Defense Grid DLC: You Monster Review (PC-Steam, XBLA)12/09/2011 by Jim Cook | Source: Gamers Daily News
Regarding spoilers: Unlike some Defense Grid expansions, You Monster
has a significant storyline. Because a meaningful review must discuss at least
the basic story tone and cover a few more noteworthy things these DLC stages do,
the reader should keep this in mind. No specific story events will be mentioned,
though certain stage stipulations will be.
One of the more distinct
things about Defense Grid has been your AI partner. His enthusiasm and
pronounced accent made him easy to relate to, and he helped fill in some of the
slower gaps in the game’s flow of play. This makes You Monster especially
interesting, since it seeks to contrast him with an almost exact opposite:
GLaDOS from Portal. On the surface, most of your play across this DLC pack’s
eight new stages will be the same as previous maps... it’s only when you get a
bit further in that GLaDOS’ trademark attitude of detached, semi-polite cruelty
mixed with lots of deadpan sarcasm starts to entertain the player.
Like every other Defense Grid map, the stages in You
Monster require you to build a series of towers to keep the aliens away from
your power cores. At first, all of this is handled exactly like it has been in
previous stages; the first map is somewhat hard, but nothing too out of line.
After that, GLaDOS becomes both a story element and a game mechanic as she
starts changing the rules. Aliens might come from undisclosed entrances, and you
may find yourself suddenly banned from using a certain tower type. In one of the
more creative stages, you only get one tower type to build and the rest
of your tower network is provided automatically; your challenge then becomes to
use your sole tower type to maximize profit and herd the aliens to where you can
do the most damage.
On one hand, this is You Monster’s greatest strength.
Many of its stages use Portal’s art style to excellent effect, and GLaDOS’ fully
voiced lines are simultaneously entertaining and enraging; exactly as she should
be. Combined with the stages being outright devious and cruel, this is a
convincing Portal experience in Defense Grid. At the same time, this is its most
noteworthy problem. You have to go in knowing the game is going to mess with
you, that it’s going to pull some nasty surprises that may require you to
completely restart the stage with a whole new strategy, and there will be a lot
of trial-and-error play. You Monster is for experienced Defense Grid players who
are willing to put up with these frustrations, or are particularly interested in
finding the solution to very hard challenges; those of you who enjoy ’no cores
lost’ play-throughs could be busy for a very long time!
Your $5 USD/400 Microsoft points will net eight challenging
Portal-themed maps to play on, with a GlaDOS-centric plot and all the hilarious
voice work that implies. There are also several new challenge modes to go with
them, so players will get plenty of content. If you’re willing to tolerate the
higher difficulty and intentional use of cheap shots at the player via sudden
rules changes, You Monster is actually pretty fun and makes a worthwhile
expansion to Defense Grid!
For more reviews on this game and many others head to Game
Our Rating for Defense Grid DLC: You
Monster Review (PC-Steam, XBLA)
solid tower defense play with all the charm of Portal’s presentation, You
Monster is a strong addition to the game.