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Game Info:

Defense Grid 2
Developed by: Hidden Path Entertainment
Published by: 505 Games
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Genre: Tower Defense
Number of Players: Up to two
ESRB Rating: E10 for fantasy violence and mild language
Price: $24.99

Thank you 505 Games for sending us this game to review!

Defense Grid: The Awakening was created by Hidden Path Entertainment and released in 2008.  It was a single-player only game that earned positive reviews.  Defense Grid 2 offers the same great 3D tower defense gameplay  with the addition of multiplayer support.

Like all tower defense games, you must erect various defense weapons to protect your planet’s cores from numerous waves of aliens. If all of the planet's cores are taken, you will lose the level.  To prevent that from happening, you must place the weapons in spaces where they will do the most damage.  As they say in the real estate business: location, location, location.  

The weapons vary from guns, lasers, cannons, concussion blasts, inferno towers, missile launchers and meteor cannons.  To slow and wear down the enemies you can place temporal towers in heavily guarded areas.  To give your weapons a little more oomph, you can place them on booster towers.

Defense Grid 2
Highlights:

Strong Points: Great tower defense gameplay; lots of game modes; level editor
Weak Points: Takes a little while to find a multiplayer match; Windows volume controls do not work
Moral Warnings: Alien violence; language

The single-player campaign will guide you through the basics of placing, using and upgrading your weapons and commander abilities.  Before each mission you can choose which commander will lead and lend their power to your army.  Some of their abilities include a power laser attack or the option to slow down a group of aliens.  While these abilities are powerful, they have a long recharge time.  

In total there are twenty missions that you can play and adjust the game mode for.   Besides the story, you can play with fixed resources, limited number of towers, or upgrades for them.  There are two grinder modes that have one-hundred waves of aliens; super grinder mode is more challenging with multiple alien species to contend with.  For those looking for a challenge you can damage the aliens manually in power outage or focal point.  In those modes you have to control the towers or deal the damage yourself.    

Multiplayer offers several game modes as well.  In DG Fighter aliens that are destroyed by your weapons are sent to your opponent’s side of the map and vice-versa.  In the Co-op Doubles mode both players work together to stop the alien’s onslaught.  Lastly, in DG Coordinated Defense the players must work together, but they can only place defense towers on their territory.

While many people play Defense Grid 2, it took a few minutes to find a person to play against.  I like how the game lets you play the single player campaign and notifies you when the match is ready.  You then have the option to accept or decline the match and if you accept, your single-player progress will be saved.  This is a nice feature since you cannot manually save the game.  The auto saves are frequent and you have the ability to roll back to the last checkpoint if your level takes a turn for the worse.  In fact, you can earn Steam achievements for using this feature.

Defense Grid 2
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 82%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - -85%
Violence - 6.5/10
Language - 7/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 9/10

There are sixty-five Steam achievements that can be earned.  You can earn them for killing 1, 100, 1000, 10,000 and 50,000 aliens.  Each of the commander’s abilities earns you an achievement when used as well.  Another great Steam feature is the cloud game saves.  I like the ability to seamlessly play between my laptop and my more powerful desktop.

While this game was playable on my laptop, it noticeably lagged when hundreds of aliens were swarming my planet.  The 3D graphics are decent and there are multiple types of aliens and you can zoom in to get more details and information about them.  I wish some of the towers looked a little more unique since it’s hard to tell what I placed where.  There’s quite a bit of variety in the different planets/levels.  There’s a level editor as well if you want to make your own.

The sound effects are good and very loud, especially since I was not able to lower my volume using my keyboard or Windows volume controls.  The AI voice acting and conversations are amusing to listen to, especially when they have been compromised by the aliens.  Unfortunately, there is some language including d*mn and b*stards.  God is spelled with a lower case “g” as well.  Like all tower defense games, the enemies are literally shot down; I did not notice any blood or gibs in the process though.

There’s a lot to like in Defense Grid 2; there’s plenty of single-player action to be had.  Multiplayer support is a nice added bonus and I hope that picks up more steam.  This is a great game to get if you enjoy earning Steam achievements.  The price of $24.99 is reasonable given how much content there is.  There are already some DLC packs available and one of them is free if you register on their mailing list.  I look forward to playing more of this game and others in the franchise.    

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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