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Dungeon Defenders Review

Dungeon Defenders Review

It may not look it, but what we have here in Dungeon Defenders is a pretty awesome co-operative tower defence experience. Developed by Trendy Entertainment, it's a game that doesn't really bother with changing the tower defence formula, but works out established conventions exceptionally well. You will more than likely find yourself glued to the screen fending off wave upon wave of goblins, orcs, wyverns and other such unfriendly fantasy creatures.

The story isn't much, to say the least. Players join a group of four younglings messing about in a castle before accidentally releasing an ancient evil that the group's older siblings sealed ages ago. Predictable is as predictable comes, our young heroes are then charged with protecting their castle from hordes of angry looking meanies, setting up the game perfectly. With that said, it's nice that there are little cutscenes between each stage to pad things out, although they're all skippable and you don't miss out on anything should you choose to skip them. All in all, while predictable, it's a fun story that pushes the game forward.

Where Dungeon Defenders really shines is in the gameplay. There are four playable characters, discounting the extras available through DLC, including the Squire, Apprentice, Monk and Huntress. You can create and customize your own champion, although customization is initially limited to colour variants. Weapons and equipment can either be bought at the Tavern, which acts as the central hub where you can choose what level to play, or picked up from downed foes in each arena.

Dungeon Defenders (1)

The objective is to protect your Eternia Crystals from each wave of enemies, which get progressively denser and more challenging. Gameplay is split into two phases: the Building Phase and the Combat Phase. During the Building Phase, you'll want to strategically conjure, build and place your towers, traps, auras, barricades and whatnot in order to halt the enemy's advancement. You can also level up structures you've built. There's a cap on the amount of structures one can build on top of its respective mana costs, which you can replenish by picking up mana crystals dropped by the enemy or from treasure chests that appear prior to the Combat Phase.

The Combat Phase is where things can get a little hectic, in a good way of course. Earlier levels are relatively simple and pose little challenge even to those new to the genre. You'll only have to protect one Eternia Crystal and the stages are quite small with few choke points and enemies to worry about. Later levels, however, get progressively larger and more challenging as the horde now has more paths to your crystals (yes, more than one). Funnelling them into a choke point by way of tower placement becomes a key strategic element that you'll do well to remember.

Of course, playing co-operatively in a group of four changes the dynamic completely as you won't have to worry about running back and forth to ensure there isn't a breach in one of your barricades. Regardless, it is still a very hectic experience as later levels can throw as many as thousands of enemies at you within a single wave. Co-operation is truly important and each character class will aid in the overall quest to defeat the horde.

The Apprentice, for one, seems to be one of the more popular classes as his towers can dole out the pain most efficiently on top of having a ranged weapon. The Squire can deal plenty of damage as well, albeit the old fashioned way, and can construct barricades and other ranged structures to block enemy movement. The Monk is armed with an array of auras that can slow down or hurt the enemy over time, depending on how you spec him he can also deal a fair amount of DPS the manual way. The Huntress is a bit more tricky to play than the other classes as she is equipped with a variety of traps. With that said, she's the only class whose towers can deal massive amounts of damage at lower levels. The downside is that they are limited in uses.

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