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Dungeon Defenders is bringing it to the hardcore

4:30 PM on 10.03.2011 // John Speerbrecker

Just when you thought that you have already seen every type of tower defense game, the team at Trendy Entertainment have thrown us a curveball with what might be the most all encompassing version of the genre to date. To be more specific, this is a four-player-co-op-action-adventure-hack-n-slash-RPG-tower-defense-game. 

Yeah, you read that right. It's time to lock yourself away for a while.

Dungeon Defenders (XBLA, PSN, PC)
Developer: Trendy Entertainment
Publisher: Reverb
Release: October 19, 2011
MSRP: 14.99

Dungeon Defenders is exactly what it sounds like. You are one of four warriors who are trying to protect your Eternity Crystals from the onslaught of Goblins and hordes of monsters. You will use your towers to help defend against the attacking hordes alongside your weapons and abilities. 

Gameplay is based on a set-up phase and attack phase with each wave. Depending on what options that you choose in the tavern, you will be able to set up your towers in the map without problem. Then when all the players have set up what they could, you touch the crystal to unleash the many monsters that just hate crystals and want to do nothing more then just beat the crap out of them. During the attack phase, you can utilize your towers against your enemies and go toe-to-toe directly with them. Enemies will drop mana that can go to either repairing or upgrading your towers.

It seemed that I gradually was peeling away the surface of the game in my playtime and each layer that was peeled off was more inviting and interesting to see. Each time that we played, we could choose to play in any of the difficulty settings available which would affect what kind of loot and experience we would get. Of course, replayability is always an option to help build out your character and get that awesome loot. You can also control the camera to be in third-person or you can zoom out to give it a more traditional isometric view of the map.

There are four types of characters to use and you can use multiple characters in your match. So, if you want the magic missile towers in the game but want the attacking power of the Squire, you will be able to switch them before you release the horde. Another awesome aspect of this game is that while you play, you will not have to worry about one of your characters having items that you will not be able to find later as your inventory is shared with every character you create on your user ID.

The Apprentice uses elemental magic who has a great mix of offensive and defensive towers. With that, his towers utilize ranged attacks and will also strip resistances away from the enemies. A small tip is that you can use a fire debuffing tower and then have your other towers attack the enemies with fire to be more effective. He performs more long distance physical attacks, both of which can be charged to unleash a much more violent version of them.

The Squire is most likely the more balanced of the characters. He has a good balance of offensive and defensive towers that have a lot of hit points so they will be much more stronger to the attacks of the goblins. One unique aspect of the Squire is that he is the only character that can attack. With that, you will be able to send the Squire out to block the incoming enemies while you are able to repair your towers.

Since we all want to include girl characters in our lives, we have the Huntress to fill that need. She is a very stealthy character that places traps that will severely hurt the enemies. Her physical abilities also allow her to become invisible and travel behind enemies where she can lay traps such as proximity mines. 

Arguably, the most complex character to use is the Monk. This fighter does not use any physical blockades to stop the mobs of gobs. All he uses are auras that inflict status effects. For example, he can create an aura that slows down the enemies or electricity damage enemies. He is also the only character in the group that has both ranged and normal attacks, both of which are buffed by the staff that he uses.

Each character is given their own tavern where you can buy equipment, manage your inventory, and choose the level that you will go to next. Also, you can level up your equipment and purchase a pet for your character to have by their side, like a flying tiger or a dragon. You will also be able to adjust the appearance of your fighters in the tavern. 

Dungeon Defenders can be played through co-op, solo, local, online or even PvP. There is a survival mode where you will encounter wave-after-wave of enemies that will get at you nonstop. There is also the challenge mode where you can try to beat certain criteria, such as trying to defend your crystal while it teleports throughout the map. We played one level where the goblins just dropped out of the sky and we had to make sure that they didn't destroy the crystal in the level. 

At first look at this game might be a little daunting to an unsuspecting player. As you charge through the levels, start building up the armor and weapons though, you'll be hooked.

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