the business reality isn't going to change anytime soon.
  • Well, I don't want to leave on this planet anymore... :-/ I remember a time when gaming was a fair exchange where a team of programmers provided the gamers with an immersive experience in exchange for a given amount of money, it was not about finding the smartest way to milk them like a cow..  Sad, that's just sad.
  • Well, there's always console and PC games. ;) But premium mobile games still come out there and there; they're just not as common as many of us would like. I'm not totally averse to free to play gaming, but I feel your pain.
  • I appreciate your solicitude :) Yeah of course, I'm fond of console gaming but you know.. I'm around 30 now, and I've always dreamt of this perfect device of the future that is your phone/gaming console/computer/video&music player... and we're almsot there clearly... except for the damn gaming part that is still not perfect ! Fortunately, we got VBA8, that is to say, plenty of 01' quality gba games :=)
  • IAPs aren't that bad if done right. I think it's fine to allow people to pay to get things faster. Like in Asphalt 8, you can buy credits to get cars faster. Or you can actually play the game. There's some cars you really need to use money to get and that's where I think they've gone too far. Make things easier for people who pay, sure, give them more things doesn't seem right. It either is free to play or it isn't, I don't think that's really nice.
  • Here, here! We also don't support the IAP model, unfortunately, too many people have drunk the koolaid and pay, pay, pay.
  • Gainloft: We bring the future, pay to win and enjoyable lag.
  • Grow up. 
  • Lol grow up. That was an Obvious troll. Grow up and stop taking things so serious kid.
  • 5 !!! Give it to me!!!
  • I rather be an Xbox-crankypants than to waste time on non Xbox-Games on WP. Plain and simple.
  • Waste time? How do acheivements validate a game? You sound like you no longer play for enjoyment and oly play for a (false sense) of accomplishment (that you can show off). Xbox certification would be nice, definitely NOT required to vaildate a game.
  • Achievements are good..but it's an optional/secondary thing man...don't make you're mind screw up to the fact that seeing that beautiful Xbox live certification is better than enjoying and having fun with the game which is the primary part.
    It's not plain and simple..It's plain and stupid/ignorance. Just saying.
  • If achievement brings benefit to the game itself (like Clash of Clans achievements which has gems as reward), then I'm in. But if those achievements does nothing but means to showoff, then I don't give a sh*t to those achievements.
  • This is a bit different from order and chaos, it's interesting to see them competing against each other
  • dungeon hunter 4 was really fun to me, so i can't wait for the this game!
  • A big fan of DH4 and i can't wait for this to come. Hopefully u can save ur character's info somehow.
  • Hope it comes with moga controller support like dh4 does liking it so far with controller
  • I couldn't get passed the IAP in DH4 though the game looked like it could have been great. I hope they strike a better balance in DH5.
  • Is it 512 RAM compatible
  • Don't get excited guys...gameloft's Ryan already makes a video regarding to dungeon hunter 5 if you watch the video carefully you will see this game has that fucking "Energy system" like BIA sons of war,spider man unlimited,asphalt overdrve :/
  • Man, already? I still greatly enjoy DH4, it's indeed a fun game! Hopefully I can play it on my Lumia 530
  • Is there anything I can do with Xbox achievement points?
  • Nope. You can't take them with you.
  • Paul, your comment does not make any sense. Sorry, but all you do is troll and belittle other peoples opinions. Social interaction is a big part of gaming and achievements actually play a huge role in it. You are supposedly a "gamer" aren't you? I can´t believe how much you belittle an integral part of the gaming culture.
  • You can't take it with you is an expression which means that something will not follow a person into the afterlife. After someone dies, nobody will care what Achievements they have, or especially if they have Achievements in games that they did not enjoy. I'm a huge gamer and I have more Achievements than many people here (not everyone, of course). I wasn't belittling anyone with that comment. He asked if he can do anything with them, and no, you can't really.
  • 1 GB of ram
  • Looks fun
  • Gameloft Games huh?They suck with in-app purchases now Asphalt 8,Spiderman Unlimited and many more no fun in playing them without makig IAP.I want the old gameloft better make the app paid then make fking IAP.
  • Gameloft is busy serving the fools and game addicts that would just spend every money to cheat on their game.
  • Yup seriously no fun in playing any game now.Miss the old Asphalt Urban GT on my N-gage!
  • Poition timers. I mean, that was complete crap.
  • IAP Sucks, I can pay for a game but IAP ruins whole game experience
  • It it gonna be supports in 512 ram phones ?
  • Am I the only one who actually NEVER used potion except the tutorial and had the 100th tier blades for my Blademaster. Anyone else? Pls comment
  • hii