Defense Grid 2

I’ve spoken before about my love of tower defense in general and Defense Grid: Awakening specifically. When they announced a sequel within the last year I was pretty excited. The sequel, simply Defense Grid 2, released yesterday, and I picked it up and have played through about half of the story missions. So far I’m really enjoying it. And from what I’ve seen, other reviews are very positive.

The game doesn’t stray too far from the original, and the core of tower defense games themselves. Creeps invade from a certain location, try to make it to the center, and back out again. Nothing revolutionary there. However, the new installment of Defense Grid changes things up with new abilities and boosts for your towers, along with some different enemy types that are weaker to certain types of damage.

The boosts and abilities are an interesting way of customizing your set of towers. The boosts allow you to pick one of a certain type of improvement for each tower, such as one for the flamethrower tower that allows for damage propagation, or a damage over time ability to your basic gun towers. Because you can only choose one of each type for each tower, you have to choose which ones play best toward your strategy. Similarly, you can pick one commander per mission that has a certain ability, such as the orbital laser that blasts any enemies away, but has a recharge time. I like that picking from a large list lets you play the way you want.

Of course, the towers also can be upgraded. Two upgrades are available in increasing power and costs. I like that the towers turn yellow and red as they level up, and look increasingly bulky and threatening.

I’ve also really liked the new maps that the game has introduced. Some allow you to maze, while others have a pre-determined path. Nearly all of them loop, allowing you to place towers at points that allow them to hit creeps in multiple places. It’s up to you to decide the best placement!

The audio and video in the game is pretty well done. The crackling lightning blast of the electric towers is my particular favorite, but others are great as well, like the booming shot from the cannon, and the laser tower’s zap.

Strangely, there is a bit of an intriguing story going on the single player campaign. Each of the generals have competent voice actors, and the humorous back and forth of their dialog has made me chuckle and wonder what will happen to this motley band of misfit AIs.

If you were a fan of the original Defense Grid: Awakening, or just like tower defense games in general, this is one of the best.