Dungeon Legends 2: Tale of Light and Shadow by Dreaming Wizard Games, Łukasz Radziejewicz
Dungeon Legends 2: Tale of Light and Shadow is a grid-based 3D dungeon exploration game in the style of the classic Dungeon Master (and the more recent revival Legend of Grimrock).
Here, the traditional features of the subgenre are combined with the twist of “AI-assisted” dialogue in an effort to craft a new kind of dungeon-crawling adventure.
Same Old Dungeon, Different Day
The story of Dungeon Legends 2 is classic grim fantasy; a city has fallen under siege by undead horrors and the local scholars have determined that the only way to stop this enemy is to find a long-lost artifact, the Dragonblood Crystal, buried somewhere under an abandoned castle named Drakensburg.
The intro does a decent job of establishing the world, although I found the strange, whispered narration a little distracting. I also noticed some strange imagery, including a knight with a rather warped face that forced me to wonder if more than dialogue is AI-assisted.
For those familiar with grid-based adventuring games, Dungeon Legends 2 won’t be breaking new ground; the navigation and combat are unfortunately both unremarkable. The genre isn’t exactly built around creating a dynamic combat experience but Dungeon Legends 2 manages to push it into really rather bland territory.
Magic is more enjoyable than using weapons, offering an assortment of options for frying the many monsters scampering around the dungeon.
One interesting quirk is that the spells all have short cool-downs, but if you load the same spell into all four slots, each slot has its own cool-down, allowing for rapid-fire casting. I don’t know if this is intended, but it at least speeds things up.
Rat Kings and Bad Things
Speaking of unintended features, Dungeon Legends 2 has a fair few glitches both minor and troublesome.
An early quest had me retrieving a magical tree’s eye – don’t ask – from a rat king. The rat demanded a favor of his own before he would hand over the eye but as the conversation ended, I hit F12 to take a screenshot, and the hotkey opened up nearby storage: in this case, that of the rat king. I was free to withdraw the eye without consequences, allowing me to bypass his quest entirely.
The rat king offers other helpful services by way of glitch: he cannot die, but you can gain XP for damaging him with magic. He doesn’t seem to mind this, either, the accommodating fellow.
More egregiously, on reaching a new floor I found an intermittent glitch that caused the art splash screen to stay in place, preventing progress and forcing a restart.
Probably the most touted feature of Dungeon Legends 2 is its reliance on AI-assisted dialogue for some of its characters. I had a little fun toying with this and seeing how far I could push it; it turns out the aforementioned magic tree knows quite a bit about cars, The Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars.
It’s all a bit immersion-breaking but to its credit there seems to be some effort to contextualize out-of-universe information as coming from “beyond this realm.”
It’s an interesting feature but really only as entertaining as messing around with any AI-based text generation technology, and I feel like bespoke dialogue would serve this narrative more dutifully.
Dungeon Legends 2 is a strange creation; it has a couple interesting features, but the sum of its parts feels perfunctory and held back by an assortment of glitches.
The titular dungeons are made challenging more through an unnecessarily labyrinthine mess of tunnels than through clever puzzles and design choices, while the combat punctuating the exploration feels…well…lacking in punch.
If you’re looking for more grid-based adventuring then there is some classic exploration to enjoy here, but it will need a lot of polish before it can rival its predecessors.
Dungeon Legends 2: Tale of Light and Shadow is available via Steam.
Watch the trailer for Dungeon Legends 2: Tale of Light and Shadow below: