Defense Grid 2 review

Reviews Xbox One Xbox One Reviews

When it comes to tower defense games you should certainly know the drill by now, defend a position against waves of enemies that increase in difficulty. There’s nothing glitzy or clever about Defense Grid 2, it’s pure tower defense fun with a rough story laced over the top of the campaign in an attempt to give the game some grounding – it doesn’t work and I barely took any notice of the rather annoying one-liner companions that you get paired with.

There are five chapters to get through totalling twenty missions plus a prologue. DG2 also comes with multiplayer for when you’ve had your fill of the campaign, but if you only have eyes for the single player campaign, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a whole host of content available in each campaign – you can opt for a straight up story mode or take on a more challenging wave of enemies by playing with buffs or limiters to your arsenal, each level may then be taken on at easy, normal, hard or elite mode.

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When placing towers, the trick is to manage your resources carefully, which tower do you place or do you upgrade your existing towers – whichever you decide your main goal is to stop the aliens from stealing your power cores and to maximise your chances of destroying them you can place towers along their route to make the path to their goal longer, you can even direct enemies right the way around your tower groups making them spend as much time as possible in your tower’s area of attack.

Once you get through several levels, modifiers are available to your towers and can be applied before you start a level. This affects their behaviour towards enemies and can prove vital to your existence if your strongest cannon tower is focusing its firepower on the toughest enemy on the playing field.

You’d be forgiven in thinking this all sounds simple, while the concept is rather old hat with many games adopting wave based mechanics, DG2 puts up a challenge right off the bat. Placing towers haphazardly won’t help you in protecting your power cores and while there’s a fine line between a challenge and frustration at not being able to pass a level, DG2 balances this perfectly and will certainly offer gamers a great place to be challenged.

Looks wise DG2 is your standard arcade fare, you won’t be singing any praises about high class visuals! The cheesy one-liners are rather annoying and far from amusing, you might also want to turn down the SFX. In the heat of battle the blaze of gunfire is rather unpleasant on your ears and the soft Sci-fi sounds of the music score is far more pleasant than the chug chug of gunfire.

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Multiplayer offers up two modes, a straight up co-op battle or a versus fight which is like a tug of war. As one player defeats enemies, they are buffed up and teleported to the other player until one of you is overrun. It makes for some fun gaming often resulting in one or two hairy moments but neither mode is strong enough alone to sell this game.

If you’re into tower defense games and want a game that offers up a whole set of buffs and options that will challenge your tactical mind, then you needn’t look further than DG2 – fans of the series will be right at home while those wanting some new-gen magic may feel rather short changed.

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I've been gaming for longer than I care to remember and spent four years writing for another XCN website leading a 10 strong team. Now I'm in charge of TiX alongside Dave Moran – I hope you enjoy what we do!