by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
Under, over (cntd)
Things flip around in the overworld. Here you are the master of precise combat but magic is only available within regions that you have made your own through conquest. Once you clear an area of do-gooders, the landscape changes. Things start out lush, green and defended by all sorts of pink, white and blue goodcreants (I invented a word there, how delightfully evil of me) but when you are done, the lushness makes place for barren rock, malformed animals and green goo. With magic finally in place, you can for instance recall fallen creatures back to your dungeon where peons automatically drag them to the nearest available hospital to be nurtured back to health. Conquering the overworld is done section by section, often earning points towards upgrading your dungeon which, in turn, unlocks new spells, rooms and room extensions.
Expanding your territory in the overworld can potentially yield creature upgrades, as well as the occasional health or mana potion. These are used to quickly bring your creatures back into the action, which is both frantic and plentiful. Tunneling through the underground unearths all kinds of surprises besides gold deposits and mana crystals. There are hidden rooms defended by spiders, friendly units that join your course and enough upgrades to outfit your army.
Dungeons 2 feels like a very polished, well-made game and successfully maintains that feeling throughout its elaborate campaign. Yet that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few small cracks to be found. The worst offender is sending your army through gates that lead to the overworld. You pick up your creatures and then drop ‘m on the gate, after which they automatically traverse to the surface. Or so you would expect. More than once I found myself staring at a fair sized number walking back to the center of my dungeon. Try as I might, I could not find a better spot to drop them. In most cases, this wasn’t a big problem, but on a few occasions you are on the clock and trying again means losing valuable seconds. As this problem seems to be tied to a specific map, I’m confident it will be fixed before long.
Another minor issue is finding the right room on the map. Imagine wanting to drop your hurt creatures into the beds of your hospital so that they can heal before the next invasion arrives. You would want to get there fast, right? With all rooms showing as green tiles on the minimap, you may find the search to last a little longer than you had wanted.
Dungeons 2 is a riot! More than 50 hours down the line I am still enjoying it every bit as much as I did in its opening moments. The game is full of action, changes gameplay as fast as the Dutch weather and it is - even - funnier than watching an hour’s worth of Fox News.
Looking at Dungeons, it’s clear as day that we don’t need EA for a true Dungeon Keeper experience. This is it, and then some. Realmforge picked up Horny the Horned Reaper’s gauntlet and slapped him in the face. Now, all he can do is watch jealously from the sidelines while Dungeons 2 runs off with the prize.
It’s “Dungeon Keeper plus”, what’s not to like?
Say goodbye to your love life for a week or two.