When you first fire up this game, you are thrust into the middle of a battle with a demon tiger - a glimpse of the future, it seems. I don't know about you, but I have this thing where if a game starts off anywhere but the beginning or with a different character than the star, it automatically gains a few points in my books. Take for example, Neutopia II for the Turbo Grafx 16, where you start off fighting a giant squid-like creature as your father... I don't know what it is, but I just like it. I think it helps me keep my interest; appeals to my curiosity, perhaps. Whatever it is, it works.
So, with a game like this, you do need camera control, so what did they do with it? Well, they narrowed it down to rotation using the left and right triggers, as well as using the white button to allow you to enter a free-look mode (not unlike the one found in The Hobbit while in rock-throwing mode). It works well though.
Further into the cool factor of this game are the simple combos that you continually learn. Press one button, then another, and you'll do a different move. Sweep-kicks, jump-kicks, and so forth add much-needed variety to this game's combat system. There isn't tons of fighting in Pitfall, but these extra moves make it enjoyable.
If you don't like the standard running and crawling that you find in pretty much every game like this, then you will be amused at the ability to curl into a ball and roll your way through the jungle. Except, of course, when you need to swim, jump, climb, and swing from vines. All of these activities are easily accomplished due to the highly intuitive controls. Another nice touch is that the faster you press the swimming button, the faster Harry flails his arms. It's also cool to be able to slide down vines and swing on them back and forth. I also like how I can fall down nearly unlimited heights and not lose health. Sure, it's not realistic, but it means I don't have to worry about all the jumping puzzles as much (well, unless there is no bottom below).
Jumping over rolling logs and onto crocodile backs are elements that have translated well from the older games to this fully-3D environment. The enemies that you encounter will be sleeping (in which case you can tip-toe around them), throwing things at you, and so forth. A nice variety, and all in all, this game is a welcomed great new take on an old classic concept.
The in-game animations are good, and lots of little details are there, including lots of butterflies in the air, leaves and grass, as well as water ripples. Really, this game is a visual pleasure, and the graphical details don't detract from the superb gameplay.
The only bad thing about the graphics is that text is hard to read, at least for my bad eyes, in the menus. Luckily, you don't need to spend much time in there.
The character sounds are good too. Not too much repetition, and no major issues that I noticed with clipping or sounds cutting out abruptly. You can hear everything from the splashing of your arms in the water to the jaws of pit traps chewing on you. Harry's voices won't even get on your nerves because they aren't overused, which is definitely nice to see (or hear as the case may be).
The voice acting is great, and did I mention humorous? I loved the opening clip with the narration part. Quite a nice touch.
Overall, the sound works well with the gameplay, and I found that it is quite easy to immerse yourself in the game. If you were a fan of this series, the original game in particular, you would probably love this 3D adaptation.
Dark Alliance will be available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Windows 10 PC, and phones and tablets via Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta) with Xbox Game Pass on Day One, June 22! The game will also support PC and console cross play at launch!