Empire Defense II

Empire Defense II

Tower Defense of the Three Kingdoms

Empire Defense 2 is GoodTeam Studio's follow up for the company's successful Empire Defense title, set in Middle Ages. This sequel which was released late April this year is now set in ancient China, loosely based on the timeless historical novel “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”. The game is basically a tower defense game with RPG elements such as having the capability to develop individual generals by leveling them up, upgrade individual units, and gear up your heroes/ generals by giving them equipment that can turn the tide of battle.

ED2's main gameplay revolves around the player's selected general. Enemies will attempt to defeat the general. The general is strong on his/her own right and can defend himself. However, he can deploy his own units to help fend off the attackers. Similar to basic tower defense layouts, these units will serve as your defensive “towers” and your general is your HQ or gate. Defeating enemies will give you gold coins which you can use to purchase new units and upgrade them. At the end of each wave, you'll have to face off a boss enemy. If your units have been upgraded using the coins you earned by defeating the previous enemy waves, they should be strong enough to whittle down the boss and weaken it before it reaches your general.

You'll start off with just four basic units. There are 14 more units that you spend crystals on to unlock. Once a unit is unlocked, you can use crystals to permanently increase their levels. However, the cost to unlock and upgrade them can be pretty hefty. The same applies for unlocking the other 15 generals and several items/ equipment. Some of the high tier equipment will require Arena Coins instead. Players who don't want to use real money to buy crystals are in for a long grind in order to get the game's best equipment, units and generals.

One curious difference you won't find in normal tower defense games is that your general can move in the battlefield. Your general will start off with a set number of moves, which will determine the enemies' path. Your general will more Move points as you clear waves in the current battle. This feature can be used to your advantage since you can design the route the enemies can take and give your allied units good deployment positions. Your general can also use his special ability to turn the tide of battle.

Before deploying to a battle, you can access your general's inventory and equip any unlocked weapons or gears. You can also select up to four different units before starting a map. Each map has four difficulties with their own set of rewards. Completed maps can be played over and over again to grind experience and crystals.

The game doesn't need to be connected to the internet all the time. The game's Story mode is an all offline affair while the game's online mode is accessed through the Arena option, where you can compete with other players and increase your ranking to get better rewards. You have to log in to the Arena server and input a name. Once logged in, you can collect free Arena Coins and Crystals by logging in to the Arena. You can collect the displayed resources again once the cooldown timer has run out. Each arena battle uses up one ticket. You'll recover one ticket per hour. There are arena missions that will give you arena coins as well.

There is an option to perform a Cloud Backup. This feature will require you to put in a valid email address. Players are reminded that their credentials are their own responsibility since the developers won't be able to help recover them. It is also worth noting that cloud backup restoration can be done once every 30 days.

The game also gives a different daily reward each day, seven days a week. For example, you'll get a 100% experience boost for your general on Mondays, +50% Arena Crystal rewards for Tuesdays and so on. When connected to the internet, players can take part of events as well. The rewards and conditions are displayed when the player accesses the Event button in the main menu screen.

The game's art style is appealing at least. The character designs, equipment, illustrations and unit sprites all work together in bringing out the war-torn albeit toned down era of ancient China. The interface design is simple and doesn't leave that much visual clutter that may confuse players. The descriptions aren't compressed in a fixed box; you can actually scroll down the text to read an item, unit, or general's details. The game's sound isn't that bad or special either. It's just right to bring out the ambiance.

The game's translation also needs a LOT of improvement. The translation of the game's texts and instructions is kind of rough and unrefined. The context can be understood but the grammatical opportunities can be peeve-inducing for some English-speaking players.

The game's wide variety of units, heroes, equipment, maps and online mode give Empire Defense 2 a good replay value. However, the long-term grinding can turn off other players. The game's RPG and tower defense elements are its main strengths and it is important to keep these aspects balanced up to maintain the game's attractiveness. The game is free and players don't need to spend real money to enjoy the full features of the game. There are also minimal ads when you play the game while connected to the internet but nothing obstructive or annoying.

The game is enjoyable in its own right. With tons of other tower defense titles out there, ED2 can be a “love it or hate it” affair for some players.
4.2 / 5.0
review by vhayste | Aug 7th 2014

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