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Episode 422

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Episode 421

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InDis- Ep 420 – Insert Weed Joke Here

Episode 420

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Dungeon Defenders

Dungeon Defenders
Game Name: Dungeon Defenders
Platforms: PC, XBLA, PSN
Publisher(s): Reverb Communications
Developer(s): Trendy Entertainment
Genre(s): Tower Defense, Action RPG
Release Date: October 19, 2011
ESRB Rating: E10+
Big Ups: Great Depth, Simple to Understand, Smooth Gameplay, Amazing Cooperative Multiplayer, Addictive
Big Downs: Controls take a bit to get used to, Camera can be annoying during build phase

Dungeon Defenders is a very unique and different experience. Trendy Entertainment has captured the entertaining wave-based gameplay of the tower defense genre and meshed it together brilliantly with addictive RPG elements. Add fantastic third-person action gameplay and some of the best cooperative gaming you’ll come across this year, and you’ve got a formula for one of the best games to hit the XBLA.

At its core, Dungeon Defenders is pretty simple. You choose one of four character classes, each with their own unique abilities and attributes. You are then thrown into various arenas where you must defend your Eternia Crystal from waves of evil creatures by building towers, setting traps, building barriers, or just beating the crap out of them with your character. Underneath this core, however, you’ve got an impressive amount of in-depth RPG elements.

As I said earlier, it all starts with selecting a character class. Your choices are the apprentice, the squire, the huntress, and the monk. The apprentice is a mage-type character that has ranged attacks and elemental magic based towers for defensive structures. The squire is a knight-in-training character who slices away at his enemies with bladed weapons and has physical towers as well as blockades. The huntress is a ranged character who utilizes bows, crossbows, and guns as her weaponry and sets deadly traps around the arena to defend against enemies. And lastly, the monk wields spears and swords to attack enemies and uses aura abilities to cause various effects on foes.

Once you have selected your character, you’ll start beating away at enemies and earning experience in order to level up. There is a maximum of 70 levels and upon each level you’ll be given a certain amount of skill points to allocate to increase the stats for your character. These stats are: Character HP, Character Attack, Character Speed, Character Casting Rate, Tower HP, Tower Attack, Tower Area-of-Effect, Tower Rate of Fire. Additionally, each character also has two unique class-based abilities which points can also be allocated to.

The RPG elements don’t stop there though. You will be enthralled with a deep loot system as well. Random pieces of loot will drop from creatures and chests as you battle through any given arena. These pieces of loot have randomized values and stat bonuses, similar to that of games like Diablo or Borderlands. And on top of that, the game also has a tavern area. In the tavern, you can purchase weapons, armor, and even pets (which also give stat bonuses just like regular items) from a vendor. Additionally, there are practice dummies in the Tavern to test your character’s damage-per-second with regular attacks, turrets, or abilities.

That brings me to the next RPG element, mana. Mana is the game’s currency. You spend mana in order to buy turrets and defenses to place in the arena, repair them, upgrade them, heal your character, and use character abilities. Additionally, mana is used to do all that purchasing in the tavern as well as increasing your equipment’s levels. Equipment levels work similarly to character levels, meaning that you’ll get a certain number of points to allocate to the item’s current stat increases.

The overall gameplay of Dungeon Defenders is very smooth and enjoyable. The controls for summoning defenses will take a little bit to get used to. Combat plays out very nicely and feels great. The third-person action mechanics mesh together perfectly with the rest of the game and overall the entirety of the gameplay is very polished. There is almost nothing to complain about here.

The levels are also designed very well. Though all the arenas are diverse from one another, even the individual arenas encourage the player to take different approaches in conquering them. I’ve played a couple of the arenas multiple times online and it is interesting to watch how people approach each arena differently. There are also a couple of boss battles in the game that have really interesting and specific mechanics designed just for them. These boss fights are really fun and rewards the players with unique items.

While it is possible to play through the whole game by yourself, Dungeon Defenders really shines in cooperative play. The challenges scale to the number of people you’re playing with which improves the entire gameplay experience. Waves of enemies are much larger and fairly beefier. Overcoming these challenges offer increased experience, loot, and mana rewards. The cooperativeexperience is really what makes Dungeon Defenders amazing, and the ease of finding games using Xbox Live will give it hours worth of playtime.

The entire experience with Dungeon Defenders is amazing. The game is very simple to understand, has tons of depth, is easily accessible cooperative multiplayer, has an enjoyable art style, and possesses great level design. If you’re a fan of cooperative gaming, tower defense games, action games, or fun, then Dungeon Defenders is a game you can’t pass up on. And with the game being only $14.99 (1200 MSPoints), why would you? Dungeon Defenders easily establishes itself as one of the best overall experiences the XBLA has to offer.

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