by Marjolein Verheij
previewed on PC
What do you do when you have successfully united the forces of evil and established your dark empire? Exactly, look at the Kingdom to the East and take that next step in your evil quest: expansion!
Dungeons 3 starts off right after Dungeons 2: A Game of Winter in which the Dungeon Lord has been victorious in bringing all factions together. Bored after having achieved his mission of vanquishing all the heroes in the kingdom, he seeks out a new chief lieutenant to start a new evil adventure. Dark elf priestess Thalya, raised by Tanos - a paladin of light - is the perfect victim erm… general. At the beginning she’s conflicted about her heritage versus her upbringing. Evil wins, of course, and she sets out to take revenge against the do-gooder humans, elves and dwarves who have always looked down on her and, ultimately, confront Tanos.
The dungeon part of the game has been greatly expanded upon. You are in charge of the 3 factions - Demons, Undead and Horde - and have 3 particularly varied skill trees to pick skills from and create your own play style. Horde are the trap-setting and hard-hitting underlings, Demons use magic spells and the Undead are hard to kill (obviously) and can resurrect fallen heroes to join your cause. Combining the strengths of the three factions leads to great things. Trap crates created by the Horde and used to build traps in your dungeon can be infused by magic from the other factions to create even stronger traps. Each of the factions comes with its own titan unit of which you can have only one each. We don’t have much detail here yet but we know that there’s an Ogre for the Horde faction and a Grave Golem for the Undead.
Your lowest minions, the Snots, are a bit faster this time. Fans of the game felt they were a bit slow in the previous games which especially impacted the early stages of a new map – a nice bit of fan service. Leveling up creatures has changed a bit too: they will level automatically as long as the prerequisites, such as certain buildings or a steady supply of beer, are met.
As before, you build and expand your dungeon by underground tunneling, digging for gold and creating rooms for production and research. But creating means defending and this time that involves more than just defending the entrances and your dungeon heart. Heroes wander in not only through the dungeon’s fixed entrances but also create portals of their own to randomly pop up in the middle of your dungeon. Their objectives vary. Instead of heading straight for your dungeon heart, some might only come to steal a bit of your gold, or to kill a specific creature that has proven particularly prolific at killing their friends. You can capture these invading heroes and either torture them long enough for them to turn over to the dark side, or let them die in various gruesome ways to come back as ghouls or skeletons. Either way, they’ll end up under your control!
Your goal for the overworld is, of course, to turn everything from a fluffy, colourful fantasy world into a dark and evil hell. To do this you need to conquer “isles” that sit on the map and ooze out good or evil depending on their owner. Spells can now be used everywhere in the overworld, even if an area has not been evil-fied yet. Managing the battles , both in the overworld and below, is a bit easier as many of the special skills and abilities of your creatures are used automatically.
The forces of the light will also try and retake the overworld (something that was sorely missed in the previous games), so not only do you need to keep an eye on your dungeon’s economics, but you will also need to revisit the overworld to keep control.
Evil with friends
A new feature in Dungeons 3 is an in-game encyclopedia to help understand players what the plethora of rooms do and explain the strengths and weaknesses of the various creatures. Another improvement is the Evil Hand (with which to pick up your creatures), which now has a cursor next to it to makes selecting objects and creatures more accurate. Besides the “set-pieces” 20 missions in the campaign that can be played singleplayer or cooperatively, there are random maps for multiplayer skirmishes for up to 4 players.
Dungeons 3 is shaping up to be even more fun than its predecessor and in just 1.5 months you can let your evil out to play. Time to get your evil on!