Sunday, May 22, 2011

Review: Two Worlds 2: Castle Defense

It’s funny how it works, isn’t it? Two Worlds and its sequel are very much B-grade games. Not necessarily bad, but lacking the refinement of an Elder Scrolls game. But use the franchise as the basis for a tower defense game and you end up with an awesome production – arguably the most involved tower defense game ever. It’s priced to match, but as a premium game, this is a must have for strategy fans.

'Mere' tower defence? I don't think so!


I’m not usually a fan of calling tower defense games ‘strategy games’ – it’s like calling a Dynasty Warriors game an RPG. But Two Worlds 2: Castle Defense is a strategy game at heart. While you buy units in predetermined places on a map like you would build towers in a regular tower defence game, the speed and fluidity in which the action is paced, coupled with the fact that the units can be damaged and are free to roam around finding enemies to fight means the game plays more like a casual strategy game. There’s little direct control over those units other than for upgrades and to spend a few coin for an instant-heal, but in no way is this game as static as most in its genre.

The next thing that separates this game from others in the genre is the sheer mass of units and enemies available. There are six units you yourself get to control, and literally dozens of enemies. This means fine tuning a successful strategy takes more work than other tower defense games. It’s also more rewarding when you see swarms of enemies crash into the impenetrable flesh wall you’ve constructed.

This game is gorgeous on the eyes


And in keeping in tone with the RPG ‘main’ games, Castle Defense is both dark, and visceral. The violence done has real impact, even if you aren’t directly controlling the fighters, there’s plenty of gore and maps are dripping with atmosphers.

See, the game features some stellar production values, in keeping with that premium theme. The visuals animation, sound effects and music all show us that the tower defence genre can be taken seriously – that it’s not just for those cheap and quick $$$s or as a university project.

And like most good tower defense games, it's no cakewalk


There’s even a plot, although only people who have played the other Two Worlds RPGs are going to care about this. That said, it is nice to play a properly-featured tower defense game.

I end up playing a lot of these – not necessarily out of choice, but simply because they’re usually easy and cheap games to make. But Two Worlds 2: Castle Defense surprised me – in fact, it’s a better game than the “main” titles in the series. This one sits at the top of the pack in its genre, with great action, great presentation and plenty of meat. You’re going to pay a premium for it, but if there is only one tower defense game you get, seriously consider this one. 





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