Review :: (XBLA) Sanctum 2

Protect the core!

Protect the core!

D.J. Kinsey

Written by DJ Kinsey - Assistant Editor-in-Chief

Published Tuesday, 23 July 2013 19:45

Write your own review !

 Until recently the tower defence genre shared a surprising number of similarities with when I used to make my own wine.  There was a great deal of planning and preparation followed by much watching and waiting to see if all that prep would pay off into something marvelous or if the investment would end up going down the drain due to poor planning.  Then in the last few years tower defence games, including the original Sanctum, seemed to enter a renaissance.  No longer did gamers have to sit on the sidelines while their strategically placed turrets and towers fended off waves of enemies.  The genre began allowing gamers the freedom to jump into the action at the ground level and to become part of the battle.

 

Sanctum 2 melds classic tower defence with first-person shooter mechanics as players must build their defences, with limited resources, to protect an energy core.  A wide range of enemy aliens are released in waves to attack and destroy the core.  Four character classes are available to choose from for the FPS portion of the experience running the traditional gamut from sniper, to heavy weapons expert.  Between each wave, players build walls throughout the level to redirect enemies along the path of greatest resistance.  Turrets can be built upon sections of the wall and upgraded.  This all sounds pretty cut and dry but, much like my homemade wine, it is the subtle nuances which elevate the experience and provide a richness of depth.

 

sanctum2 screenshot1

 

The design of the enemies in Sanctum 2 is varied and brilliant.  Reminiscent of giant insects and creatures from the deep sea, many have specific weak points exposed through their exoskeleton armour.  This is where deftness in the first-person perspective can stop an alien wave in its tracks.  Automated turrets are indiscriminate in their targeting of the aliens so it is up to the player to hit the enemies where it hurts the most.  Laying some slugs into alien hides sounds pretty simple when, like any tower defence game, they follow a specific route.  Sanctum 2 mixes up this dynamic. Should you ever get too close to the alien’s path, they will deviate from their goal of attacking the energy core and instead steamroll a path directly at you.  Raw firepower is rarely enough to stop a wave so fleetness of foot and a constant rotation of zones to attack from ensures that the horde won’t overwhelm your position.  The result of this coupled with jittery crosshair control due to some surprising kickback with the guns leads to plenty of white knuckled tension with your back against a wall and a monster bearing down on you.

 

With great enemies, plenty of un-lockables and customization, the game delivers enjoyable action at a frantic pace while not neglecting the cerebral pursuits of gamers

 

The strategic tower building portion of the game has its highs and lows.  Resources are scarce and the available real estate in many of the levels feels relatively small.  Therefore the ability to greatly influence the environment by generating arduous gauntlets of destruction is not at the same level as other tower defence games such as Geodefence Swarm.  The paltry number of resources available also means that only a few turrets can be built on each level.  As a result the equilibrium between tower placement strategy and first person firepower is heavily skewed towards the shooter portion of the game.  On the plus side, sporadic goodies such as landmines provide an additional layer of thought when constructing the defences.

 

sanctum2 screenshot4

 

There is a bevy of content in Sanctum 2 that held my interest.  Levels can be played alone or in multiplayer which delivers a whole new experience replete with the joy of utilizing proper teamwork and the frustration of playing the game with a resource hog.  There is ample replay value from tackling a map as a sniper delivering death from a distance or a shotgun wielding hero who needs to get close to the action to be successful.  The replay is further amplified by the numerous un-lockable weapons for the FPS experience and turrets for the strategically inclined.  My only real area of frustration occurred when I failed a mission after toiling through a large number of enemy waves.  A map can represent a significant time investment and having to restart at the beginning if my energy core was compromised during the final wave felt defeating and at times I was reluctant to go through it all again.  A save point at the half-way mark of the alien waves would have gone a long way towards diminishing this frustration.

 

Visually, Sanctum 2 is a good looking game with an overall colour palette and feel that would fit comfortably in the Mass Effect universe.  The enemies move fluidly and, oddly enough, appear both alien and familiar at the same time.  The story, told in comic strip sequences complete with speech bubbles, has a unique graphical acuity.  While I normally find that hand-drawn characters with exaggerated proportions look too child-like to be taken seriously, the characters in the Sanctum universe are slick and gritty.

 

sanctum2 screenshot2

 

FINAL FOCUS

 

Not since someone got chocolate in my peanut butter have two distinct items tasted so good together as the FPS and tower defence action of Sanctum 2.  With great enemies, plenty of un-lockables and customization, the game delivers enjoyable action at a frantic pace while not neglecting the cerebral pursuits of gamers.  Tower defence fans may find that the game is too heavily weighted towards the FPS side of the coin but there is no denying that both elements together make for a great time.

 

 


 


Pros

+ Excellent repertoire of aliens

+ Un-lockables create plenty of replay value

+ Strong FPS mechanics

+ Tension filled levels

 

Cons

 

- Some levels are quite small

- No saves mid-level

 


Final rating
8.5 / 10
Comments
More Xbox 360 reviews
2014-04-06 :: Dark Souls II
2013-11-12 :: Alien Rage
2013-09-17 :: Grand Theft Auto V
2013-09-15 :: Lost Planet 3
2013-09-13 :: Splinter Cell: Blacklist
2013-08-07 :: Grid 2
2013-07-26 :: Remember Me
2013-06-05 :: Star Trek
Special articles
Details From Nintendo's Holiday Preview Event Special articles

Details From Nintendo's Holiday Preview Event

  With the falling leaves, mayoral election signs still on the lawns and pumpkins on people’s front porches you’d be excused if you didn’t think it was time to celebrate the holidays. It was in this setting that Nintendo unveiled a preview of some of their holiday offerings on...
Lire la suite...
Have you heard, NHL 15 is missing a few features? Special articles

Have you heard, NHL 15 is missing a few features?

