10 Best Dungeon Crawlers Ever
Dungeon crawlers are a genre of games that need barely an introduction. They used to dominate the PC landscape when floppy drives were king and CD-Rom’s were high tech. But, they’ve faded to the back of the party when FPS’s and RPG’s became the popular crowd.
While they were experimenting with all sorts of gameplay and story arcs, Dungeon Crawlers were refining what they did best, and now you have some of the most incredible choices for those times when you feel like clicking hundreds of demons to death.
Below is our list for the 10 best dungeon crawlers that will sprain your index finger.
The Bard’s Tale is a bawdy trope of a man and his dog. As The Bard, you’re tasked with reluctantly saving the kingdom from some evil or another, but you’ll only do it for a flagon of beer and the wonderful company of some strumpets. And, of course, there is a princess. The gameplay is what you would expect from any other dungeon crawler. You get a top down view of the land as you hack and slash your way through hundreds of enemies and collect loot to bring back to use as currency at the bar and house of earthly pleasures. What sets The Bard’s Tale apart is its hilarious presentation. Each one of the characters is so well drawn that it is easy to become attached. Especially to a few of the barmaids who have glittering personalities.
Delving back into the dungeon crawler classics, we find NOX. This insanely fun game hails from the heyday of dungeon crawlers. Its graphics are retro now and the cutscenes feature digital animation that might make Pixar barf. But, it was a damn fine game in its day and surprisingly it still stands on it’s own two feet even today. The gameplay is fast, frenetic, and fun. It is a simple game from a simple time when you didn’t have thirty hotkeys.
If you though God of War was a bit too repetitive, and Kratos's incessant whining grated your nerves to shreds, you'd probably find yourself enjoying Titan Quest. You still get to battle your way across Greece, but with half of the deity daddy issues. You need to help resort balance to the world, one sword swing at a time. You get to battle your way across Greece, Egypt, and Asia before tackling the usurper of Mount Olympus, the Titan Typhon. Instead of your standard fantasy hack and slash bonanza, the change of scenery lets you bathe in a mythologized world full of centaurs, automatons, and yetis. Yes, yetis.
Did you honestly think there wouldn't be a Dungeon Siege game on our list of the 10 best dungeon crawlers ever? Some might scoff at our choice of the third iteration of this storied franchise, but we picked it with good reason. The streamlined characters and abilities keeps the game focused where it should be, on the enemies and the sweet, sweet loot they drop. The combat is fluid and simple. Also, inviting three of your friends to assume the roles of your companions also lends a whole new feel to a dungeon crawler. It's amazing that other games haven't done this before. Plus, with your friends around, you can trash talk those flaming skeletons as you shish kabob their bones.
Demon's Souls is the most unforgiving dungeon crawling RPG's you're likely to find. It takes absolutely no prisoners and takes you back to the days of no checkpoints, autosaves, or any other wussy features. It brings back the NES difficulty without the NES graphics. The world of Boletaria is immersive and enjoyable to explore, but you must do so carefully. One peek around the wrong corner might get your eye poked out with an arrow from a waiting demon. Even though Demon's Souls is harder than anything you're likely to find, once you crack the code and move along you'll find it is one of the most satisfying games you've ever played. Or you'll just throw your PS3 through the TV. Your choice.
Bioware truly knows how to make an engrossing game. The world of Dragonage: Origins lives and breaths with exciting possibilities and endless dungeons to explore. The story is so fully fleshed out that you could spend hours just talking to ancillary characters to find out what makes them tick, or take them to bed. It takes all that is great about the loot lusting dungeon crawler and introduces it to a multilayered and engrossing story that you control. I swear, all of those choose-your-own-adventure authors got jobs over at Bioware writing plot and conversation trees.
Dungeons and Dragons has leapt off the table tops and imaginations of nerds everywhere and onto the screens of gamers. Neverwinter Nights takes place in the Forgotten Realms which just so happens to have a number of dungeons for you to explore and plunder. For D&D fans, Neverwinter Nights only served to bring them deeper into the lore of their chosen worlds. They could toss off the many sided dice and assortment of books for a digital land to explore without using their imagination. Because who wants to use that? It makes your brain hurt.
There is a reason Baldur's Gate is such a beloved game. The characters and story are strong the gameplay remains some of the best in the dungeon crawler genre. It is a game that remains as good today as it was when it was released. That's why it's being re-released with some shiny new graphics. But the soul of this amazing dungeon delving adventure remains intact. You'll be glad it did.
Torchlight II remains a loving letter to dungeon crawlers of the past. It is the kind of game developers back then wished that they could make. The fantastic graphics are reminiscent of a certain online dungeon crawler, but they provide their own unique spin on the cartoonish action. The controls and fighting in the game are streamlined to a fine edge which you'll use to cut down hundreds of monsters on your journey for more loot. Torchlight II has the mark of a dungeon crawler created by fans of the genre. For that, it earns a well deserved place on our list of the 10 best dungeon crawlers ever.
Did you really have any doubt that this would be at the top of our list? Seriously? The Diablo franchise has been the dungeon crawler that every other one has been judged by. It was always the demon in the room that no others could vanquish. The latest installment provides you with the same awesome demon-slaying premise and gameplay, while introducing innovative new elements. Now in the marketplace you can use actual money to trade. This means you can actually MAKE money while playing Diablo III. Nerds everywhere ripped pocket protectors out of their gingham shirts when they heard this. The icing on the cake was fantastic graphics and some solid multiplayer. Diablo III remains on the dark throne as our demon lord of all dungeon crawlers. No go forth and find some loot to appease your demon master.