Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dungeon Defenders Review

I recently heard the term AAA Indie game and Dungeon Defenders absolutely falls into that category. It is well made game that is full of content and the developers at Trendy Entertainment obviously know how to work the unreal engine to a great effect. It merges rpg and tower defense quite well, always giving you equipment and stats to upgrade throughout the game. I've been playing the game over the last week, managing to get in around thirty hours and four characters between level 15-30. You can play the game single player, but it is intended to be played cooperatively with up to three other players. The online system, Trendynet, works very well. It had some hiccups when it first started, but now it runs pretty smoothly and rarely do I experience any problems what so ever. It should also be noted that I have never experienced any kind of lag due to multiplayer. Your characters are sorted by if you play ranked or unranked online and you cannot trade, or interact, between the two sets of characters. There doesn't seem to be any reason to play unranked though, seeing as how ranked is the only way to earn achievements/trophies.

One of the major draws of this game is the content, because it has an impressive amount for an indie game. Dungeon Defenders lets you level your character to level 70, something that takes quite a long time, it also let's you share your loot with anyone, including your own characters. It has a decent amount of campaign levels, lasting you about 5-10 hours if you play them straight through, but there are four different difficulties and the higher difficulty the better the rewards. The levels play out by having you fight waves of enemies and all of the levels have different approaches for the enemies to take, meaning most levels require a different strategy, but many levels can be handled by barricading off areas. To successfully barricade off areas you will need to combine the strategies of different classes, but the Apprentice and Squire, the two easiest classes, can do a pretty good job with just their own towers. The four classes are the Squire (Knight), Apprentice (Mage), Monk and Huntress. For more information on the classes check out my post about them.

I could go on quite a while about the many aspects of this game, but I will spare you that and just tell you my likes and dislikes.

+Easy to learn combat system
+Deep customization and rpg options
+Great level design
+Challenges provide a nice change to gameplay
+Four classes are quite different
+Classes do actually pertain to their recommend difficulty
+Pet's are great stat boosters and fighting companions
+Difficulty scales to players
+Build units restrict the number of towers you can build, requiring you to think strategically
+The advanced classes must work with others
+Can play the game successfully alone, but not with every class
+Loot gets automatically divided, if no one wants it, between players at the end of a wave
+A decent variety of monsters to fight
+Inventory is easy to manage
+Tavern provides a place to test your skills without repercussions
-Combat is a little too simple
-More players equal more enemies, meaning waves can last a very long time
-Some camera issues
-Waves are not balanced;
    They are often quite easy until the very last wave, which is often punishingly difficult

+Great environments
+Levels get continually more impressive through the campaign
+Graphical style is molded very well around the UT3 engine
+Impressive character models
+Impressive graphics in general for a downloadable game
-Animations can be a little stiff

Lasting Appeal
+Seventy levels to earn
+Items can be upgraded, saved, traded or passed on to new characters
+A massive variety of weapons and armor to collect
+Quite a few campaign levels, plus challenge levels
+Four different difficulties to conquer
+PVP Arena for fun
+New Content already on the way
+Four classes to master
-Classes earn all abilities by level 20

Dungeon Defenders Gameplay Video - Violent Gamer

Closing Comments
Dungeon Defenders is a hard game not to like. You can be nit picky about all kinds of details, like the basic combat system or camera controls, but when you compare it to other $15 downloadable indie games then you can easily notice the great level of quality. The rpg elements and tower defense aspects all feel fresh, but familiar. Each class is different enough to make you want to try them all out, but it's easy to just pick one and try to get max them out. This game isn't for everyone though, if you don't like the repetitive qualities of tower defense games than you should stay away from this one, but if you like TD or rpg elements then you will likely enjoy the game. It has it demo out on XBLA, PSN and PC (Steam), so do check it out. Thanks for reading and I hope you give this game a chance, it offers so much for $15.

Violent Score: 9 (out of 10) 

-Written by Sean Cargle


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