Dungeons 4 hands-on preview — Return of the Recapitulated Evil

It’s tough work, being evil. Back in Dungeons 3, our favorite and most magnificent Evil, the Dungeon Lord, had decided to attack the nearby continent of…well, it doesn’t much matter. They were nearby and had the audacity to be good, and we simply can’t have that, can we? After corrupting their leader, Thalya, the evilness directed her to slaughter her own people, awakening the evil that was in her all along. You see, evil is apparently better when it’s shared – who knew? Using our newly-minted turncoat, we slowly crushed Tanos and seized his artifact – a powerful gauntlet.

If any of this sounds familiar, then you know precisely the humor that developer Realmforge has infused into every part of this series, and from our recent hands-on time with Dungeons 4, it’s only going…uphill? Downhill? I dunno. There’s humor. It’s topical. Let’s do this.

Dungeons 4 | (VERY FIRST!) Gameplay Teaser Trailer (US)

Remember Tanos? Well, it turns out that Thalya decided to bring that back to your evil stronghold, giving you a look at the exact same time she decided to show off just how loudly she could snap her fingers. Of all the rotten luck, that pretty much wiped out your entire empire! It’s hard to get good help these days. It’s a little worse when that help then attempts to take over your evil empire. Sigh. Thalya is just lucky you are the most benevolent evil, because her rule lasted for all of about 15 minutes. Time to pick up the pieces, dust off your lieutenants, and start over for the fourth time. It’s just our lot in life I suppose.

If you have played Dungeons before, you know what Dungeons 4 is about. You, as the most iniquitous lord, are responsible for building an ingenious dungeon full of devious and often painful traps to grind the forces of good into a fine paste. Digging in the dirt with your little snots for gold, making traps, and training the forces of chaos yields greater knowledge, more monsters, and even more evil spells. But it wouldn’t be much of a sequel if it just did what the previous game did, now would it? Of course not – it was a rhetorical question.

One of the first new modes for Dungeons 4 is an exciting one – a cooperative mode. Now you can co-manage the dungeon, splitting the evil work between you and a hopefully-evil friend. How you choose to split the work is up to you, but I’m also happy to confirm that it’s cross-platform and is baked directly into the campaign. Any work you do together is carried forward into your solo game – it’s not a special separate mode.

Dungeons 3 introduced a few dungeon dangers, occasionally giving you spiders and dwarves to tangle with if you delve too deep. Now you’ll find those dangers to be..well, a little more dangerous. As a reward, however, you’ll also find new treasures, threats, weapons, magic, and more. Thankfully your freshly-reformed-evil-buddy Thalya will also level up, grow, and gain new abilities to help you deal with whatever lies in the dark.

Do-gooders are a pain. Eventually they’ll get it into their heads that they should pop into your den of evil and try to take the goodies you so rightfully stole. How dare!? With a better connection between the overworld and underground (there was some sort of strange magical disconnect in the previous game – mystical forces at work, no doubt), but here we can more clearly see the intentions of the forces of good. We do have a dwarf problem, though…

Dwarves are a diminutive but disruptive force. These stubby little diggers will not only try to scrape the gold out of your treasuries, but will even use their own treasure to build rival bases. While we just had to worry about goodie-two-shoes before the snapping incident, it seems that pesky gauntlet just made our problems multiply. Since they can now unleash giant boss monsters, erect towers, and send in away parties, I guess it’s time to post some little snots as guards, I guess.

I went into my hands-on time with Dungeons 4 thinking it’d be new maps and new humor, and frankly that’d probably be near enough as the RealmForge team does such a great job with both that it could conceivably carry the entire game. Instead, we get a bunch of new modes, including the ability to play the game cooperatively with a friend. Moreover, the maps are HUGE now – over 4x the size of its predecessor! When you hit the fourth game in a game’s lifespan you expect it to be on life support, but somehow Dungeons 4 is better than ever. The best part? You can embrace your inner construction demon shortly – Dungeons 4 heads to PC, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5 on November 9th of this year!

Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief | [email protected]

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming.

Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter.

Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 27 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).

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