Console Caliber Tower Defense

10/01/2014 by D'yani Wood | Source: PlayStation Lifestyle
Tower defense games are one of my favorite kinds of strategy video games. There’s something really fun in trying my hand at figuring out the best way to shoot down masses of enemies using limited resources and precise placement of towers. Defense Grid 2 does a good job creating a high quality console tower defense game with tons of features that greatly increase the replayability of the title, while building up narrative intrigue in a mystery that snowballs with each new level.

Many tower defense games feel shallow because they methodically ramp up the difficulty and the levels only differ marginally, as if the game was generated by a computer. Defense Grid 2 has a good balance of difficulty scaling and unique layouts that make it feel like a solid, thought-out game that is meant to be taken seriously. I never felt the usual feeling of redundancy upon entering the next level. There was always a new situation I had to deal with. For example, one level introduced two enemy entrances that were somewhat far apart, and then gave me the long-range missile tower as a solution to the new daunting task of defending two paths with the same amount of resources as usual. It’s got the pacing of a console-caliber title with the fun of a game genre that is especially successful on mobile platforms.

The levels were obviously well planned and different than any tower defense I’ve played so far. Most notably were the levels that moved during gameplay, forcing you to quickly adapt your strategy for the new enemy paths and tower tiles. This didn’t happen in enough levels, though. I would have loved to play many more levels where I didn’t know how the environment was going to change. From the quality of the rest of the game, I was surprised and disappointed more levels didn’t have this cool feature. Defense Grid 2 also combines two styles of tower defense playing fields, one where there are set tiles you can use on the sides of the enemy path, and one where the field is a large empty grid and you have to creatively place towers to lengthen the enemy’s route, giving your towers more time to do damage. I like both methods and was really happy to get both mixed together in this game. It makes for a fun adventure.

The enemies and the towers in this game have the usual wide spread of qualities and features that a tower defense game should have. The cheap gun tower is weak but good in the beginning when you just need to get a tower out there to take down the looming waves of enemies. The cannon tower is really powerful but is really slow to fire, so having many of them fully upgraded is great for tough slow enemies, but not for fast little enemies. Along the way, you learn more and more of the details and intricacies of tower strategy, which I don’t need to go over in this review.

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