As someone who's put hundreds of hours into the base DD game, all of the negative reviews of this one were very concerning to me. I decided to go for it anyway, and I've been pleasantly surprised. I've put several more hours into the game since my first review, and I figured I'd update it a bit with what I've observed now that I've made it to 60 on a few characters. I've come across a few annoyances, and there's definitely a few more cons, however my final verdict is still a 'recommend.'
Aside from the general pros, this review assumes you're familiar with the first DD game. If not, watch a few let's plays on Youtube to get a feel for the gameplay; it's a combination of tower defense and action game, and it's hard to describe in words what is way easier to show on video.
+ Very fun mix of strategic and action based gameplay.
+ Good character/gameplay variety (8 classes, multiple character build options in each class)
+ Great to play with friends
+ Leveling up and finding new gear is very satisfying. Finally perfecting a map build is insanely satisfying.
Pros vs. the Original Dungeon Defenders game:
+ The game is VERY MUCH Dungeon Defenders 1.9, lots of little things that make the game more enjoyable.
+ Everyone gets their own drops. No more people running around stealing all of the drops while you keep the defenses running!
+ The four slot amulet/consumable system where you can add four extra abilities to your character- instantly heal a tower, amplify elemental damage, heal other players, curse enemies, summon a giant storm, etc... It definitely makes you feel like you have more options and allows for some cool new character builds (like a 4 tower repair amulet + hero speed + hero health to quickly run around the map healing defenses).
+Pets now have uniqe abilities and drop as eggs that you equip in your amulet slots to hatch over time. You can see the stats before you hatch them
+There are consumable items that let you boost exp, loot quantity, loot quality, and loot rarity. Especially useful on survival runs to get some great gear
+ Items, Maps, and Hero are balanced much better
+ Item value is tied to the rarity, not the stats; crazy weapons don't sell for an insane amount any more
+ Currency and Mana are separated. It's very satisfying to run around picking up huge amounts of gold.
+ All of the DLC Maps, Characters, and Costumes are unlocked for free. There's some new maps that aren't in the original game
-Rollbacks. This is almost enough to not recommend the game. Three times now I've completed a survival game only to return to the tavern and find all of my items/exp/money reset. Extremely frustrating and totally unacceptable. It happend twice after Trendy claimed it was fixed, but it HASN'T happened since the latest patch. I'll take this one off the list if I go a few more days without another rollback.
-Game UI: The UI is awful. When I say awful, I mean really, really, really bad. The item box is clunky and other than the ability to filter by rarity and item type, there's no sorting or ability to rearrange items at all. Folders are clunky. The only way to check an item's stats is to hover over it (why not a table view that shows each item on a row along with its stats?). There are random numbers and symbols everywhere with no explanation. Crafting is incomprehensible until you actually start finding blueprints and realize that it takes blueprints.
- Server Lag/Always Online: I understand why they went to server-side only, and I'm mostly happy about it. However there is occasional lag and rubberbanding. I'd rather than then hacked items, though, so it's not a huge deal for me. If you have an unstable internet connection, DON'T BUY THIS GAME.
- Bugs: Summoners are broken, some towers are broken, Dark Elf Warrior Ninja ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥s are broken. This stuff can all be fixed with patches, but it's still a pain in the butt. The Dark Elf Warriors will oneshot you on insane, then turn around and wreck your defenses. I refuse to believe that the insanity of the DEWs on endless spires on insane during the last wave are NOT bugged.
- UI: I know I said this one already, but seriously, the UI really sucks.
Cash shop: Now that I've played more, I realized that the cash shop is literally JUST emotes (at the moment.) It's not even outfits, it's just an animation that you can buy for a dollar. The concerning thing is that the infrastructure exists if they decide to sell more than just cosmetics, but they promised to keep the cash items cosmetic only.
'Mobile Game Port': Yeah, there's a dungeon defenders game for Android that's very close to the PC version, but I'd call that an exceptionally good Android game, not an exceptionally bad PC game. Controls are fine, video options are fine, gameplay is fine. I'm never in a place where I say "Wow, if this wasn't a mobile game port, X would be easier/better." If I never played the android version, I wouldn't beleive the game could even be ported to android and still work the way it does on PC.
In the end, I'd contine to state that if you like DD, you'll like DDE, especially if/when they fix the remaining bugs.
Original Review: 20Hrs in
As someone who's put hundreds of hours into the base DD game, all of the negative reviews of this one were very concerning to me. Even then, I got enough enjoyment out of the base game that I didn't mind supporting the devs a bit more.
I don't know if I'm playing the same game as the people who played for .2 hours before downvoting it, but I'm beginning to think I'm not. From what I've played so far, it looks like they took major steps towards fixing a lot of little annoyances from the base game- mana is no longer currency, everyone gets their own chests and gear drop, and hardcore mode is actually scary (when you die you lose all of your levels and gear!) They added consumables, new pet abilities, two weapon slots, and it looks like all of the paid map DLC from the base game is unlocked for everyone.
A big problem with the first game was hacked in items, a problem that appears, for the moment, to be solved.
I'm going to address a few concerns I've seen brought up.
In App Purchases: From what I'm seeing, the ONLY thing bought with real money is costumes which are purely cosmetic. I have no problem with that model, and usually nobody else does either.
Blurry Textures: If the reviewer played for more than a few minutes or read the on screen tips, he would have seen that the game downloads super low res textures to get you playing, and then continues the download of the rest of the assets in the background.
Mobile game port: I'm not sure if the game started out as a port from a mobile device, but it feels like a full featured PC game: tons of remappable keyboard shortcuts, graphics options, and controls that work well.
The bottom line is that if you like the original Dungeon Defenders PC game, you'll like this too. I feel like a ton of the negative reviews are by people that haven't put any time into actually playing the game.