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Defenders of Ardania
 

Defenders of Ardania

ESRB: Teen - T
Platform: Xbox 360
Category: Real Time Strategy
 
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Never having played the Majesty games until recently, I had zero clue as to the lineage of this tower defence style spinoff, but now that I do? It changes little. I still have my opinion of this game pretty fixed, and not much can shake me from it. What's my opinion? Read on...

Visuals

The graphics engine is comparable, in many ways, to Torchlight, only seemingly without the advanced lighting. The important thing is that it does its job, it fits the setting (A sort of parody of chivalric fantasy), and everything is easily identifiable. The hud isn't intrusive, and even the menus manage to look vaguely pretty. Minor plus points for good, clear indications of what's important.

Sound

Ah yes, the sounds. The clashing of swords, the thunk of arrows, the prayers as you summon clerics... This is a pretty Tower Defence game, and the game sounds add to the immersion. The music, as well, is, for want of a better word, Majestic, with lots of horns, trumpets, and other chivalric nonsense going on. That's not nonsense in a bad way, that's nonsense in a glorious way. It fits, it sounds cool, and the voice acting, while hammed up, is deliberately hammed up for comedic effect. So, like the visuals, the sounds and music are wielded well.

Gameplay

This is, indeed, a Tower Defence game, set in the fantasy kingdom of Ardania (of Majesty fame). It seems to be set at the end of Majesty 2, a reunited Ardania nonetheless troubled by rebellion, and involves a rebellion which quickly turns out to be... something else. Obviously, epic things are afoot, but the game never forgets its roots, with the return of the hilariously inept minister, alcoholic dwarves, and overblown villains.

Gameplay. Like many modern TD games, has some variations in store, however, and they are, for the most part, interesting ones. Firstly, your opponents in campaign mode can set down towers too, and there are certain places (High Ground) which can extend the range of certain towers. Along with this, there is... the Bounty system. Want an enemy very, very dead before he gets to your castle? Stick a bounty on him! I have to admit, the first time this was introduced, I was caught off guard, and the villain (predictably a tank type), just strolled into my base before I realised how to get rid of him. Whups. But, overall, this is a game that quite happily spends a few levels explaining the basics (via aforementioned rebellion, with you being guided by aforementioned minister), before throwing you in... the medium end. The campaign's not bad at all, with the exception of a few tutorial moments catching you off guard, but I would like, from time to time, to be reminded of the keyboard shortcuts... it's sort of embarassing when you're trying to set a bounty, you forget, and instead build a tower in a useless spot.

Another interesting mechanic is that, since each map is essentially multiplayer versus matches of Tower Defence, you can spawn your own mobs to go for the enemy's (or enemies' ) castles, and, indeed, this is generally the objective of many levels. Certain units give out more damage (warriors), others tank in their groups (clerics... a 5 man group of clerics will often make it through most defences early on, even if their damage output sucks), while others still... you get the idea. You also have an upgradeable economy of sorts, and magic, but again, the game pretty much eases you into using these things, so it's all good.

Overall, if you like Tower Defence, this one has some interesting variation. Not entirely original variation, but still, variety is the spice of life, and, as far as TD goes, Defenders of Ardania delivers on this score. With a laugh and a boozy dwarf on your shoulder, I'll bet.






 
 

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