I recently was able to go hands-on with Dungeon Hunter 5 at PAX South, and while I've been sworn to secrecy until now, I can finally reveal some of what you can expect from the next game in Gameloft's long-running hack 'n slash genre. Expect more hack 'n slash action that the series is known for, but with a load of big structural changes that will try and make this series fit in with other free-to-play games in 2015.

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The combat felt very fast and fluid – I chose to use a character wielding dual-crossbows, one of the five weapons you can choose from the beginning, and was able to swiftly deal out damage and progress quickly through the game, with auto-targeting helping out with the combat. The game is level-based, so Dungeon Hunter 3 [Free] haters have nothing to worry about, they're not going back to the arena-driven gameplay any time soon. The levels have the occasional nook and cranny to find with hidden loot and treasure chests to discover. The game in general is very vibrant and colorful, and in terms of lore, it takes place after the demon war concluded in Dungeon Hunter 4 [Free], so expect a world that's in a bit better shape than it was before.

Structurally, the game is going to do something quite welcome for RPGs, where you don't really get locked down into one particular class. You start out choosing one of five weapons to use, but you aren't locked out of using anything down the road, so if you find you want to change your play style, or just care about using the most powerful weapon you have without regard for fitting into a particular style of play, then go for it. You're not locked in to anything.

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This definitely will feel like a game modernized for 2015 and the current popular free-to-play tropes. You'll pick up large amounts of loot, and can craft together different items in order to level up and eventually evolve weapons. There is a raiding system not unlike Clash of Clans [Free] and The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, where you build out a dungeon, placing minions and traps, and then have players fight you in order to win loot. The game is still level-driven in its singleplayer, though daily dungeons will also be available.

There's also an asynchronous co-op feature where you can hire friends and other players' characters to fight alongside you as an AI-controlled ally. These are features familiar to other games, for sure, but will all be rolled into one for this. I didn't catch any whiff of synchronous multiplayer, at least in the time I got to demo of the game. The potions system was a remarkably controversial part of Dungeon Hunter 4, and the Gameloft representatives who demoed the game to me remarked that they took the feedback on that to heart, and are trying to make a fairer potion system here, though obviously time will tell how the tweaks they made to timers and currency-spending on potions will work.

And really, long-term is the thing to look at with Dungeon Hunter 5. There's an intriguing-enough base, and I don't think we're collectively sick of loot-grabbing hack 'n slash games quite yet. But as with this and many other free-to-play games, the question will be over time, will its gameplay and structure be fun after the hours spent playing it, and the days and weeks of interacting and returning to it? We'll hopefully find out soon – Gameloft's not ready to announce a release date, but you shouldn't have to wait too long to play this.

  • Superjimtendo

    You had me at "dual crossbows".

  • Kenan2000

    Does it have energy sh%t?

    • Kenan2000

      Oh yeah it does...

    • Kenan2000

      The only energy system that I like is the dead trigger 2 energy system where you can grind as much as you want while your item is upgrading,not vice versa.

      • Exact-Psience

        Agreed. Same with Infintiy Blade 3. Play all you want while the timers for your upgrades, alchemy and gemcrafting are running. But then id still like to have a game with zero timers.

      • speetz

        Darkness reborn is easy to use; I have like 600/100 because it only takes three to play a mission and it gives you extra coopoonstantly. Not to mention the loads of free premium currency it gives you. I spent 3$ on accident one time for 30 "sol" now I have over 500sol just from giveaways for log in rewards and achievements etc. and they still make cash because of the three or four uber elite items you need a shit ton of sol to get, while I glide by and have no issue strength wise with anything

  • Amenbrother

    Hmmmmm

  • Based Xatu

    I think I'm going to make a Diablo-like for iOS. No IAP, no timers, and an actual story. The game will receive one update and then become broken when a new OS releases. You're welcome.

    • Eseres

      Yeah, I second that LOL! Dude... I lost all interrest in Gameloft after they stopped fixing DH1&2. Two of my most played mobile games EVER! And one day when I woke up, got the notice of OS update and downloaded it and discovered that neither DH 1 or 2 would play right anymore after that. THAT was a day when I died a little inside... DH1 kind of worked, but as soon as you did something that made a sound, like hitting an enemy, that sound kept repeating like it was stuck. Gameloft never fixed this, and for that (and some other obvious crap they've done) they've forever lost both my respect and me as a costumer. And by the sound of this article (as well as some of the comments in it), I won't even download and try DH5 no matter how "free" they make it. Remove the IAP's, timers and charge something close to what you did for the two first games, THEN we'll talk about me buying/downloading/trying anything that comes from Gameloft. Untill then, bye Gameloft!!!

  • Felipe Soratto

    So, the difference btw a male and female character is the boobs? Cause they have the same face design LOL

    • sivad

      In fairness, that's what distinguishes make/female to a lot of males.... 😉

      • sivad

        *male not make

  • Martymcsmartie

    I just find free to play games don't seem to work well for me. They look good sometimes but are just well-dressed money machines, despite anything to the contrary. Yes, some people play them without paying, but it tends to mean you have to put in a lot more grinding of some sort. The game is really out there for the people who drop the cash on it.....

    These companies are here to make money so I can't blame them at all. It's just a shame they've made some good games and ultimate feel this is the way to go, pretty sure people would pay for DH series if they followed on from DH2 in the same manner....

    I've never had a free game better on the whole than a paid for game. Hence why ports work well, you are happy to pay for a good quality game. But also premium games are good value in the long run for re-play value more too than pay-to-play....

    I'll expect to try this game, but I don't foresee it staying on my device for long, the mechanics just are not as enjoyable.....maybe this time I'll be proven wrong....

  • ste86uk

    Looking forward to giving it go and hoping it turns out good. I'm interested in trying staves but not sure as I haven't seen it in action so maybe a 2 hander

    • ste86uk

      Says that then watched this video....wondering if the ranged weapons like crossbow and staff let you get hit less as you don't have to go into melee

  • Travischan03

    Oh boy, am I excited about Timer: The Game 2015

  • Exact-Psience

    The effed up thing about this is that this looks friggin gorgeous for a free game, riddled with multiple currencies and an energy system.

    It's like, i want it, but i dont want it.

    • ste86uk

      I agree it does look great and can imagine it'll look so much better on my air 2 in person than in the videos.

      Really wanting and hoping that it's good and not too over the top with the free elements. Especially ones that restrict play.

  • Tyler Lundberg

    So can I play this game with my buddy's? Just like in diablo?

  • hkgsulphate

    IAPIAPIAPIAPIAPIAPIAPIAPIAPIAPIAPIAPIAPIAPIAPIAPIAPIAPIAP

  • Dennis

    For the love of god, make it a premium game with no IAP. I don't mind spending $7-$10.

  • tommet

    gameloft and ftp. yeaahhhh.... no. thanks. id pay a premium price for something like this, but ftp? pass

  • DuckyShot

    The only F2P game that I've invested A LOT of time into would be Dead Trigger2. Though I haven't played at all ever since the iAP-only weapon bundles were released.

  • Takhir Abdulkhalikov

    Hi! Do you live in Hong Kong ? Could you do me a small favor urgently, for a fee . If so, let me know atk.first@gmail.com

  • speetz

    Asynchronous multiplayer? What? Come on GAMELOFT, you can do better. At least have the option for either.

  • Flash Cloud

    Dungeon Hunter 5: IAP rebooted