Defense Grid 2 Gives Everyone a Niche

09/02/2014 by Joshua Vanderwall | Source: The Escapist
At PAX 2014, I got a near-final look at September's most anticipated Tower Defense game, Defense Grid 2. If you're a Tower Defense lover, you've got a lot to look forward to on September 23, when it launches on PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, and PS4. From new towers to configurable maps, and even map creation tools on Steam, DG2 is likely to scratch your tower building itch for a long time to come.

Across five campaign chapters, you'll have 21 distinct maps to play through. With a focus on lane/plaza hybrid maps, which blend the two primary strategies into a single board, you'll have to be quick on your feet to line the lanes while also diverting the alien stream through the plazas. Continuing the DG tradition, your enemies don't just have to rush straight to an exit on the map, instead having to reach your base, grab a core, and then make their way back through your defenses to the exit.

Local co-op is prominently featured across platforms, allowing a friend to pick up a second controller and hop into the action. Whether you prefer to play competitively or cooperatively, there are options available for you. In co-op, you'll share resources and tower positions, while in competitive co-op, you'll each have your own resource count, and different colored tower tiles for each player. If you want a real challenge, though, you'll want to check out the competitive online multiplayer.

In the online multiplayer mode, "DG Fighter," you'll both be playing the same map independently, with fewer aliens spawning in each wave. There's a kicker, of course. Whenever you kill an alien, it spawns in the same location on your opponent's map in a stronger form. There's a 10-minute time limit to these matches, and the only way to "beat" the map is to survive until time expires, at which point the player with the most points wins. It seems hilarious and terrifying to focus your defenses near your base, so aliens are constantly spawning directly adjacent to your opponent's base as you lay waste to the threats.

In addition to the new towers, you'll also collect items throughout the campaign which give specific towers various boosts or special abilities. There are also heroes you'll have access to for the campaign, which each come with their own cursor-based ability such as Orbital Strike, which does a huge amount of damage in an area around your cursor.