by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on PC
We've been on top of Dungeons 2 ever since we first saw it in action last year. Its predecessor, dating back from 2011, was fun but we would have - loved - the game if it had resembled Dungeon Keeper just that little bit closer. Well we're not alone in that, and as EA continues to not take the Dungeon Keeper IP seriously it has left publisher Kalypso and Realmforge plenty of room to remedy the situation. A few weeks from now, Dungeons 2 will launch as a true "spiritual" successor to Dungeon Keeper.
I am going to make a bold statement: fans are going to eat this up as the Horned Reaper's second coming.
We've already written a lot about how Dungeons 2 resembles Dungeon Keeper now, and have delved into the new overworld in which you can take the evil fight to the good guys up top. The mix between the two makes the game that much more interesting, essentially adding a whole new gameplay layer into the already fun dungeon building and defending experience.
I'll let you read our other previews to get some more details on the above and focus on the newly announced Demon faction instead. So far we've only monkeyed around with the Horde, bringing Goblins, Nagas, Orcs and Trolls into our evil fold. The new Demon faction shuffles things up a bit. You're still in charge of the dungeon, but subtle changes give add a different flavour to an already tasty game.
The Horde's predominantly green and brown aesthetics make way for reds, blues and purples, giving you the sense that not raw power but to magic reigns supreme in your dungeon. Summoning followers also yields a different kind of army with illustrious names such as Infested, Shadow Lurkers, Mistresses and Infernals. The names may change, but with roles like worker, researcher, fighter and builder, the roster is very similar.
Not all of the differences are superficial though. Where Orcs fortify rooms in their spare times, Mistresses enjoy whipping other minions, causing them to work harder. The trapped treasure chests that work so well for the Orcs are replaced with spider eggs which spawn tiny spiders that attack incoming enemies. To entertain your demons, beer is simply too tame an option - demons are, after all, not that easily amused. A Torture Chamber where creatures can find leisure in whipping human subjects provides infinite fun instead. The Admiration Chamber also proves to have distracting properties and doubles as a place of healing. Contrary to the Horde's hospital, it is available without requiring any research.
There is a short period during I struggled with finding my Demon footing but after half an hour or so I was familiar enough with the differences to keep up with everything required to run my dungeon.
The preview build is obviously still a work in progress. Some of the information windows have not been translated into English yet and I hit a few bugs and a singular crash. In most cases such inconveniences would make me stop playing once I have gathered enough information to write my preview. Yet Dungeons 2 devilishly keeps calling my name and it has proven very difficult to walk away from it. If a beta already has this effect, I'm not sure I want to find out what the final game will do to me.