Defense Grid 2 is a sci-fi tower defense game developed by Hidden Path Entertainment and Published by 505 Games. The game was released on September 23rd and is available on PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4. Today we’re looking at how the game stacks up not only as a new entry in the popular tower defense genre, but also as the sequel to the fantastic first game in the series.
The original Defense Grid burst on to the scene way back in February 2008. For players who’ve kept up with the post-release DLC for Defense Grid, namely Defense Grid: Containment, the story of Defense Grid 2 is a continuation of the original game. On the other hand, if you’re a player who either missed the DLC or the original Defense Grid entirely, you might find it beneficial to play through the original game for a quick recap. Quite frankly, the original game is so good that you really should play it regardless.
One area where original Defense Grid really set itself apart from the competition was with the entertaining dialogue found throughout the game. I was pleased to find the original characters were back, as well as a bunch of unique new characters that help move the story along. Without spoiling too much of the story, the aliens in the game have taken to damaging your AI teammates. This short-circuiting of your AI leads to some incredibly enjoyable dialogue between characters, an example of which was one of the AI telling me that she’s totally alright and composed of 149% peach frosting.
Topping the original Defense Grid is no small task indeed. While the story and dialogue doesn’t necessarily advance the genre in a huge way compared to the original game, the quality acting and engaging story are still quite enjoyable. Players should enjoy the quirky personalities of the various AI, as well as the comical dialogue from their faulty language processors.
Strategy gamers are likely no stranger to the clunky controls that console strategy games often have. Thankfully, Defense Grid 2 aims to please the PC and console crowds with a logical and simple control scheme. With the screen’s scrolling locked to the cursor, players should feel comfortable playing with a controller on any system. Clearly, Hidden Path Entertainment put a lot of thought into making sure the game plays well on PS4 and Xbox One controllers. PC players that want a more advanced setup may also opt for a full mouse/keyboard configuration, complete with keyboard hotkeys for everything.
Gameplay is reminiscent of the classic style that the original game executed so well. A well designed collection of maps give players a variety of challenges. With some wide open maps that require the player to figure out the best path, and others that offer little room for mistake, tower defense lovers should find something to enjoy about nearly every map in the game. Defense Grid 2 actually does away with flying units entirely, instead opting for an entirely ground-based challenge. While on the surface that may seem like a step back, it actually makes the gameplay flow so much better. Players aren’t consistently pressured in the deeper levels to dedicated funds to specifically target one type of enemy, instead they can diversify their builds a bit more while still being able to damage everything in each wave.
One of the most addicting aspects of Defense Grid 2 are the alternative challenge modes that are available for every single stage in the game. Each story mission allows players to select the challenge that they wish to do battle with. Whether it be completing the stage without missile turrets, or using only a limited number of towers, the amount of challenges that await is simply fantastic.
While some tower defense games would be content at this point, Defense Grid 2 isn’t quite finished. As players move through the campaign, they’ll gain access to AI units that offer new super weapons, as well as items that boost their turrets. While some turret upgrades will allow the player to configure the targeting priority of a turret, others may boost damage while applying an on-hit effect. The configuration for each mission is entirely up to the player, which exponentially increases the variety of towers. It’s fantastic to see a game that allows the player to change their configuration between missions without having to jump through hoops. If a player finds that their setup isn’t working for a particular level, they can make the appropriate changes and try again.
Hidden Path Entertainment appears to be quite committed to the game post-launch. The developer has begun posting weekly missions for players to complete, with leaderboards and more in-game challenges on the way. While no officially DLC has been announced at this point, judging by the DLC history of the first game, it’s likely just a matter of time before additional content makes its way into Defense Grid 2.
The question of how to judge and score this game is a complicated one. Some people view sequels as a situation where the game must make huge steps forward for the genre as a whole. That’s a tall order for any game, especially when it’s the sequel to a game with a 8.8 /10 user rating on Metacritic. While Defense Grid 2 doesn’t make gigantic leaps forward for tower defense games, it really doesn’t need to. The game manages to execute every aspect of the original game on a near perfect level, while still feeling like a fresh experience that stands quite well on its own.
|Developer: Hidden Path Entertainment
|Publisher: 505 Games
|Version Played: Release Day Version
|Steam Achievements: (65
|Buy on Steam
Defense Grid 2
Summary: Defense Grid 2 replicates the award winning formula of the original, while still making advancements to the overall game. With loads of customization options, players should get many hours of enjoyment from the game.