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Old 02-21-2014   #1
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Saph Reviews: Sanctum 2

I'll be the first to admit I don't like Tower Defense as much as I should. If they get past you (and they eventually WILL find a way, due to limited resources plus enemies getting more numerous and stronger) that's it, and I hate feeling powerless like that.

But recently some games that let you fight ALONGSIDE your defenses have happened. My first experience was with the fantasy "Dungeon Defenders" and more recently, the sci fi FPS "Sanctum 2."

In Sanctum 2, you play as a team of specialists with their own unique pros and cons. Firstly, you have Skye Autumn, the hardass leader. Her primary weapon is the assault rifle, she can double jump, and she does more damage per hit she racks up on the ame target (It's minimal but on a boss you can se the umbers climb.) Her sister, Sweet Autumn (I know, I don't like the name ither, though I main her) is the perky demolitions expert, with her powerful launcher weapon and superior aerial control, she can rocket jump around and soften up entire hordes by setting them on fire. Haigen Hawkins is the laid bck guy, which is ironic since his specialty is the shotgun, he has the most health (by a margin of 75% more than the others!) and does more damage the closer he is, with ANY gun. Lastly, SiMo is the resident awesome robot, with quotes about coffee breaks and the like. He's the sniper, and does more damage against enemy weakspots than other characters. He also has improved accuracy with any gun. Each character has tw guns, their fixed primary and unlockable secondaries, and they're heat based Unlimited ammo, but need to cool down. You can swap between guns during the cooling periods for fluid nonstop action.

Your enemies are simply called "Lumes." Your goal is to keep waves of Lumes away from the Cores which purify the contaminated air into a breathable form. They come in various forms. The Walkers are hulking brutes with slower movement speeds, for example, and the Bobbleheads are immune except for weakspots on their ever swinging heads. As such, one set of defenses dos NOT fit all. "Focus" turrets are arguably the best in the game on MANY targets, but are nigh useless against said bobbleheads. You REALLY need to mix and match.

The great part about Sanctum 2 's strategy are the Tower Bases. You literally build your own maze to funnel nemies through. (Bosses CAN destroy these bases and pave a way for the small fry, though, so be careful!) If you're feeling cocky you can try to funnel every spawn point into a single long "Death Corridor" where you can peper away and hit everything from long range, or you can go for the tried and tested winding path to give your turrets more time to wear them down. IMO the winding path wins out simply for the Amp Spire. Any turret within 2.75 panels will get a damage boost. This means an amp spire is most effective when it buffs THREE rows of winding defenses.

As you level up, you get new perks, secondary guns, and turrets. Perks are awesome because different perks are amazing or useless for specific characters. For example, the shotgun guy benefits from shocking nearby enemies once per second, but not getting a larger blast radius the farther away he is from his target. The demolitionist is the opposite. As such, you're not likely to use the same perks on every character, really making each of them unique.

The downside is if you play wth randoms, people always love picking the same characters I've never once played a party with one of everything. I've seen 3 Haigen and 1 SiMO, 3 Skye and 1 Sweet, 3 SiMo and 1 Skye, etc (Me being the 1, every time.) Hell, one time my team all went Sweet in the next mission because of how well I dominated with her the game before! (Spoilers: we died.)

Honestly, for it's cheap price, there's no reason NOT to get it It's good mindless fun, and even once you hit the max rank and unlock the final weapons (getting primary weapons from other characters as your subweapon option) there's still survival mode to test your skill.

EVALUATION: (Remember that my 5/10 is AVERAGE)

Gameplay: 7/10: It's solid and it works well. The variety in the playable cast and the enemies was a nice touch. Almost lowered for overuse of annoying "immune except the weakspot" targets, but didn't since one turret can still kill them: Drone Launchers.

Music: 7/10: Something about the music that plays during the waves themselves just gets you PUMPED. Even if sniping as SiMo, it makes me want to jump into the fray (it does not help one of SiMo's actual lines is "Yippee ki yay mother fuuu*voicebox messes up*) It just feels GOOD.

Story and characters: 4/10: It's a tower defense game so I almost wrote this off as NA, but that wouldn't be fair. There IS a plot that's delivered through comic strips before every mission during the loading screens, and the characters themselves do have personalities, despite lacking growth and devellopment. In particular, the way Sweet almost sings "bits and pieces!" wen blowing enemies up is WAY too happy and rightfully makes me fear the heavy weapons specialist. It was penalized and taken below a 5 bcause at times the plot makes no sense. "Oh hey maybe defending the cores is a bad idea because they might be creating the poison in the first place." What do you do? Keep defending cores. WHAT.

Extras: 7/10: There's a lot of exploring to do (most of it literally outside the level map,) and you're rewarded for it. Some levels have mines to find and place, while others have "Game in a game" arcade booths where you can play games ike Snake, Breakout, etc. One level had a lume beating up an arcade machine, even. For such a simple, straighforward game, it was glorious to see this level of extras!


I give Sanctum 2 a respectable 6 out of 10. Above average. Great quality for it's cheap price. The gameplay is solid, the planning and adaptation feel good, and those comics were a nice touch over not having them at all. Definitely get it if this sounds appealing.
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