Dungeons 2 has appeared for PS4 owners, continuing Kalypso’s dedication to bring PC-only titles to console owners and thus giving them something to play that’s a bit out-of-the-ordinary. Let’s see how well this one fares…
Not surprisingly, Dungeons 2 is all about Dungeons – in the same way that Dungeon Keeper was. It’s not a game like Dungeon Master that has you exploring dungeons alone or with a band of heroes – but instead puts you at the head of an evil underground empire, lurking in the depths.
The game takes places a while after you’ve been defeated, and of course you’re hell bent on taking revenge and destroying the heroes (as well as their villages). This is where Dungeons 2 breaks up into two big chunks. There’s a dungeon management part, which is the majority of the game, as well as a real time strategy game where you take the fight to the enemy.
In ‘dungeon mode’, you craft your dungeon, carefully balancing resources to make sure your minions (orcs/goblins) stay loyal and your dungeon is safe from invaders. You can mine for resources, but your followers will only do so if you reward them – and their preferred reward is beer. You can also train followers to become guards and take down bands of adventurers that come into your lair, or you can take the alternative route and lay down traps instead.
With your role as ‘ultimate evil’ comes a sense of dark humor. This is evident in the game’s animations (think traps), but especially when it comes to the game’s narration, which is often cynical and sarcastic. It adds to a fun experience, although it’s not always clear exactly how you’re supposed to remedy a situation that is being commented on. Much like in Kalypso’s Tropico 5, a better tutorial would have helped in this regards.
Dungeons 2 is far less complex than Tropico though, and this is especially true when it comes to the RTS sections of the game. When you feel strong and confident enough, you can take the fight to the surface (called the ‘overworld’) to wreak havoc upon the settlements of those that sent heroes your way before.
The idea for the overworld sections is extremely cool (in an ‘ultimate vengeance’ kind of way), but plays out rather simplistically. In most (if not all) cases battles are just a matter of amassing a large enough force to just go straight for your target, and strength in numbers will win the battle for you. This is a shame, because there’s a lot of potential (think back to the original Warcraft games) for a great real time strategy scenario here. Instead of an integral layer on top of your dungeon mode, it feels a little tacked on now.
While Dungeons 2 is far from perfect, it’s unique on the PS4 and worth playing for the dungeon sections alone. The experience – especially in terms of the RTS sections – could have been much more refined, but perhaps this is a step that Dungeons 3 will take – if it’s ever announced. For now, consider this a rare chance to enjoy some dungeon management on your PS4, and one less reason to invest in a gaming PC.