Dungeon Defenders also shares a number of roleplaying elements, including abilities and skills that can be levelled up. Abilities and Skills are split into three categories, including character, skills and tower abilities. Depending on your play-style and, more importantly, your role in the game, you might invest points in tower defences, health, attack speed and range. If you play, say the Squire, and intend on tanking the tougher enemies like an ogre, putting points into character health and attack damage may be better for you. Each character also has two skills that can be used during the Combat Phase, most of which are particularly handy when it comes to crowd control.
Weapons, equipment and other loot can be picked up during a game, although it's sometimes better to wait until the entire wave is annihilated, don't want those nasty orcs interrupting your private time of comparing which set of boots are better. This, along with the RPG style character progress, is a major contributing aspect as to what makes the game so addicting. Much like in loot heavy games like Diablo or Borderlands, you can horde up on equipment, keep what you like and sell the rest. The mana you earn can be put towards other goods or in investing in your items – meaning you can level up weapons and equipment.
The game sports a charming cartoony style for its visuals and it's absolutely adorable. The little animations, victory pumps and attention to details – especially in the level design, make it a very pretty game to look at, and even better to play. There are also three camera variants that you can use, including a first-person, third-person and a top-down camera view. The flexibility allows for ease-of-play should the situation call for it. I personally found it easier to play as the Huntress in first-person view since she uses a gun-type weapon while third-person view fits the Squire and Monk better for those close encounters. When things get a little too claustrophobic, zooming out to the top-down view helped put things in better perspective.
Unfortunately, as fun as the game may be, there are issues that can't be overlooked. Character combat is a major issue, where attacking feels quite automated. While it technically controls like an action RPG, attacking will automatically lock onto the closest target with or without your consent, sending your champion charging in a direction other than the one you're facing. The camera also gets stuck in narrow corridors and it gets frustrating when you're surrounded by a horde of enemies and can't jump out since they get in the way. Worse still is playing online with random strangers as the teamwork simply isn't there. There isn't really anything ground-breaking in the game design either as it's basically tower defence meets action RPG. Don't misunderstand though, it does it exceptionally well and should be commended for it. The game is incredibly fun and addicting.
When all is said and done, Dungeon Defenders isn't an extraordinary epic, but it is an extremely fun experience. It's not a dungeon you'll want to, or sadly are able to, tackle alone however, bring some friends and that's when the fun really starts. There is plenty to unlock, loot and build. Include the DLC and there's a lot to look forward to. Give it a try if you're at all interested in Tower Defence and co-op RPG games, you're sure to invest several well-spent hours clearing out the horde.
This game was reviewed on the PC.
|» Charming visuals.|
|» Level designs that encourage deep strategic thinking.|
|» Fun and addicting tower defence gameplay combined with action RPG elements.|
|» Wonky combat controls that doesn't always target what you're aiming.|
|» Playing online with strangers is not fun.|
|» You can't play this by yourself, at least not in the later levels.|