Review: Defense Grid 2
Putting tower defense games on console is a tough challenge. Only a few games have been able to accomplish this task. Defense Grid 2 brings the tower defense genre to console with great finesse because of its easy camera control and menu friendly presentation.
As with tower defense games, Defense Grid 2 tasks you with building towers and killing aliens. The task is simple, kill the aliens before they can retrieve power cores in your base and escape with them. Towers can range from offensive ones to defensive ones. An offensive tower, such as a Missile tower can reach many areas of the map. A more defensive tower such as the Temporal tower can slow down enemies to limit their escape from the area. Before each mission a commander is selected. Each commander has a special ability that needs to be recharged. One commander has an orbital laser that can destroy a group of enemies, while another can increase the amount of resources you have to build more towers. Resources to build towers are gained every second and a wave bonus is granted after each wave. Each tower has their own range, damage, and fire rate. On certain maps, the path of the aliens can be blocked by building towers, forcing them to find another route to the cores. Blocking the path of aliens and placing certain towers at certain locations all adds to the strategy of completing a level. Placing all Gun towers, the basic tower damage dealing tower, will not grant you a victory. The game requires strategy and placing the right towers in the right locations. Some players will build many low level towers to defeat the enemies, while others will build a small amount of towers, but level them up so they become even more powerful.
Defense Grid 2 offers 20 story missions, with 10 different modes for each mission. Each mode and mission also has 4 difficulty modes, including co-op options. Missions are light on story details. Most of the story takes place during text on loading screens and banter between the game’s main characters during gameplay. Characters vary between Admirals, Captains and Colonels, all with a different origin and each have their own witty humor. It’s hard to put a face with each character, due to each character being portrayed as a black silhouette. One of the first characters you encounter is General Fletcher, who is mostly your guide throughout the story. Fletcher offers many quirky comments before, during and after the story chapters. The dialogue can be too much at times, but a few times I chuckled at the writing.
Hidden Path Entertainment has packed Defense Grid 2 with customization options and content. With its 20 story missions, there are many different modes for each and every mission. Frozen Core is a mode where if an alien picks up a core and is defeated, the core does not return to its original point where cores are held. Another mode is Power Outage, where the towers you build will only fire if the cursor is on top of them. This mode can be difficult on console, but it seems at home on PC. A mouse and keyboard is almost essential with its fast moving gameplay. A graph in the upper right hand corner shows you your score and how close you are to a gold, silver or bronze medal. This graph also tracks your previous scores as well. Leaderboards are offered for each mission, mode and difficulty level. You may possibly be the best in the world at Campaign mission 5, with the Power Core mode, and on Elite difficulty. After the match the game offers many stats and interesting pieces of information. Stats such as how many aliens were encountered, defeated and how much damage you caused are shown.
From the outset, any mission can be played at any time. Missions do not need to be unlocked by completing the previous one. An Alien and Tower Encyclopedia shows off some of the art and detail the game has to offer. While in game, the camera can be rotated and zoomed in to show how good the aliens, towers and environments look. Getting into the game is quick and easy, with the game having amazingly fast load times. Loading into a game takes a matter of seconds.
Multiplayer can be a worthwhile mode, if you have the patience to wait for other players. Matchmaking can be long, but you can load up any single player mission and play while still waiting for an online match to start. When in a match, the goal is similar to the single player, but when an alien is eradicated, it appears on the opposing player’s defense grid to try and steal the opposing player’s cores. The rock solid framerate in single player begins to take a hit when playing online. Multiplayer can be absolute chaos at times, but it’s enjoyable trying to control the chaos and defeat the opponent.
Defense Grid 2 offers a great and thoughtful tower defense game on PS4. With its massive amount of modes and options its content is worth the asking price.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Amount of options
- Requires real strategy
- Can play campaign while waiting for multiplayer match
What I Dislike:
- Long multiplayer wait times