Preview | What it feels like to be a god in Dungeon Defenders II
Tomorrow, after the PlayStation store updates, Trendy Entertainment will be releasing the early access build of Dungeon Defenders II for the PlayStation 4. Recently, they gave us a chance to play a pre-release build to see how it fares on console, considering the game has been available on PC for almost a year now. Trendy Entertainment’s Senior Producer Brad Logston, joined by Marketing Director and Designer Philip Asher, presented the demo. Unbeknownst to them however, the build that was on demo was a debug version, one where the Huntress, the character I was to play, had a bow that dealt roughly 2.5 million points of damage. The guys at Trendy were definitely aware that we were overpowered for the levels we took on, but the damage wasn’t very obvious till the end of the demo…but more on that later.
Dungeon Defenders II plays fairly well on the PlayStation 4, giving players the option to bring a friend along for the ride with split-screen co-op. Similar to other tower defense action titles like Orcs Must Die, as well as the previous Dungeon Defenders, this sequel plays fairly similar to the first game, third person action with a monetized strategy element. The main differences come into play with the larger assortment of towers and traps to build. The sequel will also boast a larger roster of characters when it officially launches, giving access to at least 24 playable characters. The game will run on a free-to-play model, though the early access build will cost $14.99, mainly giving support to the developers, while providing the player with some benefits.
In the early access version of the game, the four original characters from the first game return: the Squire, the Huntress, the Apprentice, and the Monk. Each one plays fairly similarly to how they played in the original title, though with a few new towers and traps, as well as slight tweaks to existing ones. The Squire is suggested as a starting character given that he has blockades that he can make to stop the mobs of enemies from moving down the lane quickly. The Huntress is essentially a trap character, placing proximity mines, geyser traps and poison launchers to damage enemies.
Though the Apprentice didn’t make an appearance in the demo, the Monk was used briefly before waves of enemies would attack, dropping an electrical trap that combined with the water from the Huntress’ geyser trap, increasing the damage. If you’re familiar with the PC version of the game, the rest will be more or less the same. Players choose a stage with various points for enemies to appear from, and then place traps to prevent said enemies from reaching their objective. Chests lie around the stage with mana for the player to collect to build towers and traps, and they replenish after each wave. Enemies also drop mana, as well as gold to use for new things like costumes and characters to purchase in the game. They will also drop items to replenish health or skill points for your character, as well as gear that can be equipped right away, or stored in a temporary storage.
Now, getting back to the amazing bow. We played through one level that was supposed to be easier, and though it wasn’t necessary, the bow made it even easier. It wasn’t even needed to have the towers or traps, as it was clear that this stage could have been done solo when I destroyed an Ogre in one hit. Many enemy attack patterns didn’t even get fully realized considering the rate enemies dropped. They didn’t stand a chance.
Despite the easy completion of the first level, we still weren’t fully aware of the awesome might of this bow. Deciding on a boss stage for the next round, we took on waves of normal enemies again for a bit, though the final wave had us take on Betsy. Betsy is a large dragon that can debuff towers and traps, and she boasts a staggering 1.5 million health points, though if we recall the stats of the bow that was equipped, it did 2.5 million damage. Upon finishing the cutscene, Betsy landed, and a single arrow was fired. The dragon was down, and the attack patterns that were programmed into her were never performed. It was laughable, almost sad…a dragon taken down so easily. Alas, this wasn’t to last, as the completion of the demo meant the Huntress with the super bow was to be deleted just as easily as she took down Betsy.
Even though my experience with this build wasn’t exactly normal, the way the game played out could be figured out easily enough. The game adapts to a controller fairly well, as pushing shoulder buttons opens up options like placing towers, as well as repairing, selling, or upgrading them. Without the shoulder buttons pressed, the player is given access to their skills, each mapped to three of the face buttons with the X button used to confirm a selection. Since the game has been available for PC for a while, it isn’t difficult to figure out much about the game, but it is nice to at least get an idea of how it plays on console. Dungeon Defenders II starts early access exclusively for the PS4 on September 29th, and the free-to-play release will happen at a later date.