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Dungeon Defenders II is shaping up nicely on both PS4 and PC

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The PC version's ahead by a light-year, though

Trendy Entertainment has already bestowed Dungeon Defenders II upon its most invested fans. In fact, they've had it for more than a month now. "Invested" is the only way to describe those people -- both financially and mentally -- as that's what it takes to pay an Early Access fee for a game that will eventually be free-to-play.

But, those same fans get the privilege of seeing Dungeon Defenders II along as it's molded through the development cycle, and better yet, they'll get to help shape it too. Early adopters are "rewarded" with influence points that allow them to vote on future game features. It's unknown how far their reach has extended thus far, but someone's doing something right with Dungeon Defenders II.

At PAX South I had the chance to check out the four player cooperative role-playing tower defense title. Okay, it might not fit nicely into a traditional genre, but it ends up making sense when you play it. Even for complete newcomers to the series, it works -- it just takes a bit longer than expected.

Playing on the one PlayStation 4 build at the kiosk, the developers walked me through an introductory five-wave map of Dungeon Defenders II that proved to be challenging yet manageable. Eschewing the role of squire, wizard, and monk, I opted to play as a huntress, as I figured her bow would (hopefully) make for some interesting cross-map headshots.

After setting down a smattering of traps to guard each lane, I initiated the action. Baddie after baddie swarmed the core I was assigned to protect. Damn. It took some brute force, but I eventually whittled their numbers done to nothing. Turns out that the pre-combat planning may be just as (or more) important than the actual fighting.

Throughout the remaining four rounds, I set increasingly elaborate traps, combined them with my weapon's elemental buff, and made better use of the environment. It sort of clicked, and I got to imagining what playing as a full team might be like -- everyone wreaking havoc, causing even more bright swathes of color to fly across the already radiant screen.

That was all before I got into the RPG elements of Dungeon Defenders II. I saw a fair amount of loot and currency dropped, but didn't have much of a chance to grasp how they could be set in motion to ensure constant progression. But, assuming it's as personal as customization in RPGs tends to be, it's easy to see how it'd be especially easy to get attached to the advancement of a particular character.

Where Dungeon Defenders II's uncertainty lies is within the finer tuning of the PS4 adaption. While the action handled nicely enough, the button combinations for certain moves and trap placement felt cumbersome at times. Also, the menus sported a mouse cursor controlled by the analog stick (a feature which will presumably be swapped out for something more traditional and fluid).

All that made a bit more sense when Trendy told me where its priorities were with Dungeon Defenders II. This one, unlike its predecessor, was build with mouse and keyboard in mind. Porting that all over to a controller scheme is a challenge that the developers accepted as a trade-off for making sure the PC version is ideal.

While not many have tried their hand at the PS4, plenty have played it already on PC. At the Dungeon Defenders booth, an excited frenzy broke out as a team of players made it to wave five on nightmare mode. Everyone tending to the kiosk was beside themselves as this was the furthest anyone at the show had made it.

I wondered if that were something truly special. I inquired as to whether the Early Access players had made it that far. Yeah, they had. Of course they had. In fact, they were doing things that were surprising the developers. After a very rudimentary go at Dungeon Defenders II, I can't help but think that if it's those players that are helping shape the game, it's probably in pretty good hands.


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Brett Makedonski
Brett MakedonskiManaging Editor   gamer profile

While you laughing, we're passing, passing away. So y'all go rest y'all souls, 'Cause I know I'ma meet you up at the crossroads. Y'all know y'all forever got love from them Bone Thugs baby... ... more + disclosures


 



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