PAX East 2014: Dungeon Defenders 2 Impressions
Dungeon Defenders II is a cooperative tower defense game with heavy roleplay elements. Their sell is that it combines some of the elements of a MOBA (namely fighting in lanes) with the classic elements of the tower defense genre (namely laying traps.) The game is also heavily cooperative, so participants in the PAX East demo had to utilize head sets to talk to their teammates.
Teams were set up with four main classes -- a knight, monk, huntress, and apprentice. These classes had unique build items, and a certain amount of pain that they could take before dying and therefore respawning. Goblin-like creatures charged their wave of destruction down the lanes.
As a disclaimer, I was paired with a team consisting of two children and their adult guardian. The two boys (both under the age of 10) were incredibly loud, and most of the game consisted of them screeching through the scratchy mics about how we were all going to die. It is possible that the game would've been more fun if I had been on a team of people that I knew and liked, but it's a hard thing to say.
But is it anything new?
Overall, I found Dungeon Defenders II to be dry and incredibly one note. The art style was reminiscent of Orcs Must Die, and in some ways the "innovative" concept was as well. It didn't really feel like Dungeon Defenders II brought anything new to the table. Even the classes felt like rehashing old standards. While there is room in the world for more of the same, it doesn't excite the same way other great finds at PAX did and that was a disappointment.
In our demo, it seemed like a decent player could control the game through a series of choke points on the map. However, as this is a team game, a weak link will cause the entire system to crumble. This isn't a slight against the game, but rather a point about team construction. It seems like the kind of game where you need everyone to be on pointe in order to not get overrun by the hordes.
There were only a few enemy types in our demo, but they were all variations on the goblin theme, and it just felt like the standard fantasy roster.
Dungeon Defenders II is scheduled for a soft launch Spring 2014, and will release on PC/Mac/Linux.