Dungeons 3 has you playing as a Great Evil off the back of a recent inglorious victory, you are bored and feeling deflated. After all, what is the point of being evil if there is no good to conquer? You lock yourself away and emerge sometime later with a plan. Thanks to video game logic there is a landmass across the sea that you can go and lay to waste. So you set sail, thus begins what is an enjoyable and entertaining campaign of the purest evil and what is a solid RTS game.
The first thing that the game makes you aware of is it’s humour. It is filled to the point of bursting with pop culture nods, there are a plethora of Lord Of The Rings and Star Wars references throughout which will bring a smile to the face of many gamers. The writing is genuinely funny for the most part despite the occasional repetition during missions. In particular the interactions between the narrator and Thalya (the dark elf who you possess in the first mission) are generally very funny and regularly soaked in meta fourth wall humour.
The campaign itself does a great job of rolling out the various complexities of building a great dungeon and a vicious army to go along with it. You get new units and rooms as you go through the missions and it really helps you get to grips with what would feel like a lot to manage if you were just dropped into it. The tutorial is definitely a must play as the combination of above ground conquering and below ground base building is a little odd to get used but once you do the ideas click into place and the game is a lot of fun.
The base building is really enjoyable and learning to optimise your room placement to get the most out of your workers is very rewarding. As you unlock more rooms you will learn to change up the placement to fit the needs of the mission you are playing or to fit around your preferred units and tactics. You can fill the dungeon with a lot of different ways to defend against the pesky heroes who come to try and ruin your evil campaign. You can build guard rooms to house your units to help protect the dungeon core or you can deploy a variety of automatic and manual traps to do the job instead, it will come down to how you’ve decided to lay everything out and what the missions requires of you.
The above ground game plays a bit more like any RTS, you send your units to a place, your conquer it, you get more resources and then you unlock more research to push on further. The strategy isn’t overly complex but is still quite satisfying when you find a decent mix of units to see you through the mission. Crushing your enemies feels good and it is nice to have your units level up as you go through and get more and more powerful.
The controls feel a little clunky, some of the finer points like grabbing units or picking up some of the upgrades you find underground can get frustrating as the movement is nowhere near as pinpoint as it would be on a mouse and keyboard. While the control scheme isn’t bad as such, it just doesn’t work intuitively on a controller and a lot of the commands you have won’t feel right until you have adjusted. There are a lot of commands to remember and a lot of combination button presses which act as shortcuts to various different menus which are great after a while but still feel a little unnatural even later on in the game.
The sound is a very mixed bag. The high points being the voice acting, it is funny and well delivered with a great charm to it that is rare in a lot of games. The sounds of the various creatures going about their work is generally good and the different units also have their own sound clips and vocalisations which help define them. However, the cut scenes have obscenely bad mixing, the narration is completely steam rolled by the music that is blaring out over the top of it which is infuriating.
The look of the game is clean and simple which fits the game itself, there are much prettier games but the graphics aren’t bad as such. This being said there are some issues with how it actually runs during busier moments in each map. This is probably due to the game being a PC game not a console one, the frame rate crashes down significantly if there is too much going on on screen which makes the micromanagement tricky in times when you could really do with accuracy.
The game lets you play through the Campaign in co-op which is a great addition and adds a bit more play to the single player as it were. You also have a Skirmish mode which gives the game legs beyond just the story itself and is a lot of fun. Finally is a Multiplayer mode which is a little sparsely populated but is no doubt a lot of fun in the event you know people who own the game themselves.
Overall Dungeons 3 is fun despite it’s flaws and is a really interesting take in a genre which is full of clichés. The story is good and it is served brilliantly by the narration and the writing. It is just a shame it is let down by the performance issues and the control scheme. You can certainly push through the issues but it doesn’t stop them being there.
REVIEW CODE: A PS4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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