Apr 1, 2012

Review: Defense Grid: The Awakening DLC's

The main review for Defense Grid: The Awakening was getting lengthy, so I thought it best to go through the DLC's available for it in a separate post. In this post I will be going through all the DLC released so far for the game with short reviews and opinions on value for money.

For my Defense Grid: The Awakening main review, click here!

First up is the free map pack that's included with the main game, Borderlands.  It contains 4 challenge maps that each have 4 game modes.  These maps do not follow the campaign story in any way but are included just for the extra content and challenge.  The four maps are Onslaught, Forge, Entanglement and Infiltration.  I found them all to be great maps which took a while to "master", using that in the loosest sense possible as even though I've gold medalled the lot, there's still plenty of room for improvement according to leaderboards.  Expect to spend a few hours on these if you want to collect all the medals.  Overall map difficulty is slightly above the later Awakening maps.

From the free Borderlands Map Pack - Entanglement
Next up are four map packs called Resurgence Pack 1, 2, 3 and 4.  These packs cost 0,89€ each and comes with two challenging maps per pack.  Each map has 5 game modes to play which are all quite tough to beat.  I just now noticed I lied in my game review, I haven't collected all the medals from these packs yet.  So they're pretty tough! Or I'm really bad. Or maybe something in between.

Like the Borderlands maps, these maps have no story elements, they're just more Defense Grid maps to play on.  I think these maps are all good, there's certainly a good amount of time investment required to 100% them.  Are they worth buying ? Well, if you've played out the original Awakening completely and want more Defense Grid, I'd say so.  Is 0,5€ per map pricey? Perhaps, a bit.  I look at it as supporting Hidden Path.  I don't mind throwing money at a company if they've given me an awesome game.  Others may look at it differently!  Overall though, these maps are all good and should provide good players a run for their money.  At the same time, casual player isn't really missing anything big by not buying these packs.

Roundabout, from Resurgence Map Pack #2
The last and most recent DLC we're covering is the You Monster DLC, released december 2011.  It is priced at 4,49€ and adds a new 8 mission long campaign to the game.  The player and his companion AI find themselves in some strange simulation, in the grasp of the maniacally charming AI from the Portal series, GLaDOS!  She has us run through a number of simulated alien invasion tests, but is also prone to change things up on the fly when the player finally thinks he's doing something right.  I won't spoil it too much, but you will be swearing. And laughing. Maybe scream a bit (in manly panic, of course) as GLaDOS suddenly decides your temporal towers should speed up aliens instead of slow them down.

The 8 maps include a total of 35 challenge missions, and a slew of Steam achievements.  One small negative on the maps though, they mostly look like sterile simulation rooms and are not in any way pleasing to the eye much unlike all the other maps so far for the game.  Its not a big deal, but the game does boast its highly detailed graphics and levels, which the You Monster maps definitely are not.  What the maps do have however is all new story dialogue from the AI you know from the base game but also GLaDOS, being GLaDOS, which is in itself incredibly entertaining and worth the price of the DLC alone if you loved her from the Portal games.

7th map in the You Monster DLC, Portal II

The store page says to expect more than 15 hours of game time from this DLC, but I think most people can easily double or triple that if they want to hunt medals and achievements.

Worth the 4,49€ ? Yep! "You Monster" should be the first stop for anyone looking to buy DLC content for their Defense Grid game.  Hidden Path, please make more DLC like this so I can throw more money at you!

Bonus! GLaDOS sings us a song, from the end credits of Portal 1. Composed by Jonathan Coulton and performed by Ellen McLain (also known from Team Fortress 2 as the announcer for both teams).

Looking back:

(30th Nov 2012)  You Monster remains a good value DLC offering a lot of gameplay time for tower defenders, especially for the perfectionists.  Don't buy this if you thought Defense Grid was lacklustre, You Monster will add some stuff forcing you to get creative, but in the end it's still Defense Grid.  If that doesn't sound too bad, though? GET IT.  The rest of the DLC's are still good buys if you want more Defense Grid, but you need to be in the mood for more levels (challenging ones!) of what you've already been doing so far.  As an incentive, every penny thrown at the devs helps them piece together the upcoming Defense Grid 2 / Defense Grid Expansion.  I for one can't see either of them happening soon enough!

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