Reviews

Published on October 27th, 2011 | by Ben Gray

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Review: Dungeon Defenders

Review: Dungeon Defenders Ben Gray
Gameplay
Visual Style
Story

Summary: Ben takes a look at Dungeon Defenders, is it any good? read the review to find out!

3.5


User Rating: 4.5 (1 votes)
I try not to get too excited for downloadable games. Most of the time the anticipations drives expectations, therefore leaving me with a result more sour than sweet, Hydrophobia and Breach are examples of underwhelming aftermath, in my case that is. However, every now and then, perhaps once or twice a year at most, an anticipated title will match or even exceed my ridiculously high expectations, and after tackling the interesting but cramped mobile version earlier in the year, I can gladly say that Dungeon Defenders is one of those exceptional titles that you can’t afford to miss, even amongst this frantic retail frenzy in recent months. To quickly summarize just what Dungeon Defenders is all about, it’s a blend of action, RPG and tower defense, shaken around and poured into a delicious chocolate milkshake. Yes, chocolate. I hate strawberries. After putting well over thirty hours in to reviewing this mammoth, I feel as if I have only just scratched the surface of a game with enormous levels of depth, unbelievable for a downloadable title. One of the many complaints about the $10 price tag on some downloadable titles is that it does not deliver the value for money expected to justify. In the case of Dungeon Defenders, I feel like I’m cheating on the developers, Trendy Entertainment, and with every hour that passes by playing it, there’s a sense of debt in which I now owe them something. This is because the game maintains a perfect balance of leveling versus content, there’s always something fresh to do most of the time. Simultaneously, the game is consistently rewarding, and new options are opened up to you even towards the later levels, whereas most games would give up early on and expect you to rely on perseverance.  However, that’s not to say reaching the best you can be in the game doesn’t require any perseverance, in fact, it requires an awful lot of it later on, but it doesn’t feel forced upon you, you feel the need to strive for it. DUNGEON_DEFENDERS_SC1Tackling the game reminded me of a recent experience I had with Orcs Must Die, which follows a similar concept, however what differs Dungeon Defenders from this is that OMD got lonely fast. There’s nothing quite like playing a game with your buddies, and the implementation of multiplayer into DD is simply sublime. With loot being a key factor in the game, almost in the same sense as Borderlands, where you are always trying to find a better weapon than your own, sharing and trading loot online makes the game more social and overall, more intriguing, as the loot is just one of the many aspects of the game that will constantly keep pulling you back in. However, the heavy emphasis on multiplayer leads me to the first of one of Dungeon Defenders’ niggling problems – unless you’re very good from the start, this game can be punishing when played solo. Not so much later in the game, but right from the start when pitted against the likes of Ogres, who are essentially damage sponges with legs, it can be a killer, literally. When you’ve got three Crystals to defend on your own, it can be wild even on the easiest difficulty. I suppose that leads onto another point that Dungeon Defenders is a challenging game whether you’re playing with or without comrades, and this challenge remains constant even throughout the higher levels. Classes of varying skill levels (mainly due to their types of fortifications, squires have deadly blockades whereas monks have spheres that do bugger all) somewhat help to ease people into the game, and anyone who attempts solo first time with a monk is asking to fail at the game. This makes me think the game could do with some balancing, as the Squire, who specializes in melee combat, can slice and dice his way through ridiculous crowds of enemies (with no effect on frame rate, surprisingly) with merely a scratch on his skin, and his blockades do the same. Meanwhile, the Monk also specializes in melee combat, but has nowhere near as much effect on the tide of battle, with aura spheres that even when upgraded, barely make a mark on some of the larger enemies you’ll encounter towards the end of games. I’m assuming something like this could be dealt with a title update, but a little one-sided nevertheless. Dungeon-Defenders-review-points-to-versatilityBecause Dungeon Defenders has a massive amount of depth, things can be overwhelming and cluttered. Interfaces in the Item Box and your Hero information are more crowded than usual, with numbers and statistics being thrown at you, but it does a satisfactory job of keeping everything in check and pretty much everything there is to know about a particular item is displayed. I feel like Dungeon Defenders is more for the hardcore RPG fans, the ones who persevere to achieve the best scores, earn the best loot and do everything the game has to offer. Those who prefer a more stripped down experience should opt for games like Toy Soldiers or Orcs Must Die, but for me, it was the right amount of depth and the right amount of overwhelming nonsense that kept me playing right up until level 50, and I’m far from the end. This also means that all the loot you pick up from the piles of dead corpses between waves can be upgraded with the in-game currency Mana to make it even better, and then it’ll be just your luck when you’ve fully leveled your armor and go onto find something that makes all your effort seem meaningless. Amongst all the detail, there is some simplicity; loot is labelled with a positive, average or negative symbol corresponding to whether it is better to what is currently equipped, allowing you to sell all the useless junk and keep the good stuff. Amongst all this, the game manages to inject some humour with its cartoonish style and the Squire in his underpants, and even better, it’s a colourful game, meaning you won’t have to suffer map after map of browns and greys, and it really makes the game burst with life and stand out on its own. I could go on for years about Dungeon Defenders, and past its flaws, it really is an enjoyable gem that will satisfy many and fulfill the needs of the determined. It’s colourful and hectic, not necessarily accessible, but if you love the combination of these genres, then you can’t really afford to miss this.

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