Rather than critique them separately, GameBanshee scribe Steven Carter has just finished penning a review of Din's Curse and its Demon War expansion pack as a combined collection. And while the game took home a couple of nods in our Game of the Year 2010 awards, Steven doesn't seem quite as enamored with it in his review:
The actual gameplay in Din's Curse is a little less exciting. You face a motley collection of monsters that do a variety of things (including bugs that burrow out of the floor, and blobs that break apart into smaller blobs), and you find equipment with lots of different qualities and bonuses, but those are basically the minimum requirement for an action RPG, and nothing in the combat engine makes Din's Curse stand out. Plus, the game is pretty repetitive. There isn't anything in the way of a story, or landmarks, or memorable characters, and enemies are tuned to your level, so the game is all about grinding just for grinding's sake.
The quests also leave me wanting a bit more. On the plus side, they're all in real-time, so if you're alerted that some townspeople are starving, then they won't just wait patiently for you to show up. If you take too long then they might die or leave, and you'll have fewer NPCs in your town. Similarly, the longer you take to save a town the more powerful the bosses in the dungeon become, and the more machines of war they make (including anti-magic devices, which spawn random anti-magic zones for you to dodge). But on the down side, the quests are pretty trivial. Almost every one uses the format "Go to level X and kill Y or destroy Z or find A copies of B," and you just repeat them over and over again. Demon War helps with this a little, but it doesn't take long to see each quest multiple times.