Saturday, September 6, 2014

Video Game Review - Sanctum 2

Man, did I ever love Sanctum. It was sort of like Orcs Must Die! but with a futuristic, almost 'Mass Effecty' slant. Also, the protagonist and player character Skye Autumn was fun. It's always interesting to have a female main character who is not portrayed as soft or sentimental. Skye was a brutal Lume hunting machine. Sort of reminds me of Sinon from the SAO novels (less so from the anime, as they humanized her a bit).

In any event, I was shocked to recently discover that a Sanctum 2 had been released last year. So I checked it out. It's still a brutal, fast paced, first-person shooter/tower defense game. You still are fighting Lumes; giant, insectile aliens with glowing weak points. But now you have more characters with different specialties and personalities.

There's Skye, of course, the profane, assault rifle wielding mad woman, who does extra damage with each consecutive shot and can double jump. I enjoy that they made her look older and more beat up, and also did not fall to the temptation to give her bigger boobs or make her 'pretty'. There's her little sister Sweet, the adorkable artist who carries a BIG gun and can change directions mid-jump. There's Haigen, a scumbag shotgunner who has extra health and deals tremendous damage at close range. Lastly, there is SiMo, a robot that looks like a cross between an armored Turian and Trade Federation battle droid. He's a sniper, and he doesn't say much.

There's also a DLC character, but I don't have it yet.

Now what this game does well is fast paced shooting. There's also a lot of planning involved as you lay your turrets and maze between waves. Mutliplayer is fun and works well, and since a recent patch, is much more congenial about how the resources work. The new characters are well balanced with each other (even if I personally only seem to be able to play as Skye), and the new specialities make team games a blast.

One improvement from Sanctum is that there is more story element, delivered to the player via cool, comic based intermissions. I would LOVE for there to be an actual Sanctum comic.

Things I didn't like from this game that were not in the original Sanctum were that you had to run all of the way back to the Core to pick up resources. This is just tedious on waves where you don't have a time limit, but is even more of a drag when you are working against the clock.

Also, the enemies will now go out of their way to attack you. This seems counter intuitive in a tower defense game, where the enemies' strategy would be better served to move to the Core as quickly as possible. Also, if they're that smart, wouldn't they just climb over the barricades instead of following your clever little maze?

Sanctum 2, however, is one of those games that does what it does so well, that you not only can, but you want to look over its shortcomings. It's that good.

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