MMO News, Reviews & Opinions
MMO News, Reviews & Opinions
- Written by Professor Screwtape
I enjoy LAN Gaming. Ever since I realized I could take a 60ft serial cable and play Atomic Bomberman and Command & Conquer Gold with my parents 2 Pentium 386 machines, I've loved it. Being close enough to hear and see the reactions of people when something amazing happens gives such rush, whether it's seeing the freak out because of the unexpected headshot, or watching the evil grin that comes from seeing me realize I've been flanked, it's awesome. To that end I'm constantly on the lookout for the next great LAN game. For too long, it's been Team Fortress 2, but that's starting to get a little old. Recently another gamer recommended I take a look at Dungeon Defenders, an indy game that steam was distributing. I have to say, I fell in love. Priced at $15, it was easy enough to swallow, the graphics are decent and enjoyable, and there is nothing I'd be worried about my 5 year old seeing. Most importantly, the learning curve is forgiving, and high level players aren't penalized for helping newbies.
To picture the basic mechanic of this game, imagine the Steam Source engine invited Diablo II's loot table over for drinks, and while they're there one of the flash based tower defense games sneaks in the back. They all have a huge orgy, and 9 months later you have Dungeon Defenders.
You start with the 4 basic archetypes: Apprentice, Huntress, Squire & Monk, and there are 3 other heroes available, each in their own DLC. I will discuss the newest DLC's Hero later. A typical level starts with your characters picking up mana, which acts as the currency for everything and is persistent across your account, and then using it to create defenses that follow the theme of your class. Mages make ranged towers, squires create ones that damage and pushback, huntress drops traps and the monk places various auras. Once you have your defenses in place, you begin the round. You can attack, repair, defend and strategize with your teammates as you wish. The motivation exists in several forms. Monsters drop armor and weapons, with a wide variety of stats, and each of those can be upgraded with mana. There are also achievements with numerous aesthetic rewards. The challenge I'm facing is how to convey just how much fun this game really is, as I've seen multiple people remark after playing 2 hours "There's no reason this should be as much fun as it is. Why is this like gaming crack?"
I think it has something to do with our love for the seemingly hopeless situation. The Alamo, Thermopylae or the siege of Stalingrad. The last line of defense, holding against hopeless odds and snatching another few minutes of life from the jaws of defeat.
The reason I'm writing all this up is to give background for the latest expansion pack that came out yesterday. Dungeon Defenders added an entirely new class - The Summoner.
This latest addition adds yet another Genre to the already diverse game. The Summoner works in a fashion similar to other heroes, however instead of towers or traps, he summons commandable minions. This is a neat option for those who love playing the Minion Master style gameplay, but is even more enjoyable when you factor in the Summoner's ability to enter "Overlord Mode".
As you can see, this allows the summoner character to play the map like an RTS. I've always been a fan of games like Savage, Battleswarm & Nuclear Dawn, that feature a combination of FPS/RTS options for players in the same map. The option to say "Hey you like FPS, try this game. Oh want to play an RTS? Try this game too."
The biggest problem I have with all this, is the fact that the initial game costs $15 but depending on how many expansion packs you purchase, you can spend as much as a full title. But it's an interesting take on gaming, offer a cheap base product and ala carte options for gameplay mechanics.
Overall I think this is a solid title, with hours of replayability. It's also one of those games you can play with 4-12 friends and have a great time without anyone feeling like they sacrificed doing what they enjoyed.Discuss this article in the forums (2 replies).