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Dungeon Defenders II: This Dungeon Isn't Going to Defend Itself

Iím a recovering Tower Defense fan. In the early days of the genre, I would jump at any new entry. PC, console, mobile deviceÖ you name it and I had to play it. But, like anything, you can have too much of a good thing. While my interest hasnít completely fallen off, it takes a lot to get me interested.

The original Dungeon Defenders was one of my original "binge games" when it came out in 2011. The core gameplay was there, but the added RPG and action elements were a great hook that kept me playing long after Iíd lost interest in more "passive" Tower Defense games. Dungeon Defenders II, which hit Steam Early Access a few weeks ago, offers everything that made the original a favorite, but with a few upgrades to keep things interesting.

Dungeon Defenders II follows the same basic concept as the original. The Early Access version offers four character classes to choose from -- Huntress, Monk, Apprentice, and Squire Ė each with their own specialties. Your goal is to protect a central area in each map from five progressively harder hordes of enemies.

Prior to each match, you are given time to erect defensive structures around your central core. You have limited funds to spend towards structures, so deciding which to build and where makes up a bulk to Dungeon Defenders II's strategic gameplay. You can, of course, see what types of enemies make up each group, so youíre not completely blind going into each round, though different types of enemies will come from the same lanes, so one defense doesnít fit all attacks. Youíll also have to defend secondary areas from attack. Although the central core is your main priority, you want to defend the other targets as well, otherwise youíll give enemies new attack lanes.

This is where the action RPG elements come into play. You canít defend every lane, so your team of four heroes needs to not only decide which lane gets which structures, but each heroís role in the upcoming wave. The Huntress, for example, offers ranged attacks while the Squire is great for front line defense, making him great for plugging up holes in your defense. Each class also has their own trap types, which enhance your defenses further. Adding to the strategy, you can even combine abilities, such as adding water and electricity-based attacks to enhanced effect.

During matches enemies drop loot, giving your character extra fire power. Loot is limited to each class, so fighting over drops becomes a problem when everyone wants to play the same character. Even if you find yourself in a match with class doppelgangers, loot is plentiful. Itís hard to exit a match without a bag full of goodies. If you donít get the piece of equipment you want during a match, however, weapons and other gear are available for sale in the Tavern. While youíre here, you can also enhance your gear and character abilities.

As of this writing, Trendy Entertainment hasnít offered a firm release date, though it is available for Early Access purchase. Although this doesnít give you access to the completed game, whatís available is a lot of fun, especially for fans of the original.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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