I do want to say that upon reflection, this wasn't the ideally lit situation in which to test in that the shadows aren't as pronounced as I remembered them; however, the results are pretty clear. The shadow sections of the picture brighten up when Active D-Lighting is on. Personally, I like it; however, as with all things photographic, it is a matter of personal preference. However, to categorically say it doesn't have any impact without Nikon software, or that it is detrimental without Nikon software, could be misleading.
The pictures are captioned with the Active D-Lighting setting. While I shot this picture at all of the Active D-Lighting settings, I only uploaded off, High, and auto settings.
I should also add I shot these with the camera set at Aperture Priority (they all came out to f4 at 1/60), ISO 6400, SB-800 flash (which did fire). The camera was on a tripod and from shot to shot, I only changed the ADL setting. EXIF data confirms that all of the other exposure settings remained the same. This was an indoor, museum setting so ambient lighting did not change during my shoot.