Reviews: A Dance With Rogues

Great stealth and story, but unbalanced combat

This review concerns part 1, v1.50 only.

The core stealth gameplay in ADwR is easily on par with the best stealth-based games like the Thief series and profits immensely from a loving NWN adaptation of the time-tested D&D system. Moreover, the game applies said system to dialogue in extremely lateral ways to create some amazing puzzles: I was blown away, for instance, by the puzzle to open the first door in the Hyath temple.

While the story does not really pull at my heart's strings, it's well-structured, with lots of foreshadowing and callbacks. One definitive forte is that a game written specifically for a female PC immerses the player in a situation where everyone around the Princess is physically stronger than her, and she has to rely on other means to get back at her offenders. Of particular note is the daring yet well-executed treatment of sexuality in all its forms—something that commercial RPGs nowadays sadly lack.

What the game doesn't pull off as well are the combat sequences: without an Infinity Engine-esque tactical party controls and a diversity of classes (e.g. there are no mage followers), every fight turns into a chaotic brawl that you can only hope to go in your favor. If you, like me, preferred a stealth-and-diplomacy build, you may end up resorting to console commands to finish chapters 3 and 4.