Dungeons & Dragons: Tactics impressions

Sword-and-sorcery strategy still looks rough, but packs plenty of promise for fans

We got our first look at Dungeons & Dragons: Tactics in May, and back then its grainy caves and blocky characters looked ugly even by PSP standards. Still, thethought of a turn-based, D&D-themed strategy game piqued our interest, and after seeing the handheld game in action, it's obvious that D&D: Tactics has come a long way in the past few months.

The setup of Tactics is simple: as a mortal caught up in a conflict between two powerful dragons, you'll build a party of 4-6 fantasy characters and take them through around 40 levels of turn-based strategy battles. The game is intended to be simple enough to appeal to a broad audience, while still packing in enough errata to please rulemongering fans - we're told that around 13 rulebooks' worth of information have been shoehorned into the game, along with 216 spells (20 more than the PC Neverwinter Nights, for the record), 38 weapon types and 100 monsters.

Whatever the case, you'll be able to build your party with the usual assortment of classes (fighter, ranger, wizard, etc.), although there'll be two additions unique to Tactics: the Psychic, a traditional sword-wielding warrior who has a few psychic powers to give him an edge, and the Psion, who's much more focused on his or her telekinetic abilities. You can also choose whether to make your characters good or evil, which affects the story's direction - a good character might help out a besieged village, for example, while an evil one will just use the battle as a cover to steal whatever isn't nailed down.

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