Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dungeon Defenders --- Xbox 360 Arcade Ryview

It's time for my first console game ryview!

It's Dungeon Defenders!

Dungeon Defenders is an Xbox 360 Arcade title that is currently Free in the "Games With Gold" program. It's a mixture between tower defense and action RPG, which I've seen before in flash games but I don't believe I've ever experienced this on a console. You have a hero that can attack and has powers, who also places towers. It's a nice mixture of strategy and hack-n-slash, especially farther up the leveling ladder when you have enough mana to place and upgrade a large number of towers.

It's a very good mixture. It seems to be a growing trend for this style of game in the flash world to make the hero very important early in the game and then practically non-existent later in the game. But in Dungeon Defenders, I definitely get the feeling that both your hero and your towers are an integral part to success. You can't really focus on one without the other, and I like the synergy.

The upgrade system is pretty straightforward. It revolves around upgrading your hero vs upgrading your hero's towers. There doesn't appear to be a quick way to reset your skills, but you can create as many characters as you want, so it seems fairly open to experimentation. I suppose you could load up all you upgrades on your hero or on the towers, but once again, the game seems tailored towards a healthy mixture, and I can't foresee a scenario where specializing in one or the other would be nearly as effective.

The game has local co-op, which is actually why I was excited to play it. And I definitely like playing through it as a team. You have a set number of mana on the field during each round, and you can share that, but have the firepower from multiple heroes and a healthy mixture of tower types definitely makes the game quite a bit easier and more enjoyable. I'm a pretty big fan of cooperative gameplay, and this game is high on my list for good co-op fun.

One unfortunate thing about the co-op, however, is that you cannot share characters (to my knowledge, you can probably do it through modding or some other underhanded method, but it is definitely not built into the core game). This proved to be especially frustrating when we started a game with only my profile, then came back to the game with both of us logged in. All the characters were locked to my profile. I wish there was a better transfer utility, since we will always be playing together. I definitely see it as an oversight.

The item system is also a little complicated. There are several symbols on the items that never seem to be fully explained. There is a nicely robust wiki for the game, but I would have liked to receive that info somewhere in-game rather than having to hunt for it online. I will say that for the casual RPG gamer, the system works just fine because there is a handy "Better, The Same, or Worse than your current item" indicator whenever you hover over an item. So if you want detailed analysis, you'll have to look elsewhere.

I've gotten frustrated playing as some of the different characters (there are 4 different classes), but I fully admit that it may just be my play style. However, in my opinion, the huntress is really underpowered and the knight is really overpowered.

It's a very fun game, it's good for co-op, and I find it very satisfying to level up and unleash the higher level towers. I'd definitely recommend it (especially when it's free!)

For the purposes of the scorecard, I'll be using the standard pricing. I can't knock it in the ryview because it was free for me, but the standard price is $14.99, which I think is still a little steep for a game like this. However, given how much fun I'm having with it, if I was just playing the demo currently, I'd probably go back and buy it at full price.


Time Value
Money Value
Final Score

Let me know what you think of Dungeon Defenders!

Until next time,


Pictures courtesy of Steam.

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