Dungeon Defenders: Awakened - PC Review

Dungeon Defenders: Awakened by developer and publisher Chromatic GamesPC (Steam) review written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

And we’re back for more Hacking & Slashing Tower Defense Action RPG goodness! In case you’re tuning in now, last thursday had our preview of Chromatic Games’ latest entry into the Dungeon Defenders series. Having literally released that day to the full 1.0 version, there were a fair amount of changes from the pre-launch build and a good week later with plenty of enemies having totally not passed, we’ve got our review!

Moving into its full release build it was clear that a lot of elements were worked on to bring about this final version. Probably the biggest item to note is that the interfaces are a lot cleaner and a lot of the issues that I had in the previous build are now gone especially when it came to things staying on the screen while using a controller. Another big item to note is that the previous build has been archived and while it will no longer be updated, it can still be loaded if that’s the version that you wanted to play and it can be found from the main menu. Otherwise? This brand new and shiny version has five different game modes waiting for you!

Alongside the campaign where you’re going to want to start as it’s the easiest mode to level up in and get some base gear, there are the two previously mentioned Survival and Endless modes alongside two others that have been unlocked titled Mix Mode and Pure Strategy. Campaign is your story and the difficulty is pretty standard per stage. It gets tougher but it’s never anything you can’t handle if you’re moving at a decent pace. The other four modes are more or less a mix of each other with Endless and Mix Mode both being brutal survive the waves with everything you have while Survival and Pure Strategy will have you either just use your character, or just use your towers. Between the five there’s plenty of loot and experience to be found and the rotation is never a bad thing.

Taking it from the top, for at least the core mechanics that have you running around attacking enemies while your towers protect your crystals, you’ll be starting off each stage with a tiny monetary balance. This balance is enough to start letting you place a couple defenses as the first waves are never what you really need to worry about. From there, as enemies are taken out, they’ll be dropping both loot and crystals that can be used to either build more defenses or upgrade the existing ones. If you’re playing by yourself there’s never really an issue with this other than lacking company to hack & slash with, but if you’re playing with others, the fallen crystals have to be split and everyone needs to pay attention to the limit of how many defense points can be used up.

Each stage has a total number of points that can be deployed. The stronger the tower, the more points required. Selling a defense off will give you back the points and some more crystals to spend while if it gets destroyed, you’ll get the point, but not the currency. A neat touch is that you can allow other players to upgrade and repair your defenses so if you’re a tank and need to be out in a specific spot, someone else can take care of keeping everything running. The same applies with the archer and sniper spots. So with this in mind, there’s another feature that allows players to drop currency for someone else as if they are taking care of your things, the least you could do is give them something back.

As it stands now though, certain elements feel rather bare. Starting off each time in your tavern which acts as you and your party’s hub, there’s only the crystal to choose your game mode. There are no vendors, there’s no storage box, only two people at a counter with preset dialog. If you want new gear? You have to hope it drops. Selling or upgrading it is easy as it can be done from your inventory but that box gets packed quickly and even if you lock gear, it would be nice to be able to stash it somewhere else to make sure that it is really safe.

Where things REALLY didn’t work was using a controller. I had a fair amount of issues with it before launch and I’m sad to say that it’s actually gotten worse. You can no longer actually play with just a controller, you absolutely need a mouse in order to even get into the main menu. So if I was in the living room? I had one of those portable keyboard mice hybrid devices because I needed it to select my game mode, upgrade my gear and level up my character. None of these actions could be done with the controller which was really unfortunate especially when all of the previous Dungeon Defenders were on the consoles so the mapping should have been nailed down. Maybe this will be fixed by the time Awakened hits the consoles.

So overall, Dungeon Defenders: Awakened is a good return for the series. It’s fun to play both with friends and family though it will be interesting to see where things go from here. With the original success of the first, the troubles of the second, and then technically the original revamp of the first, Awakened has the opportunity to expand with the knowledge of the titles that came before it while also avoiding the issues that came along for the ride. I just hope that I get my Barbarian back...

Score: 7.5 / 10



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