Defense Grid 2 - PC Preview

Something about tower defense games simply appeals to me. I can sink hours into trying to come up with that perfect strategy, which then requires I have the proper reflexes to carry it out. The original Defense Grid is pretty much my gold standard for tower defense games, which is why I am anticipating Defense Grid 2 as much as I am. The early (very early) returns? This game could be amazing.

For those readers unfamiliar with the genre, the premise is actually quite simple. Enemy units will march out from their compound(s) across a battlefield to pillage power cores from you. They will try try to trek back to their home base with said cores. You are in charge of stationing and upgrading a variety of different weaponized towers that will attempt to mow down any of said enemies that get within range.

Bullet points like new multiplayer modes, new challenge modes, procedurally driven audio and the ability to build and share levels with other players are all well and good, but the promise of more story and characters really appeals to me. The story from the first Defense Grid was one that I really liked, but I wanted more history and more voices involved in telling it - so my hope is that Defense Grid 2 lives up to that promise.

As for the game itself, it immediately feels familiar after all of those house I logged into the original game. The towers return largely the same, which is a bit of a disappointment. The original game's towers were brilliantly balanced, but I was hoping to see some new tricks in the preview build. That being said, setting them up and upgrading the towers is still a great deal of fun. I like that you can see how your tower placement is going to impact the enemy paths.

Having recently played another tower defense game called Rush for Glory, I was again reminded just how polished Defense Grid is. Rush for Glory was a perfectly decent tower defense game, but it was far more limiting and less intuitive than what I saw out of Defense Grid 2's two available levels at this point. The ability to put down towers almost anywhere and being able to tell where they go is a welcome mechanic. Too often in Rush for Glory, I was left guessing where along the edges of the path I could put things.

I did like the new bases that can be put under a tower. One thing that impacts the effectiveness of your towers in Defense Grid 2 is line of sight. If the tower does not have a clear shot at an enemy unit (usually because another of your towers is in the way), they will not shoot. Give them a boost so they can 'see over' the lower lying towers however, and you can continue raining shots down on your enemies with impunity.

As more levels and features get integrated, we will continue to check in on Defense Grid 2 and talk about what we have seen. It is still early, but fans of the original will no doubt find this sequel a great deal of fun when it is finished.

Article by Nick
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