Dungeon Defenders is a four player cooperative tower defense action/strategy/RPG developed by Trendy Entertainment and published by Reverb Communications. It is a downloadable title and currently available on the PC, XBOX Live Arcarde, Mobile/Tablet Platforms, and the PlayStation Network. This review is based on the PlayStation 3 version.
What is this game all about? How can it incorporate all of these different genres?
The game is set in a fantasy world called Etheria. Etheria is filled with legendary heroes who battled ancient evils and trapped them inside Eternia Crystals. While out and about, these brave heroes left their younger kin in charge of chores and castle duties. Like most normal yewts they accidentally unleash an evil force and it's up to the youngsters to stop it.
To call this game an action/strategy/RPG, is saying a lot.
It is difficult to classify it into a one specific genre because it contains all of these elements, but at it's heart it is a tower defense game.
The main objective is to defend Eternia crystals against hordes of enemies such as orcs, skeletons, ogres, and even dragons who seek to destroy the crystals. Each level is separated by a number of waves which gets increasingly harder as you continue on. In addition to pouring in hundreds of various enemies, mini-bosses will often appear and levels usually end with a major boss. It can be nerve wracking trying to keep track of everything, but it is this chaotic and tense gameplay that keeps you coming back for more.
Don't think that this is just a pure action game, you have many tools at your disposal. In between each of the action oriented Combat Phases is the strategic Build Phase. During this phase you are given the opportunity to set up your traps and defenses. Each of the characters brings something different to the table. It is necessary to have a mix of classes and play each of their strengths. Once your team is comfortable with the defense strategy, the Combat Phase can begin.
No matter how great you are in combat, your defensive strategy can really make or break the wave.
How many different characters can you choose from?
You can choose between an Apprentice (Wizard), Squire (Knight), Huntress, and Monk. Each of the cute fantasy inspired characters has its own charm. I am dividing up my time between the Wizard and the Knight. I happen to like the way they look and their style of play. The Wizard relies on ranged attacks and magical structures (like magic fireball towers), whereas the Knight focuses on melee and strong defensive structures. The Knight also has THE best overall defenses in the game. You will have a tough time getting through each of the levels without at least one Knight in your party. Let me rephrase that, "you will have a very tough time getting through each of the levels without at least one Knight who knows what he is doing in your party."
You also have the option of buying yourself a familiar. They have griffins, tiny dragons, imps, fairies and if you have the Steam version you can even get Team Fortress 2 characters. Depending on what kind of pet you choose, they can aid you in distinct ways. As you level them up they can grow in size or if you so desire, you can trade them to other players.
Like a typical RPG, you can level up your characters and customize them by adding points to various stats. You will also come across a lot (and I mean a lot!) of equipment. The system is designed so that you can access your loot from all of your different characters, what a nice touch. Unfortunately new equipment doesn't change your character's look on the screen and to me, this is a huge letdown. One of the great things about games with loot is seeing how different your character looks when you put on some new equipment. We can add this to the "things to do list" if they ever release a sequel.
How difficult is this game?
On medium settings each level is going to be challenging and you can forget playing this game alone, I couldn't even get past the initial level by myself. If you don't intend on playing this game cooperatively (which I never do), then I would stay away from this game. It truly was intended to be played cooperatively and this is where you will have the most fun.
How is the online play?
Every online game I play is with strangers, and most of them don't have mics. Unfortunately I don't know many people with PS3s and the ones that do, do not own this little known game, it's a shame really. Thankfully, the online lobby system works out great and you can even join a game in progress. Trust me when I say, the inability to join a game in progress would have been a deal breaker for me.
Perhaps it is pure luck but I didn't have too many terrible experiences playing this game on the PSN network. There were a couple of kids I had to mute because they were going on and on, and one guy who was acting like an idiot. A couple minutes of screwing around equals game over.
Thankfully, if your team wipes, you can continue on from the previous wave so you don't have to restart the entire level again. This is a godsend because some of these levels can go on for close to an hour.
I hate using the cliche "It's great for a downloadable game" but it's great for a downloadable game. There's always some idea that downloadable titles are inferior to its more expensive retail brethren but this is not always the case. There are many great games that range from free to $15 and Dungeon Defenders proves that.
It's easily the best downloadable game I have played this year and features more content and addictive gameplay than most AAA titles.
If you've got an internet connection, a bustling fondness for adventure, and $15 you need to get Dungeon Defenders. Its blend of action/strategy/RPG in a tower defense game is unique and refreshing, it will keep you busy for a very long time.
Review is a segment about my opinion on things. I like things, and you like things too. Before you run off and buy something, you should check out my review. Chances are if I like it, it’s probably awesome.