Dungeon Defenders II (Alpha & Beyond)
Developer: Trendy Entertainment
Publisher: Trendy Entertainment
Release Date: 9/3/2015, full release date TBA
As I stated in my first preview of Dungeon Defenders II a while back, I loved the first Dungeon Defenders. This new version, Alpha & Beyond, adds more story, a nightmare mode, and a bunch of other neat updates.
Some of the major changes include adding daily map experience or drop bonuses, in order to encourage players to try out different maps. They also now allow players to go straight to private taverns, which is great for people who prefer to play by themselves, like I do. You can, of course, switch between public and private taverns, if you do end up feeling more or less social.
Wonderfully, they’ve also added cinematic sequences that flesh out the story. I am hoping they add more in future updates, because they really are fun to watch. An entertaining addition is the big hunt monthly quest, where you can earn neat rewards (pets, gold, wyvern tokens, etc.) by satisfying certain conditions (e.g. slay x number of a creature, hatch x number of pets, gain x number of pet affection levels, etc.). Some other changes include changes in the organization for skill spheres, a scavenger that collects items that you pick up when you have a full inventory or fall off the map, and new pet abilities. They’ve also added more hero costumes and pets that look great. Lastly, they’ve also edited some of the maps, fixed bugs, and balanced the game to ease player frustrations.
I played the entire campaign as an apprentice (wizard) and really enjoyed it. I’ve also begun playing as the huntress, which is a bit harder, but mostly because it has required me to change my play style, which heavily favors the towers that the apprentice uses. My only complaint is that the weapon I got for clearing the campaign was useless compared to what I had already had equipped. Other than that, the single player campaign and free-play maps ran smoothly for me, with only a few minor issues where I occasionally could not pick up mana crystals even though I definitely hadn’t reached the limit for carrying them. I got pretty wrapped up in completing the campaign and look forward to doing it with the other characters.
Trendy Entertainment has made me feel a lot more confident about their move to early access. I generally dislike the idea of having players pay to play-test your game for you, but Trendy are actually allowing players a voice with regard to various aspects of the game, and are clearly responding to feedback. The game is shaping up nicely, and though there are a few issues to be hammered out still, I think it’s going to be even more fun than the first Dungeon Defenders. It appears that next on the to-do list is an open alpha. They’ve also been teasing controller support for a while, which will hopefully come to fruition during this phase of development. If you’re interested in helping shape the game, the alpha is available on Steam for $15 for the starter pack, though there are also more expensive options for those more invested in the title.
In the meantime… there are Orcs to kill.