Dungeon Defenders: Awakened, review: the historic tower defense returns to the field

The kind of tower defense it's not exactly thriving in terms of releases. Certainly, over the years there have been examples of value such as Kingdom Rush, the Anomaly series, Revenge of the Titans or Orcs Must Die but to really break into the hearts of players lately, only Bloons TD 6 has managed to do so, trailed, as often happens in these cases, from an explosion of notoriety due to influencers and streamers who have dedicated themselves to it for a few weeks constantly.

Dungeon Defenders: Awakened, review: the historic tower defense returns to the field
Dungeon Defenders: Awakened, this time our heroes will be five

In this rather desolate landscape, when compared to much more prolific genres, Dungeon Defenders has easily entered which, thanks to cartoon graphics and simple mechanics, was the first to have the idea of ​​putting cooperation between players as a basis for the development of the entire gaming experience. It was 2011, however, and after more than ten years from its first appearance, today we return to talk about it again to celebrate the arrival on consoles of its third chapter, twelve months late from landing on Steam, but ready to be forgiven with new and updated contents. Will it be worth the wait? Let's find out in ours review of Dungeon Defenders: Awakened.

A still gameplay

If you have a winning formula you don't have to change or twist it to continue to be successful. A few small touches of a chisel on one side, a new paint, some new special effect and here, as if by magic, the third iteration of your flagship series is ready to go back to sparks. This at least in the world of dreams, given that the market, now bulimic, is hungry and longing for novelty, for curated and fresh experiences that take away that aftertaste already savored by a brand new video game, even if paid at a budget price.

Let's understand, we certainly did not expect a total upheaval, with the risk of ending up upside down as happened with Torchlight III, but at least a pinch of further commitment we would have liked to see it to justify this third chapter, especially after that with Dungeon Defenders II and the free to play model, the series had practically already fired all its latest cartridges. Instead, when you start playing Dungeon Defenders: Awakened you immediately realize that the production seems to go with the handbrake on: the history it's not as bright or funny as it used to be and i too four characters, in the guise of Monk, Wizard, Huntress and Warrior, they do not bring substantially anything new as a dowry, in short, nothing that manages to rekindle the spark and instill in the player the will to commit to defend again the magical crystals from the continuous onslaught of hordes of orcs and angry monsters.

Dungeon Defenders: Awakened, review: the historic tower defense returns to the field
Dungeon Defenders: Awakened, the Hero deck is inherited directly from Dungeon Defenders II

Unlike the PC version, moreover, the game mechanics on consoles are slowed down and decidedly less fluid, with a rather cumbersome control managed by the pad, even for those used to playing regularly on consoles. We can safely say that this third chapter is a centrifuged of the first two from which the best ideas are taken, interesting in short for those who arrive fresh on this episode but not for those who have already spent hours and hours on the previous ones. Of the twenty of maps available, in fact, more than half are contents taken in weight with some small reinterpretation from the original Dungeon Defenders and also the models of the enemies and their abilities reappear almost unchanged. The difference with respect to the first chapter is therefore found in bunch of heroes, borrowed from Dungeon Defenders II, thanks to which you can change characters quickly during the set up phases and which will allow you to grow all four champions chosen in unison, going to replace equipment and upgrading skills through a simple talent point system.

The addition of the fifth hero, a futuristic android armed with lasers, however, breaks this idyll, with the interface and the game structure calibrated precisely on four heroes, thus complicating the switch. If the gameplay is linear and without noteworthy flashes, leveraging the classic campaign and the Rift mode to give depth to the end game, with waves of stronger enemies and new skills, a technical sector will take care of further showing the side. unable to perform well on console. Let's start with the chosen color palette, extremely different from the first chapters with even brighter colors that end up creating only confusion when multiple units mix on the screen. Just the behavior of enemies then it is unsatisfactory and it often happens to find them wedged around corners, with a choice of enormously reducing the frame of the animations over the distance during the most excited moments for a very unpleasant end result to see. Unfortunately these are frequent situations and it is a compromise that we just could not digest, having fewer enemies but more cared for, in terms of animations and behavior, would most likely have been the ideal choice.

Dungeon Defenders: Awakened, review: the historic tower defense returns to the field
Dungeon Defenders: Awakened, the combat phases can be very confusing


Tested version Xbox Series X Digital Delivery Steam, Xbox Store, Nintendo eShop Resources4Gaming.com




Your vote

Difficult to recommend Dungeon Defenders: Awakened with your eyes closed, especially in the console version. The controls are cumbersome and it is complex to juggle the collection of equipment and inventory management, the contents largely recycle those of the first chapter, the new additions are far from memorable and even technically the game fails to be at the step with the times. Net of all these serious problems, the supporting structure is still that of a tower defense with many things to do and enjoyable if you want to disconnect your brain and enjoy a few hours of pure unconditional massacre, provided that you bring at least a couple of friends with you. to overcome the tedium of solo missions.


  • Solid game structure
  • Tons of potential hours of play
  • In co-op he still manages to entertain
  • Control with the pad terribly uncomfortable
  • Very few unreleased additions
  • Technically weak
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