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Dungeons & Dragons: Tactics

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This winter, fans of Dungeons & Dragons will have yet another way to avoid actually playing their favorite tabletop game. Unlike Neverwinter Nights or D&D Online, though, Dungeons & Dragons: Tactics is a no-nonsense, combat-centric adventure that lets players fight monsters the way they were meant to be fought: on a grid, in turns.

It may not look too pretty from the screens we have here, but Tactics has a few interesting things going for it. For starters, players won't be shoehorned into a completely linear quest; instead, the quests offered the player will change depending on the alignments - lawful good, chaotic evil and so on - of your six adventurers.

Like in other D&D games, those adventurers will be player-created and fully customizable, and you'll have 10 or more different classes to choose from (including two with psionic powers). And when one of your characters dies, you'll be able to replace him or her with a character of the same level - there's no wasting time trying to build up a disproportionately weak adventurer here.

So far, we've only seen one of the game's (admittedly dreary-looking) dungeon levels, but Tactics will also feature outdoor battles and trips to the astral planes. Those who get sick of adventuring alone can try out at least four different multiplayer modes, letting you battle or join forces with up to three friends. You'll also be able to trade characters if you somehow get bored with the ones you made.

Downloadable content is planned as well, and if new quests and battles (or even new classes) are part of that package, then Dungeons & Dragons: Tactics might even rival the pen-and-paper version for sheer longevity.

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