I thoroughly enjoyed the first Dungeon Defenders game and was excited to hear about the sequel. Then I found out it was going to be a free MOBA and quickly lost interest. Luckily the fans pushed the game’s developers to change back to a tower defense game and the developers decided to keep the free aspect. The entire core game is free including characters and maps.
So what is new? At first glace it is hard to see what is new in the sequel. The game stars with fairly average maps and the four core characters from the original game. The main difference at the start seems to only really be graphical improvements.
As you dive deeper, some of the new features start to be revealed. There are now multiple defense points for players to keep safe. This gives sub-objectives for players to defend in addition to the main objective.
As you continue on, the later maps are truly amazing. There is an entire map that is designed like a jungle where players can go on raised paths between trees. Even beyond the playable area, the maps have much more interesting backdrops that are more believable. This style of map would likely have been impossible in the original and really showcases the big shift to more interesting and believable environments for players to defend.
Around this time story is introduced with cinematics that pull the player into a sad story about children being taken by a dragon but oddly still keeps humor throughout that works well.
The best part about Dungeon Defenders II has to be the current final map. Players are able to fight a dragon boss named Betsy. Betsy flies around the map doing a variety of complex aerial maneuvers while harassing players with fire breath carpet bombs while waves and waves of enemies come to take dragon eggs. Players have to both deal with the dragon and the fight the hordes of enemies over several waves until the final where they actually are able to take on the dragon in an epic boss fight. This certainly would not be possible in the classic Dungeon Defenders. The animations given to the boss would likely be too complex for that game and so after completing the boss fight it is clear this sequel was needed.
Once you finish the final map there is still plenty of content with higher difficulties and a variety of other game modes including an endless wave mode.
Dungeon Defenders II is currently in open alpha. It is free on Steam for anyone that wants to try the game out.