All hail the Absolute Evil! German studio Realmforge brings to Xbox One Dungeons 3, the third installment on strategy/simulation PC series. In this game, you take the role of the Dungeon Lord, who, after conquering the lands in Dungeon 2 and establishing his dark empire, launches an offensive to dominate a new continent. Controlling his first lieutenant, the dark elf Thalya, you’ll build your dungeons, gather your forces, emerge from the dark depths and guide your army to dominate the overworld. But it isn’t going to be a simple task: many heroes will be ready to stop you and destroy your Dungeonheart! Brace yourselves, heroes of the light! After reading this review, our Evil Lord will be ready to crush you all! Shall we, my lord?
- Being my first entry into the series, Dungeons 3 gameplay and level design really surprised me! The gameplay takes place in two environments: the underworld, where you build your dungeon, train your troops, feed them, build traps and research for spells and evil technologies, and the overworld, occupied by villages and heroes ready to defend them. Heroes will eventually adventure into your dungeons searching for gold and the Dungeonheart, a powerful crystal that represents your dungeon’s vitality and must be guarded at all costs (because, when it’s destroyed, the mission fails!). To avoid them from doing so, you must rally your troops to the surface world and accomplish some missions (most of them include to destroy barracks, villages or heroes).
- As action takes place in two different levels, you can switch between them at any time. And, for my surprise, to switch between the underworld and the overworld happens instantly, with no load screens, aiding its feeling of real-time.
- Graphically speaking, the game is outstanding! Both worlds, the underworld and overworld, are beautiful, very colorful, rich in details and very well animated (with all the animals and vegetation, the overworld feels much more alive, but they’re both great!). Characters, both friends and foes, are very detailed, colorful and have great animation as well.
- You have at your disposal a good number of different unities that really play different from each other. You can train goblins, orcs, ogres, succubus, skeletons, imps and many other creatures familiar to RPG worlds. Some are real tanks, ready to take loads of damage while taking down important targets while others can make big differences when attacking in numbers. Some will rush for an all-out attack while others will keep shooting from distance. Your enemies will also try different approaches with theirs ranks that include warriors, dwarves, hunters, mages and many others Warcraft-like classes and races.
- To manage your armies and dungeons will require a lot of planning. Your units need food and rest to be able to fight enemies, so you must always think about giving them some time to feed and to rest. To build units and research technologies, you must gather resources (some found underground and others only in the surface), so you must always explore the overworld in search for them. And you must always be ready for an enemy invasion: from time to time, you’ll face some heroes trying to destroy the Evil Lord dungeon, so you better get some troops, traps and spells ready for them!
- Music and sound effects are very good, giving the right mood and pace to the game. Its story is very interesting and enjoyable, but it wouldn’t be as pleasure as it’s if not for the majestic dubbing work performed for each character. Especially the narrator, who’s dubbed by Kevan Brighting (if you don’t know him, he’s also the narrator for The Stanley Parable, a great PC game from 2013), who’s always making funny commentaries and puns about the game and it’s many inspirations.
- Besides the campaign, that counts with missions that can be played in single or online coop, the game also offers a skirmish and a multiplayer mode (this last one with up to four online players – the more evil-doers, the better). In skirmish, you can try some different modes like endless and survival. I spent a lot of time exploring the long list of research options, traps, spells and more advanced units while playing in skirmish matches against the AI. Its random-generated maps are perfect for you to see everything the game has to offer.
- You play Dungeons 3 from an isometric point of view (like in Diablo 3, for instance), but it’s impossible to rotate the camera: you’re able only to zoom in or out or tilt the camera to the left or to the right. This is not something that compromises the game performance, but I couldn’t understand why not to make it available.
- Although characters have good graphics and animations, you’ll quickly notice you’re playing with an army of clones when using more than one of the same unit.
- Controls in the game are very unintuitive. Some commands only work in the underworld, while others only work on the surface. Developer did a great job adapting a mouse and keyboard game to the joystick, but some functions need some improvement.
- The tutorial for the game feels a little incomplete: It doesn’t explore all the options the game provides for you, making it hard for you to jump right into the skirmish and multiplayer modes. The game explains most of its mechanics and buildings only during the campaign, making it necessary for you to play it before venturing into multiplayer matches. Can’t remember how many matches I lost because I haven’t researched my technologies in the right order.
[Score: 7.8/10] Some still think strategy games doesn’t work on consoles and here’s Realmforge with Dungeons 3 to prove them wrong. They delivered a game with an immersive story, beautiful graphics and an astonishing dubbing work like few I’ve seen before. It’s authentic, it’s hilarious and it’s really funny and addictive to play! It has a long learning curve that you will need to dominate before heading to multiplayer battles, but it’s depth will compensate all your effort. Now you’re ready, my Evil Lord: your enemies will perish before you and your mighty army! May they face the Absolute Evil once more!
Dev: Realmforge Studios Publisher: Kalypso Media Digital
Played on: Xbox One | LifeisXbox received a digital Preview code, provided by Kalypso.
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.