Dungeon Defenders – Hard to get in to, harder to stop playing

I’m not going to lie, when I first saw it I wasn’t too keen, mainly because it was described as something like a co-op RPG action tower defence adventure. As someone who likes games that are simple to pick up and get into, especially after time away from (the) game(s), it seemed a bit much for me! However it was free to download on Xbox 360 for a couple of weeks (yey Games for Gold!) and had co-op so gave it a shot with my girlfriend.

Initial impressions were poor. The tutorial was hard to read, especially split screen (and my TV is hardly small) plus it made the mistake of pretty much hammering us with information. We got a few of the basics and subsequently gave the first mission a go, which started okay and as soon as I clicked “oh this is just co-op Orcs Must Die” I got into the game more and more.

I’ll be covering the game in a bit more depth over the next week, but for now I’ll look at why the game began to warm on me.

Well first of all I’m stubborn. Having failed to beat a few maps being a low level character I wanted to level up and beat it. So I kept playing and got there. Then the next level and the one after that. Then up the difficulty and oh crap, I’m hooked.

What I’ve really liked is the thorough leveling system, better than similar games that I’ve played. It gives you rewards and constant incentives to keep playing. Just like MMORPGs you’ll find yourself “grinding” through levels saying “just one more go”. You might be nearly able to buy that new sword or level up to use that armour from a couple of levels ago. Maybe you can finally get your first pet soon?

Unfortunately the progression arc takes a crazily sharp turn upwards at ~level 70 that I just don’t understand. Suddenly you need to double the experience gathered playing the game since day 1 to level up! That is just nuts and completely unbalanced. It did provide a good incentive to try out the other classes though, which I am thankful for now! Playing as the Huntress and exploring the other characters have proven really fun so now I have multiple characters that I want to get leveled up. Having several carrots makes this game very tempting to play whenever booting up my Xbox – I can’t get enough of it!

I’ll be doing a few more articles on Dungeon Defenders soon :)

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