31st May2017

Digital Shorts: ‘Dynasty Feud’ Review (PC)

by Matthew Smail

In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition we take a look at Dynasty Feud, a multiplayer platform brawler available now on PC/Steam.


Dynasty Feud is an ambitious and feature rich take on the classic, chaotic combat of games like Super Smash Bros, dressed in a pixel art theme. There are several things that mark Dynasty Feud out as different, including the dynastical element that gives the game its name. In the most basic versus mode, players each choose a dynasty that represents a historic clan or faction, for example Vikings, Samurai or a set of redneck Cowboys. Each dynasty has a strong theme, with colourful, named characters taking up the fight and representing each class, which feels important in a game like this because it increases the feeling of engagement.

The fighting is chaotic and fun, but very challenging to excel at. Each starting dynasty features a decent mix of characters to allow players to get used to the controls, which are as meaty and responsive as I would expect from such a twitch-response focussed game. On average, levels are tougher to navigate than in similar games, and this is where the pixel-art element starts to show. A good example is one of the initial stages, which has two trains running parallel to one another and demands that players manage both the complexities of the fight and of the intricate, ever changing landscape.

Whilst both local and multiplayer content are catered for (including an allstars mode that allows players to create their own dynasty from among the available characters) single player is very light. Skirmishes against the AI can be had, but there’s no real purpose to them, and at present there is no campaign or story mode of any kind. New dynasty’s are unlocked through repeated matches in any mode, and there’s no real challenge here – it’s just a case of the more you play, the more you gain access to.

Thankfully, where Dynasty Feud excels is in the actual fighting department, because it really is very enjoyable. Online play supports up to four players, inclusive of multiple players on a single PC. Local multiplayer is positively encouraged, but personally, I have a very traditional PC setup with only a single pad, and no connection (either wired or via streaming) to the main television. This is likely to be a restricting factor for the PC version of Dynasty Feud, as I suspect I am not alone, but I understand that there is also a PS4 version incoming that will probably enable more people to access local multiplayer.

Once battle is joined, players can switch between the members of their dynasty at will, enabling experienced combatants to adapt to almost any situation. Each character has particular strengths and weaknesses such as the ability to shoot arrows, throw axes or fire gatling guns, and the arc of fire (or swing) and range of weapons varies dramatically. Most attacks kill with a single hit, so each character has a form of dodge that also suits their play style, and players can switch between characters (that have not been killed) at will to enable them to adapt to any given situation. The controls are simple and easy to learn, but the best use of each character for each situation, and the ability to reliability hit other players takes time to master.

Whilst I feel that the appeal of Dynasty Feud on PC might be somewhat limited by the accessibility of local multiplayer to the broadest spectrum of gamers, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game. In fact, it’s a really good one, that has some good ideas and presents a lot of depth to those who will take the time to access it. For some though, playing the game will be restricted to online games only, which deaden the excitement somewhat, and because there is no single player mode, long term appeal will wax and wane.

*** 3/5


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