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Game Spotlight: Defense Grid: The Awakening

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    Game Spotlight: Defense Grid: The Awakening

    It's that time of the week again, and that means another game spotlight. Some of you might've been wondering when I'd get around to this one. Well, that time is now. So, here we have Defense Grid: The Awakening. This game happens to be one of my favourite games... Ever.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	20181008144827_1.jpg Views:	1 Size:	597.0 KB ID:	57257Defense Grid is a tower defense game. It was released on Steam on December 8, 2008, which makes the game nearly ten years old at this point. At the time, it was the best tower defense game on the market. It had excellent visuals and audio, simple to pick up gameplay with many layers of depth below the surface, as well as a very interesting narrative involving an AI construct named Fletcher who was once a person, but as the alien invasion happened, he was uploaded into the system to help defend the planet. Fletcher was voiced by Jim Ward, who some of you may recognize as the voice of Belal from Diablo III.

    Playing the game starts off straightforward. You have a limited selection of towers to choose from initially, and the aliens only have one path they can take. As the game progresses though, you'll soon see that the levels become more complex, and the aliens will tend to take the shortest path to your core housing. You'll want to use towers to block off paths and make them go a longer route. The longer they have o travel, the more time your towers will have to whittle their health down. Keeping the aliens in play longer also has the added benefit of increasing how much resources you will produce. The longer your cores stay in the housing without being touched, the more resources you'll earn. These resources can be spent on placing towers or upgrading the towers you already have in play. If you mistakenly placed a tower you didn't mean to, you can also sell it off, but you won't get the full price you spent back.

    The game has ten towers for you to use. Here's a brief rundown of each of them.

    Gun Tower: The all-arounder. A fast-firing machine-gun turret that does moderate damage. It's the cheapest tower to buy, and the backbone of any defense.

    Inferno Tower: These towers shoot jets of flame that envelope aliens. They're useful early on against groups of aliens, though later on, you'll unlock something far more effective.

    Laser Tower: Laser towers do slightly more damage than Gun Towers, but they can only focus on one alien at a time. Lasers also do damage over time after they have targeted another alien, They're expensive, and their usefulness in the late-game is questionable as you'll have far better options available. Laser Towers will also ignore flying aliens, so that's another point against them.

    Temporal Tower: The first of your two support towers. Temporal Towers create a pulsing energy field. Aliens swept by this field will have their movement speed reduced. Having multiple overlapping Temporal Towers doesn't mean you will slow alien down to a crawl as the temporal effects don't stack, however, Aliens that are hit by a second temporal tower while still under the effects of the first have the effect timer reset. This means that though they won't slow down any further, they'll stay slowed longer.

    Meteor Tower: An expensive, slow, area-of-effect tower. It lobs fireballs down onto the aliens. Upgrading these will get some damage benefits, but they're only really effective on maps where you need extra damage and don't have any more room for direct-firing towers.

    Cannon Tower: These are pricey to buy and upgrade, but they do a ton of damage. They're not fast, but they are extremely effective both walking and flying enemies.

    Missile Tower: A tower specifically for airborne aliens. Absolutely essential in the late-game. If a flying alien grabs your core and you shoot it down, you've lost that core, so you'll want to blast them out of the sky before they ever get to the housing.

    Tesla Tower: A giant Tesla Coil. These towers charge up a high voltage and blast aliens with lightning. They absolutely annihilate shields. They might be expensive, but they're also very effective.

    Concussion Tower: Early on your only option for crowd-control was the Inferno Towers. Once this tower is available though, it's a very appealing option. Rather than a jet of fire, these towers fire concussive blasts in all directions. They are the only towers that can attack aliens all around them. Upgrade these to level two or three and have two or three of them near each other and you'll devastate aliens that try to get by.

