A war of attrition with no end in sight.
If we’ve said it once we’ve said it a thousand times, if any developer is going to make a new game in the bloated Tower Defence genre, it needs to be two things: different and good. Now Defenders of Ardania gets the first part right, with players needing not only to protect their HQ from wave-based attackers, but also send their own back to the source. However, unfortunately the latest game set in the Majesty universe just isn’t much fun to play.
The campaign starts promisingly enough with delightfully absurd characters, which both play to and make fun of traditional fantasy tropes, but then you’re dropped into gameplay which seems far too slow for its own good.
As usual with this genre, levels take place on predetermined grids with players only able to place down turrets on certain slots, and the same goes for your opponent. These defensive measures protect your castle from attack, while at the same time you go on the offensive by spawning units, which vary in speed, strength and armour, to slowly plod to the competing general’s HQ letting enemy units pass wistfully along the way without attacking. We imagine they just throw each other a glance and perhaps a wave, as they all proceed to their mutually assured destruction, either by marching into the enemy castle, thus taking down its HP, or by succumbing to turret fire on the way.
Managing both offensive and defensive fronts should prove exciting and tense, but the pace of matches is just too slow. Castles are too strong and units are too weak, which means matches can easily last over 30 minutes, and due to the small unit and turret cap the balance of superiority hardly ever changes. Instead you just eventually roll over opponents, leading to wins which feel unsatisfying.Being set in the Majesty universe, its unsurprising that Defenders of Ardania’s best assets come from a strong voicecast, written dialogue and an enjoyable story – it’s just a shame the rest of the game doesn’t hold up its end of the bargain.
In addition to the 16-mission campaign there’s also support for competitive and co-op multiplayer, but the issues which plague single-player are largely the same here. If anything they’re made worse, as players can replenish their castle’s health, so matches become even more protracted. Defenders of Ardania seemed to have a great concept on paper, but its execution could, and perhaps should, have been a lot better. There’s a step-by-step tutorial and visually the game is appealing enough, it just doesn’t have enough strategy nuance to warrant its existence in what is a very competitive and saturated genre.
A daring yet fundamentally flawed strategy experience.
Tags: Defenders of Ardania
Company of Heroes 2, Batman: Arkham Origins, Grand Theft Auto V, Watch_Dogs, Beyond: Two Souls and Night of the Rabbit previews.Download Now!