I remember being thoroughly disappointed that last years NHL 14 was not going to appear on the Xbox One or the PS4.  Every other major North American sport received their next-generation iteration; hockey fans got the proverbial short end of the stick. But I believed that the NHL franchise was in good hands, if only for the quality the developers had shown in the series' previous entries, and if those developers needed an additional year to fine tune their game, great.  After playing the full game via EA Access early trial, I am worried again. Read more
The Forest: Exclusive Game Focus Interview Special articles

The Forest: Exclusive Game Focus Interview

  Earlier this week, Ben Falcone and Anna Terekhova, two of the three main developers of Endnight Games’ The Forest responded to some questions I had about the project and provided some insight into the development and what comes next.  I asked everything from whether or not The Forest would be released on the Xbox One or Playstation 4, what the developers were most worried about before release on Steam, to whether or not they could disclose any more details about The Forests ending.   Read more
Marking The Mid-Point of 2014: Highs, Lows and Hopes Special articles

Marking The Mid-Point of 2014: Highs, Lows and Hopes

  Here we are at the half way point of 2014. According to the Chinese zodiac 2014 is the year of the horse; the wood horse. It is to be a year of conflict; wood will fuel the fires and lead many to clash headlong into battle. How fitting it is then that my video game highlights, disappointments, hopes, and dreams for the year are directly in conflict with one another: Lightning quick interfaces vs a lack of new-gen experiences, game costs vs value, PlayStation vs Xbox.   Read more

Game details
(XBLA) Sanctum 2
Release date : 2013-05-15
Platform :
Publisher : D3 PUBLISHING
Developer : Coffee Stain Studios
Gameplay : Tower Defense-FPS

DLC Talk

DLC Talk: Bioshock: Burial at Sea Ep. 1

DLC Talk: Bioshock: Burial at Sea Ep. 1

Here we are. The next generation of consoles is among us and it is finally time to start thinking about finally unplugging our beloved current-gen systems. Could there be a better swan song for one of these systems than taking a trip back to Rapture?


Read more

DLC Talk: Dishonored - The Knife of Dunwall

DLC Talk: Dishonored - The Knife of Dunwall

Dishonored: The Knife of Dunwall is an impressive little bit of DLC. I should emphasize “little” though, as it is a relatively short experience. Just when the story seems to get going it ends - or, rather, it “kind of” ends.


Read more

DLC Talk: Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen

DLC Talk: Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen

Dragon’s Dogma was released last year on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.


Read more
GF Blogs

Ode to The Olde Timey Video Game: Episode #1 The Greatest Golf Game Ever Made

Ode to The Olde Timey Video Game: Episode #1 The Greatest Golf Game Ever Made

Premier Episode of Ode to The Olde Timey Video Game.  In this video we scientifically prove what the greatest golf video game ever made is.  That's right, this title was released exactly ten years ago this week and in celebration we are taking a fond look back at what made this golf game the very best.


Read more

Why Microsoft buying Minecraft was a Brilliant Move

Why Microsoft buying Minecraft was a Brilliant Move

 

 

A lot has been made of Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Minecraft developer, Mojang.  Whether it be the Minecraft faithful who are worried about the future of the game now that it is in the hands of a massive corporation, or industry analysts speculating on how this new deal will change the video game marketplace, Microsoft fired a shot across across the bow today and, wow, was it shocking.


Read more

Gamefocus Feature: T'was the Night Before Gamescom

Gamefocus Feature: T'was the Night Before Gamescom

All eyes are on Cologne Germany for Gamescom 2014 as the biggest videogame industry event in Europe, second-largest gaming event in the world. (Game Show Asia is the largest in terms of attendance.), is set to begin.


Read more
GameFocus Radio

GameFocus Podcast: October 2014

GameFocus Podcast: October 2014

This week the guys strap on their skates and talk NHL15 and MicroSoft's purchase of Mojang. Plus: What game did Steve Carell voice? Can Diablo ruin a relationship? How is Half Life 2 holding up? AND... What accent did people use during the French Revolution?

Read more
GameFocus Radio

GameFocus Podcast: October 2014

GameFocus Podcast: October 2014

This week the guys strap on their skates and talk NHL15 and MicroSoft's purchase of Mojang. Plus: What game did Steve Carell voice? Can Diablo ruin a relationship? How is Half Life 2 holding up? AND... What accent did people use during the French Revolution?

Read more
GameFocus 2014 Top 10
2
Dark Souls II (Xbox 360)
9.1
3
Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
9.1
4
9.0
5
Child of Light (Xbox One)
9.0
6
Tropico 5 (PC)
8.9
7
Forza Horizon 2 (Xbox One)
8.8
8
EA Sports UFC (Xbox One)
8.7
9
Watch Dogs (Xbox One)
8.5

facebook-follow-us

twitter1

 

Recent comments

Powered by Disqus