Dark Delve

There are some very good RPGs available on the XBLIG channel these days, and Dark Delve stands out as one of the finest.
It begins with a little storyline, setting the scene for your adventures. You then move on to create your party, which can be put together with up to four members chosen from three character types: Warrior, Rogue and Mage. You are allowed to have multiple party members of each type and, should you wish, you can opt to play with less than the maximum party number. All experience gained in game is divided equally amongst your chosen characters, so having less of them means they will level up faster. This all helps customise the game to fit your own play style and encourages experimenting with different set-ups.

Once you're happy with your selection the game begins. You start in the city, which acts as your main hub, where you have a selection of places you can visit. There's an Inn, where you can rest up and regain life and magic points as well as Endurance (more on that soon). You can visit the Sage, who can analyse any relics you find during your adventuring and will offer advice with gaming tips, the odd clue, and some storyline tidbits. There's also a Shop for equipment trading, and an Apothecary where you can have any herbs found broken down into their essences and converted into potions.
While the city is represented as a static screen with a menu on it, once you enter the Castle Ruins it changes to a first person perspective. This is where you'll be spending most of your time, so it's a good thing that the 3D dungeon is nicely put together, with some varied textures and good level design. There's lots to do once inside the dungeon, with plenty of rooms and corridors to explore, loot to find, some light puzzle elements, and lots of enemies to do battle with.

The battle system is turn based and has a good amount of depth to it. During each turn you have a selection of options to chose from. You can Attack, Defend, use an Item, Special Skills, Combo Breaks, or attempt to run away. Each time you land an attack on an enemy you get a point on your Combo Chain (up to a maximum of five points), and during any of your turns you can opt to break your combo and unleash a Combo Break move, the more points you have in the chain, the more powerful the move will be. One thing I found particularly handy during battles was the ability to highlight any enemy and pull up a brief description of them by hitting the Y button, this will generally give you a good idea of their strengths and weaknesses allowing you to adapt your strategy to each situation.
After each battle you are awarded a rating based on your performance, the higher the rating the more health and magic points you will recuperate and the better the loot you'll receive. You also gain gold and experience points.
Every time you level up in Dark Delve the general stats of your character will adjust automatically. You'll also be given a Skill Point, which can be put into your Special Skills. Each character type has 3 skill sets to chose from (for example, the Warrior has Barbarian, Knight and Paladin available) and adding points to them unlocks new Special Skills such as attacks, passive skills and combo breaks.
Every action you perform while in the dungeon, be it movement, fighting or exploring, uses up Endurance. You only have a set amount (represented by an hourglass in the top right corner of the screen) and once you run out you will no longer recuperate health and magic points at the end of a battle. The only way to regain Endurance is to return to the city and rest at the Inn, or to find an Altar in the dungeon, fortunately you can leave the Castle Ruins at any time by returning to the entrance.

There really is a lot of depth to Dark Delve and, with some fairly large maps to explore, you'll get quite a few hours of play time out of it with just the campaign mode alone. However, as if that weren't enough, the developers have added some extra challenges that see you playing shorter scenarios with a pre-set party. These are a lot of fun and offer a different different kind of challenge to the main campaign.
While isn't much of a storyline in Dark Delve, the gameplay itself more than makes up for it. All in all, Dark Delve is a very polished offering that's packed with lots of content for a very low price. I'd recommend this game very highly to anyone who likes RPGs. If that's you then get it now, you won't be disappointed!

Get Dark Delve on XBox 360