Dungeon Defenders XBLA Review
Xbox Live Arcade Games
1200 MS Points
Developer- Trendy Entertainment
Coming out a little after “Orcs Must Die”, Dungeon Defenders uses a similar premise to give you a 3rd person action/rpg title with a tower defense influence. Playing as apprentices to four adult warriors consisting of a mage, knight, monk and a hunter, you must defend a crystal from being destroyed. Does it end up delivering a unique experience, separate of other titles or does it leave you wanting something more?
From the moment the game boots up you’ll see that Dungeon Defenders runs on the Unreal Engine, but they use it in a different way than most developers. The game is done in cel shading and the use of the unreal engine does wonders to show a great amount of detail despite its cartoonish look. Every character is unique (Although the mage certainly looks like a familiar Final Fantasy character) and can be given their own special colors to make them stick out from the crowd.
Magic effects go off with a spectacular showcase of colors and textures that any fireworks show would be jealous of. Each enemy class has their own particular look, however sometimes it might be a little difficult trying to seed out which enemies are the stronger ones versus the weaker ones with some classes because of similarities. It’s clear that the engine is rather wonderful when you can have numerous enemies on screen at the same time, showcasing the true power of Unreal.
The environments are just as well crafted as the main characters themselves. Creating new places to battle and devising new strategies, Dungeon Defenders’ landscapes make you think about your strategies while looking beautiful. New environments add new ways to die such as spikes and lava and they all look perfect in place with each location. The crystals that you must defend in the game are vibrant and lush as they shine a brightness and emit such neon that it’s hard to stop staring at them to play the game.
The combat is rather simple, utilizing 2 buttons (or triggers in this case) to use your main attack and secondary attack. As you build up your character you’ll get access to higher level attacks and more powerful items, but the combat in general maintains a rather simplistic control scheme. The biggest part of the game is in it’s tower defense.
Each character starts off with a single tower defense type that they can use to keep the enemies at the door at bay. As you level up, you gain new towers and new ways to keep the forces of evil pushed back from destroying your crystal. It’s a rather grinding start and you’ll find yourself feeling a little outnumbered if playing solo, but once you start leveling up, the game really starts to show how amazing it can be. As just stated, playing solo is going to be a grind, so getting a group of 4 players might be a necessity if you wish to get through this title in any quick amount of time. Having more allies means allowing for more towers, specialties and more force.
Each class of character has their own starting off specialties. There’s the mage with his staff and powerful magic attacks, the knight that swings a powerful sword and uses more man-made towers, the huntress who utilizes traps and a crossbow and finally, the monk who weilds a bladed staff and creates magic barriers and other devices to do things such as slow down the enemies. Each character has their own pros and cons but they’re also listed by how difficult the game will be for each character, the mage being easy, knight being normal, huntress being hard and the monk being the most difficult to complete the game as.
The story is a simple one. Much like “Orcs must die”, Dungeon Defenders puts you in the control of young apprentices who’s masters have left the town they guard in order to tend to other means in a distant town. In the meantime, the children apprentices accidentally open up their own form of pandora’s box, releasing an onslaught of enemies ranging from goblins and ogres to skeletons and demons. These enemies are trying to break divine crystals that hold their leaders within them and it’s up to the apprentices to make sure that they aren’t destroyed. It’s a relatively dull story, but it doesn’t hinder the game in any way, as the story isn’t the real selling point of this title.
The music for Dungeon Defenders sounds a bit generic at times, but the main theme and the music during the loading screens both are really well done and get you prepared for battle. It’s a give and take leaving you feeling like you’re ready to take on whatever is dished out at you. The sounds themselves are pretty standard. Crossbows fire with the wind behind them, magic attacks make a giant explosion and the sword of the knight, as well as the staff of the monk, slice through enemies like butter. Occasionally a character will make small sound such as a scream or yell of war, but it usually comes out more as a prepubescent mess of noise.
Dungeon Defenders has a rather difficult set of achievements to obtain. It’s possible to play the game for hours and never obtain a single achievement. It’s not to say that they’re bad achievements, they’re just very hard to get. From storing up a certain amount of currency to getting every type of medal in the game, you’ll be grinding through a lot just to get a single achievement for this title.
Tower defense games in general have a rather high level of replayability to them and Dungeon Defenders is no different. Each level is worth playing through at least 2 times and they all allow for a horde-type mode where you have wave after wave of increasing amounts and more difficult enemies until you can’t make it any farther. It’s a title that will keep you engulfed in it’s action for hours and even some of the levels can take a long time to complete. It’s not a game that can be picked up and just as easily put back down. Each level is going to take time and it’s worth every second as you’ll be coming back to play more later on, not to mention a few well placed boss battles that make you want to come back with more powerful weapons to really show them who’s boss.
- Beautiful game
- Good gameplay
- Some good songs
- High replay value
- Some similar looking enemies
- Difficult single player grind
- Difficult achievements list
- Need lots of time to play
This title, though it may have a rather generic and ordinary title, is most definitely worth the time and effort to play it. It allows for a great multiplayer experience and leaves you feeling like you want to play it again and again. Tower defense doesn’t get a whole lot better than one that allows you to make the towers and then combat the enemies too.
Replay Value- 9.50
Second Opinion by: Master Blud
The first moment I stepped into the game, I was impressed by the visuals and story art. I can tell you that I had no idea what I was in store for, or what I was supposed to do. After several levels, it became clear on how leveling works as well as upgrading your stats, weapons and defenses. I had a tough time in the start, as I had to create a new character for each experience. There are your 4 characters you choose from, mentioned above, but I ended up sticking with the apprentice, who sort of looks like Vivi Orunitia from Final Fantasy. I honestly had so much fun with title, it kept me playing for the longest time, I was feeding off stat results like it was a fat kid eating cake. The game takes a long time if you are flying solo, and absolutely fun when you are playing friends. If I was to score this game, you know what screw it, it’s a “BUY” in my book. Oh you wanted that score huh? Here you are 9.5 out of 10. This game will be a great addition to your gaming library, grab your friends and start slaying those ogres!