Dungeon Defenders II Review

Let the hordes begin!

Posted by B1ueSeptember   02nd July 2017

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Trendy Entertainment released the sequel to its popular tower defense title Dungeon Defenders on PC some time ago. Now, Dungeon Defenders II has finally come to consoles. The free-to-play title released on Xbox One several days ago. So, was it worth the wait?

As someone who played the original Dungeon Defenders obsessively, I was pumped to learn that the sequel was finally coming to Xbox One and jumped right in when I had the chance.

As the game opens, you get the background of the story then a chance to do the tutorial, which is optional, before starting the story campaign. You also have the choices to go to town or the tavern where you can create your characters. Two of the characters from the original game are available for free. The other two can be purchased for a pittance after speaking to the Commander. You may have four heroes with you at any given time, and they all gain experience regardless of whether they’re used or not. You will also receive loot for all four, but you will receive more for whoever is your active character at the time.

Where this system is truly magnificent is after you reach Level 50. Any level after 50 is an Ascension Level, and you receive points for each level earned that you can distribute to different character traits. What makes this great is that if you decide to pick up another character, once he or she hits Level 50, that character will automatically be given the Ascension levels of your highest-level character, so you can quickly bring new characters up to speed. I love that so much. You’re not stuck with a character; if you decide you like another better, you don’t lose all that grinding. It covers all characters, which is a wonderful attribute of the game.

You have three forms of currency in Dungeon Defenders: Gold, Defender Medals, and Gems. Gold is what you get for selling loot and can be used at different shops. Defender Medals can be earned by finishing different stages of the campaign and by doing daily and bonus quests. Gems must be purchased, so think of them as “real money.” Most specialty items can be purchased with either Defender Medals or Gems, such as shards or new characters, but a few can be had only with real money (i.e. Gems), such as new skins and additional inventory bags. If you’re interested in a new character, you can use the mysterious portal in town to try out new ones for free. You don’t get loot or experience here; it’s strictly a place to try out characters you’re thinking of buying, which is a nice touch.

Speaking of loot, the game is swimming in it. Those who played the original title will be glad to know that this hasn’t changed. Enemies randomly drop items and each player gets his or her own chest to open at the end of a successful round. You don’t have to race your fellow players for stuff; each person gets his or her own loot.

You start with the story campaign. Your original characters should be near Level 50 by the time you finish the campaign. Once that’s done, other modes become available through the War Table. Here, you can enter the Chaos Trials, of which there are seven, each successfully harder. This is where the real grinding for loot begins. I spent quite a long time re-doing Chaos I dungeons before I was able to survive a Chaos II – you see how it goes. The further you can progress, the better your equipment will be. You’ll also find Incursion Missions, which are very difficult but required for unlocking certain special weapons available in town.

In addition to regular equipment, such as weapons and various pieces of armor, the game also uses medallions, orbs, totems, marks – these are accessories that improve your defenses; they enhance power, critical hits, speed, or health for your towers. You will also spend a lot of time on Shards, which can be attached to all of your equipment to improve certain stats or abilities. A Legendary item, for example, will have three shard slots, so you can improve three aspects of your attack or defense. Each weapon, armor, accessory, and shard can be levelled up, and this requires dedication. One Haunt Shard, for example, cost me over 500,000 gold to max out, but it was so worth it. It stacks Ghosts with each attack, and when the stack hits ten, releases them all in a burst that’s +250% of my regular attack power.

Shards are in all the reward chests you open, and you can also purchase them for either Gems or Defender Medals in both the Tavern and in Town. You can buy Shards from any Chaos level, so if you haven’t managed to make it to Chaos Level VI yet, you can still get shards from there from either of the people that sell them, which can really help you enhance your equipment.

And we can’t forget the pets. You’ll pick up eggs randomly, which can be hatched at the pet store. Like equipment, pets range from regular to legendary levels and can be built up with feeding and affection. Your trusty side-kicks have their own special attacks and abilities.

Gameplay is frantic and fun. As a round begins, you set up all of your defenses then attack your enemies when they come in. Each map has a set number of build points which you cannot exceed, so part of the challenge is putting up adequate defenses within that limit. As with any tower defense game, you’ll be swamped by hordes of enemies, and the further you go, the more there are, requiring you to constantly upgrade your equipment and accessories to keep up with the enemies. The game does a great job of keeping heroes balanced with enemies so that it’s never a cake walk, but neither is it overwhelming – well, unless you try a Chaos level you’re not quite ready for.

The game is made to be played in groups of four, but you can play alone if you’d rather. You can jump into a public game from the war table, or you can create your own, either public or private. This is a wonderful game for friends as you fight to protect the crystals. The game requires teamwork, and most of the people I’ve played with so far take that to heart. I haven’t seen a lot of selfish playing. You pick up gems at the beginning of each round, and you can either build, repair, upgrade, or give your gems to someone else (use left on the D-pad), so if you have a really powerful person on your team, letting that person build benefits everyone.

If you haven’t picked up on it by now, I’m a huge fan of this game, but it has some problems. It is suffering pretty severely from growing pains right now. If you’ll pardon me momentarily for my unprofessional language, this game is glitchy as hell. The first couple of times I tried to play, I couldn’t get in; the servers were so overloaded that I simply could not enter. This problem seems to now have been solved. Now, however, I can’t get to town. I can go to the tavern, but every time I choose to go to town, I get bounced back to the dashboard, which is beyond annoying. In fairness to the developers, I have seen great improvement in the last few days, but it still needs a good bit of work. I’ve never played a game that froze, crashed, and bounced me so much, but it’s clear that they’re working on it. The rampant cheating from the first game with modded weapons, however, has been completely eliminated in this version, which I really appreciate.

One other negative I have is that you can’t share loot with your friends. In the original game, you could drop loot to give to others and vice-versa, which was really nice. If I had duplicates of a Legendary Bow, I could give one to a friend while he gave me those Legendary Gloves I needed. I miss the ability to share like that in this version. Some in-town storage would have been nice, too, especially since extra loot bags are real-money only items, but considering that the game is free to begin with, buying a few bags doesn’t require a big investment. I keep filling my eight bags, however, so it would be nice to have a safe or something back in town where I could keep things I wasn’t sure about.

The achievements in the game aren’t difficult for the most part. Most will be picked up during the normal course of play as you level up. Some require that you kill certain enemies while others require you to kill enemies a certain way, such as with Flame Throwers or Explosive Traps. The only really grindy one is the achievement that requires you to kill 1,000 named enemies. Since there are only two or three of these per level, it will take some time.

Overall, Dungeon Defenders II is a blast. Except for the irritation of the game’s growing pains, the game is loads of fun as you build your towers, fight off the hordes, and collect your loot. Whether playing privately with friends or in public matches, the game encourages cooperation and a sense of camaraderie. If you haven’t tried Dungeon Defenders II, you should definitely give it a try.

The base game of Dungeon Defenders II is free-to-play with add-ons and bundles available from $4.99 to $99.99.

Score: 8 out of 10

Price: Free
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Platform: Xbox One

Written by B1ueSeptember

    AB0MINAT10N 2 Jul 2017 12:17 pm

    Great review! I will add, you can get all the chaos shards from the shop except for the chaos 7 shards.

      News Editor B1ueSeptember 2 Jul 2017 02:43 pm

      Oh, I thought you could get them all! Thanks for that. :)

        Administrator Stealth David 2 Jul 2017 05:33 pm

        Nice work have seen you play it a lot glad you enjoyed it :)

          News Editor B1ueSeptember 3 Jul 2017 02:25 am

          Great, great game. Just wish I could get to town. :P

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