Free to play for as long as you want it.
I was actually a pretty big fan of Dungeon Defenders back on the 360. I played a ton of it with some friends co-op and had a blast with it. It really was a sleeper hit for me in many ways. Now, after many years of development and early access, Dungeon Defenders II hits consoles, this time with a free to play model. Does it work? How bad is the grind? Well, let’s find out.
Dungeon Defenders II, much like the first game, mixes both action RPG elements with tower defense. Players take on the role of a hero as they plot out enemy paths on a map; place towers that slow, hinder, and attack waves of enemies; and outright attack enemies using skills and abilities the hero has learned in order to stop enemies from attacking their crystal at the end of the lanes. In all fairness, it is a pretty simple game when it comes down to the mechanics.
Platforms: XB1, PC, PS4
Price I’d pay: Stay free the entire time unless you really like a hero
Heroes have a build and combat phase, each allowing them to create their towers for defense, while creating towers during the combat phase does take a lot longer. After each wave, players can repair their towers as well as upgrade them to stronger ones. The final wave of each map usually has a boss character or two coming down a lane. These are usually giant health bar monstrosities that have to be handled quickly before they make it to the crystal.
After the battles, characters will level up and learn new abilities as well as have their stats increase in standard RPG form. On top of all this, there is a full on loot system that allows characters to be equipped with better weapons, armor, and other stat increasing items that can help both the strength of the hero as well as the effectiveness of their towers. When I say there’s a ton of loot, I mean, I have over two pages of just weapons I have picked up from dead enemies as well as chests from the end of a game. Now, if players find they like the stats of a certain item, they can power it up using money and other items that can increase their stats further. There’s a lot to take in when it comes to maximizing weapons and armor, but for those that get into it, it’s an RPG fan’s dream.
Of course, players don’t have to go at it alone. They can partner up with up to three co-op buddies that can help out with their own unique traps and towers as well as their multitude of skills. This is where the game is the most fun. Planning out strategies, planting towers, and combining forces are some of the most rewarding parts of the game. There’s a catch to all this; after a few campaign maps, solo players will quickly find they NEED to play co-op due to the maps becoming more intricate and difficult, which frowns on the solo players as a whole.
Now, this is different from the first game, this one is a free to play model, and I know everyone wants to know how the free to play model fits in. Well, to be fair, I didn’t really hit a wall as far as progression goes. Granted, I would maybe level up once per match, which is about once every 20 minutes or so, and I was consistently gaining new equipment. Now, that’s not to say I couldn’t buy some gems that allowed me to get some better stuff, but mostly it is for cosmetic items as well as new heroes besides the standard main four characters. Of course, this can mainly be unlocked through the grinding of the game, but it most certainly will take a while to do, and by the time people have grinded for it, they’ll probably be done with the game.
In fact, that is the epitome of Dungeon Defenders II. It’s some decent fun, especially with some friends, but one that players can spend a decent amount of time into but ultimately, get sick of the gameplay loop. Now, that may still be 15-20 hours in, and in many instances, that would be plenty of time for a game you didn’t pay anything for, but for people wanting something deep, they can get it here especially when it comes to the RPG elements. It’s a fun time, and one that you don’t really have to spend money on in order to have fun, but if you want to go a bit deeper than the surface, get ready to grind.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.