The tower defense genre has always been one of my secret favorite genres in video games. If there’s any game out that there that will let me build turrets to do my dirty work for me, I’m there. but it’s different with Sanctum 2 – a sequel to the original, released back in 2011 – as here is a first person shooter tower defense game that gives you the opportunity to take part in the fun. You’ll take part in building a fortress to defend your core against waves and waves of enemies. How does it stack up from its previous release? Sanctum 2 offers a unique take at two traditional genres and gives them a fresh new spin.
To start, Sanctum 2 is a lot bigger then it’s predecessor offering up more levels and customization with perks and turret options. You can choose from one of four characters or enlist the help of 3 of your friends to have a full team online. The sad part about the game is that there is very little story to get you going. The story is ultimately presented in comic book panel form for a few scenes in the beginning of each stage as you cross into the different levels. It’s nicely designed and I’ll give some props for coming up with unique cut scenes. However, this brings it down because there is no way to connect with the character you picked to start the game. Most games these days have animated characters with some sort of script to follow that at least allows you to familiarize yourself with the character in front of you. This essentially makes it feel boring as a concept that wasn’t utilized here. It’s up to you the gamer how you feel about this point because I personally feel it’s hard to argue how you can have a connection with a motionless cut scene that makes you feel like you’re reading a comic book.
Don’t worry; it’s not all downhill from there. Sanctum 2 does provide some interesting gameplay to keep you on board for at least a few levels of the game. The single player experience is, however, lacking if you decide to play the game solo. You’ll have yourself and a team of 3 other characters which will be controlled by the AI to help you protect the core from the onslaught of monsters breaking through your defenses. The monsters vary sizes and the larger monsters have weak points on their backs but, for the larger monsters, but getting to that is tricky when you have more than one monster attacking your base. At the end of each wave you’ll have the opportunity to collect resources and build your defenses. This is where you can build turrets, walls and other items to help you protect the core for as long as you can. It’s rough going solo when you don’t have the opportunity to allow other players in the game, depending on your choice of difficulty you could either be having a blast on easy or a tear your hair out experience on hard.
For the PC enthusiasts out there, there are plenty of options for you to tinker with to get the perfect gaming experience. There are many settings and sliders that will affect the overall performance and appearance of the game. The game will launch when you are online through Steam as it will track your achievements and your progress through the game. You’ll also be able to upgrade your character after each level as well giving you the ability to add perks to increase the fire power of your weapon of choice or other items. You can carry up to two weapons at a time and each has their own special use for getting the job done. Once the wave starts going again you’ll have to get back into position and prepare to face the ever increasing amount of monsters that will come at you.
Graphically the game looks pretty good and is pretty detailed in its environments. Characters are nicely modeled as well so they are aesthetically pleasing. I was very surprised with how high quality the environments are in this game. With it being a tower defense game you know the environments are the first and really only thing you’ll be interacting with and it’s no surprise that the quality of the Unreal Engine 3 is hard at work here. Although you’ll notice the same color patterns throughout the game, it’s certainly quite different from the same brown games we had going there for a while under this engine (Gears of War, I’m looking at you).
Overall, I found Sanctum 2 to be quite entertaining and addictive. It’s simple in nature and has the ability to keep you hooked if you get into it from the get go. Depending on your preference, you can use an Xbox 360 controller with the game as well if you aren’t comfortable with PC controls. It does help when getting into the later waves when more enemies start showing up. Make sure you are tactical and have a good plan. You’ll get a short break in between waves to help set up your defenses to protect the core, so make sure you are smart about those positions you need to set up.
(Reviewed on PC. Review code supplied by Coffee Stain Studios. Thanks.)
ONLY SINGLE PLAYER SCORE
Story – 5.5/10
Gameplay/Design – 7/10
Visuals – 8/10
Sound – 7.5/10
Lasting Appeal – 6.5/10
Overall – 7.5/10
(Not an average)
Developer: Coffee Stain Studios
Publisher: Coffee Stain Studios
Ratings: T (for Teen)