    Command Tower: The second of your support Towers. This tower doesn't fire anything. It simply spots aliens and paints targets for the other towers to fire at. You'll also get a resource bonus for killing aliens inside of the Command Tower's sphere of influence. It might suck to give up real-estate to a tower that can't fire, but in the late stages of the game when stealthed aliens start appearing you'll want o to be able to see them further out.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	20181008142241_1.jpg Views:	1 Size:	1.02 MB ID:	57258The game features 20 levels in the base campaign, but there are also three expansions that were released over the course of the game's life. There's no shortage of content to be had here. Some intricate maps, some straightforward, and some with new gameplay gimmicks, like only being able to use a command tower. There are numerous modes of play, too. From Story Mode, Practice Mode, Endurance modes like Grinder, Super Grinder, and Shredder modes, and many more.

    It also offers friend leaderboards so you can compete with your steam friends to see who's the most effective at core defense.

    Defense Grid is a game I still play today, and I really hope it's a game that will get a remaster. I highly recommend it!

    You can get the game on Xbox 360, Xbox One via backwards compatibility, or on Steam.

    Oh, and you can watch my strategies for the game on YouTube at the link below.

    My Defense Grid Videos.
    Daryn's Signature

    “Just when you think humanity has found the limits of stupid, they go and ratchet up the standard by another notch.” - Bob
  • #2

    Yep. This is one of my favorites, too. Also, as I recall, I was the one who turned you onto this.

    It was a discovery out of the blue for me. Just idly shopping on Steam one day, bored, and tired of the games I had already, I stumbled across this little game that looked like an interesting tower-defense shooter. I'd always been a fan of the genre, having played onslaught in flash-games format a lot, I decided to take a chance on it.

    Was I ever glad I did.

    From beginning to end, you can easily see the loving work that went into it. Its detail is some of the best in that kind of game category (the less expensive games on Steam), and the challenge it presented you with was just enjoyable. In this, the challenge was to just strategically place your towers and upgrade them just as strategically, which as turns out, was actually pretty easy. To beat the levels I mean. It might take you a few tries, but with some trial and error and a little thought, the levels weren't that hard to beat.

    Yeah, that's a big plus for me with games. If they are these uber hard challenges, they're an immediate buzzkill and turnoff for me. I like to play games for relaxation and little diversion, not to have my brain melted by them.

    Defense Grid delivered that. With a side challenge that was always there, though, and one I could engage in if I wanted.

    That challenge is to beat the levels with as few resources spent as possible. You are scored based on this, and there's an Internet leaderboard that keeps your scores, and lets you compete with others if you want to. Either with the Internet as a whole, or with just friends, the board permitting you to filter your results against just your friends if you want to.

    For the game play itself, its layout is easy and intuitive and its maps just plain beautiful. The aliens struck me as a little weird at first, seeming just dropped in from whatever models the developers had lying around, but after not all that long, I started overlooking this, absorbed into the gameplay and just enjoying it too much to care.

    If you're just looking for a simple and fun little game, this might be a title to try. If you do try it, you just may find yourself absorbed into its depths, because indeed, there is a lot going on in this game, but depths that you choose to go into, the game not forcing them on you. Play casual or competitive. Get super strategic or just futz around with laying out towers to see what kind of results you get. The game allows you that choice, which in the end, is its real charm.

    It also has a great musical score and a voice-actor who keeps you pretty amazingly entertained with the occasional joke-drop and a surprisingly good background story. Of all the games I have on Steam, this one ranks up there with the titles I have the most hours sunk into. Try it out for yourself, and you'll likely be just as drawn into it, too.
    Rick Canaan's Signature
    A balanced diet is an ice cream cone in each hand - Rick Canaan


    • #3

      Originally posted by Rick Canaan View Post
      That challenge is to beat the levels with as few resources spent as possible. You are scored based on this, and there's an Internet leaderboard that keeps your scores, and lets you compete with others if you want to. Either with the Internet as a whole, or with just friends, the board permitting you to filter your results against just your friends if you want to.
      This right here is what's kept the both of us playing it over the years. Speaking of...
      Click image for larger version

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      I'm still wondering how you managed this. A 10,000 point gap must mean I'm missing something.
      Daryn's Signature

      “Just when you think humanity has found the limits of stupid, they go and ratchet up the standard by another notch.” - Bob