We’ll never get Dungeon Keeper 3, but in a few days we will get Dungeons 3, sequel to a not-Bullfrog spiritual remake that took the long way round to evoking its revered forebear. Dungeons 1 was a hot mess, but in our Dungeons 2 review I felt it made a pretty decent fist of the ol’ monster-management + RTS combat formula. Dungeons 3 [Steam page], all of a sudden out next week (we newsed it back in February but this was the first I’d heard of it, and I’m the only one who matters), looks like it’s trying to refine that even further.
‘Refine’ in this case means ‘even more slightly obvious humour and some unfortunately 90sy character models’ in addition to more buildable rooms and monsters, plus overhauled controls for the rather Warcrafty overworld battles (which were a bit of a drag in D2). The Dungeon Keeper die-hard in me is pleased to see a return of the feature whereby prisoners turn into subservient spooks – or, in this case, skellingtons – if you leave them to starve to death, plus the torture system looks a lot more line with DK’s.
All told, the impression I get from videos like above is that of confusion as to how much is actually new and how much is merely tinkered with – no solid-gold ‘aha, that is why I must play this’ element, in other words. But I’m not sure any DK game, or DK-descended game, ever did that anyway – it was always about the combination of parts, of trying to apply order to the free-wheeling chaos of trying to keep monsters happy enough to fight for you.
Dungeons 2 did enough right in terms of monstrous plate-spinning that I’ll certainly give this a look, even if the whole gag-spamming, panto-evil narrator shtick frankly feels played out to me. That is the returning voice of the Stanley Parable’s narrator, Kevan Brighting, in the video above, who’s rather ably demonstrating that you’re only as good as the material you’re given.
If you are the kind of blind optimist who unwisely pre-orders videogames, you may be interested to hear that putting down speculative money on Dungeons 3 via Steam snags you a ‘free’ copy of Dungeons 2. D3 itself, meanwhile, is out on – when else? – next Friday the 13th of October. Because scary monsters, see.