The original Dungeon Defenders was certainly a hit, carrying a fairly cheap price tag, plenty of options and a fun mix of tower defence and third person action, how on earth could a sequel better the foundations laid down in the first game.
At first glimpse Dungeon Defenders 2 answers that perfectly, with the transition to a free to play game, more classes, customisation options, enemies, maps and an increased RPG stance, there’s certainly plenty for fans and newcomers to get excited about.
After the initial idea of moving to a free to play MOBA title, many felt uneasy about how the tower defence nature would carry over to such a genre, but thank’s to a welcomed U-Turn, DD2 seems to be much more of what fans of the first game wanted to see.
The World of Etherial is under attack and the bad guys need to destroy crystal to increase their power, it’s your job to defend those crystals and with an impressive collection of 11 classes (most unlocked through gameplay or paying out in game currency which can be built up over time or paid for, there’s a nice selection from the standard selections such as the apprentice mage or hunter archer, to my personal favourites the Abyss lord or the Huntress Witch.
Thankfully you’re not forced to use a different character online as there’s more than enough customisation options from different style clothes or hair to completely redesigned outfits and stand-out special effects such as glowing purple, green or blue variations.
Graphics and Audio help promote a fun, friendly game… there’s certainly plenty of colour and the well designed maps are packed with bright detailed surroundings, enemies are well made and while not always as sharp as I’d like to see on next-generation systems, it’s still a pretty good performance, Music fits the game well and there’s enough voice acting for each character to help give them personality, each weapon, tower and enemy have their unique look and sound and unlike the relatively flat and repetitive dungeons of the first game, there’s certainly a mix of areas ranging from traditional dungeons. You’ll find all rots lead to the crystal your tasked with defending but often, there’ll be locks placed along the way, these locks aren’t critical to defend, however allowing these to be destroyed will often open up a gateway with an alternate path where enemies will use to attack from all angles.
Thankfully defenders will find platforms that help traverse the stage quickly, as well as mounted weapons and traps that can be triggered periodically to help defend your lines.
The bulk of fire-power will come from your own characters weapons and towers, these vary for each class, so you’ll want to give each player a test run to see which mixture suit your play-style.
With plenty of options I’d say everyone will son find a few preferred characters, but don’t make the same mistake I did, after investing hours into one character, I decided to utilise some in game credits to ‘buy’ one of the fancy costumes, in making this selection I somehow managed to overwrite my original character losing all the hard work.
It’s as much my own fault, but I really thought the game would make it easier to showcase your new acquisitions rather than making it feel like Russian roulette if you do buy one. After a few hours, I’d decided on 4 characters I wanted to concentrate on, (and their outfits) and I was then able to switch between them easily from the pause menu, and start working through the levels to build up RPG style loot adding buffs (and sometimes negative effects) to my stats.
There’s a constant chance of getting better, so it soon becomes an enjoyable loot chase and while early on, you’ll find online partners only dropping into your games periodically, soon enough you’ll be up to speed and regularly working as a team to work through the tougher levels and then there’s the perfect chance to show off your customisation choices as well as the mastery of your towers and powers.
Dungeon Defenders 2 while perfectly fine as a single player is much more fun with friends, working together to take down tougher enemies and reap the rewards from loot boxes obtained for finishing off the levels.
Thankfully being free to play, means your friends have no excuse, and more experienced players can easily help through newcomers making it a pretty relaxed atmosphere even if the action on screen gets pretty crazy at times.
Team work is key and so people you know who might occasionally follow orders, is much more fun than having some random guy join, who throws all his turrets in pointless locations meaning you’ve got twice as much work to do yourself. Still even with poor team-mates it’s not the end of the world, so there’s a real sense of achievement when you’re paired with a few lesser skilled defenders and manage to hold the fort single handed.