Sanctum 2 Review
The best defense is a good offense.
Do you like the type of Tower Defense game that lets you get your hands dirty? Do you like your shooters to involve a little strategy? If you’re nodding your head to either of these questions then you may want to hear about Sanctum 2. Tower Defense games are, as a wise man once said, a dime a dozen (in fact this will be the second one we’ve reviewed this week) and it isn’t every day that one will let you jump in and shoot the bad guys yourself, but today is one of those days. Let’s have a look at Sanctum 2.
Sanctum 2 doesn’t have much of a story, but it does set the scene with an eye catching visual style. This flashy version of future tech is something I’m a fan of, when it comes to video games, and helps to set the game apart from the browns and grays that a lot of shooters are so fond of.
The basic premise of the game is to protect your Cores from an unknown alien force that is bent on destroying them. You’ll do this by building towers, which will link together automatically if they are next to each other, creating barriers between the enemy spawn points and your Cores. You will, however, be barred from placing your towers in such a manner that will block the enemies completely. You’ll always have to leave them a least one grid square to be able to walk through.
Players will also be able to build a number of different types of gun placements atop any of the towers they have placed on the map. These defenses are built using resources that are dropped into the map at the beginning of each round. Playing by yourself, this doesn’t present much of a problem but in multiplayer sessions it will and I’ll get to that later.
The strategy in Sanctum 2 lies in laying out your defenses in such a way that the enemies have to take the longest possible path to get to your base. In the later maps, when there are multiple spawn points this becomes even more crucial and intricate. This game isn’t easy and if you get complacent, things can come tumbling down around you pretty quickly.
After the build phase in each round, you’ll be free to run around the level shooting up aliens just like you would in any other first person shooter. Your character will be able to carry two weapons and one feature I loved is that if you empty your clip you can switch to your secondary weapon and, by the time you switch back, your primary weapon will be reloaded. Oddly, though, there is no melee attack or thrown weapons save for the mines that some emplacements will dispense. Your weapons do have a second firing mode but for the most part, you’ll be left to just pump your enemies full of bullets.
For those who thought the first Sanctum was a little light on content, you’ll be happy to know that Sanctum 2 has a total of sixteen maps and a decent amount of unlockable weapons and perks for your characters to earn. For those who find the campaign too tough, and some of you will, there is an easy mode or, for those that want a greater challenge, there is a survival mode where the waves never stop and you simply try to survive as long as you can.
Sanctum 2 offers online multiplayer for up to four players and, trust me, you are going to want to have some friends along for this ride. You won’t have to play very many levels before you find that matches can easily get out of hand when you’re by yourself.
As I mentioned briefly before, but will expand upon now, the building of defenses and collecting of resources isn’t managed well in Sanctum 2. Each round will see one drop of resources that can be picked up by any character. With four people, it usually ends up being one person doing all the building while the others stand around for the duration of the build phase. This could have been made far more interesting, and is made far more interesting in other co-op tower defense games.
Sanctum 2 expands on what the first game offered in just about every way; there is simply more of everything in this sequel. The tower defense elements and first person shooter elements are mixed well but neither branch of this river runs very deep. Sanctum 2 can be fun, especially with a few friends, but the lack of depth won’t have you sticking around for very long.