Sanctum 2 is a first person tower shooter defence game, or FPSTD I suppose? A sequel to the 2011 game that impressed many, with it being one of the better implementations of mixing FPS and TD together. The first was a niche title but had its support, and was widely regarded as a very well made game, even releasing DLC featuring YouTube’s YogCast commentating over a levels progression. Sanctum 2 is their first multiplatform game, being released on PS3/360 and PC, unfortunately after spending some time with this game, that fact is glaringly obvious.
In Sanctum 2 the main difference is characters – there are now four. Skye is back, along with her sister Autumn, plus Simo and Haigen. Each character has their own specialities, but this seems to just be a cop-out and moving away from Sanctum’s weapon customisation. Each character has one main weapon, and can then pick a secondary, if you don’t fancy using one of the 4 primaries, well you don’t have a choice. Joining this restriction is Towers, you can only pick one tower, and each map has a limit of 15 towers.
Read that sentence again, then go and play any popular Tower Defence game. Yes, you have a 10 tower limit. Does this add strategy? Yes. Is it a good way to add strategy? No. Because of this, all towers are now Anti Air, which means you don’t have to worry about how you spend your resources. Also remember those big sprawling areas, with multiple entry points for creeps? Yeah they are also lost, now you get one big door that they just fall out of. Of course the 1 tower limit gets upgraded as you level up, but this does not really help the 15 tower limit at all.
Unfortunately, even though it seems that the 15 tower limit is supposed to be a way to add strategy, it just seems more like they wanted to focus on the FPS mechanic more, which is a massive disappointment as the first game had the perfect mix of both tower defence and FPS.
Resources are also collected differently, usually you gain a certain amount of money per creep kill, but no. Instead, at the end of every round you get resources dropped down for you, one crate that gives you credits, the other Turret bases. I like the idea that you don’t spend money for the bases, and you only get a set amount, as that leaves you to think about your wall placement. But if you’re playing multiplayer, it might be the only area that works well, now at least, on release only one person could get funds for the next match, but now multiple drop down, it still questions why bother dropping them down? It’s a waste of time picking them up.
The creeps themselves have also been changed, with some being new, others being brought from the first game. Now you would assume that creeps in this sort of game, their only aim would be to destroy whatever it is at the end. Though for some reason, if you are firing at them, the creeps will take more interest in attacking you than the core, allowing you to distract the larger creeps for quite a while. This removes a lot of the tension when you know you can just fire a few shots off and bring them back. Though at the same time, allowing some hits to the core doesn’t even matter, as the core will regenerate its health after a round is finished – it should be noted that there is also an easy mode. Core regeneration is not easy mode specific.
Levelling now unlocks different weapons and towers, it also unlocks perks, and as stated allows you to bring more tower types into the level, mostly dealing extra damage, for the lightning gun, allowing it to jump to multiple creeps, this allows you to at least customise your characters strengths and adapt it to your personal play style.
Controls are Sanctum 2’s worst area, yes any game can be re-binded, but who in their right mind thought CTRL would be the perfect button to aim down sight? Your ammo counter is displayed in the near centre of the screen, and towers are displayed at the bottom. I really don’t understand this. In the first Sanctum, UI and controls were fantastic, why was it changed so much, and so badly thought out? It seems that this is further proof that the game was designed for the consoles more than PC.
This is shown even more when you compare the graphics in Sanctum 2 to the original, or more, lack thereof. The core is a perfect example of this – in the first it was this amazing massive construct, with lovely light shafts. It was big, it felt important and that you needed to protect it. In two what do we get? A little blue ball, Hell some of the enemies in the first one were bigger than this thing. Graphics are also a bit hit and miss, for a game that came out 2 years after the original, you would expect the game to of increased in graphics, not be the same and in some areas take a massive step backwards.
Art style wise, it’s a mixed bag, I personally don’t like the new Skye look, but I do like the comic style loading screens you get and the style they have been drawn in, though it seems there are only one per level, so they get boring pretty fast. It also seems the designers forgot to add a reload animation to every gun. It took me a while to realise she was “reloading” when really nothing was happening with the weapons, pretty poor.
Sanctum 1 was a fantastic game, and it really is a disappointment to see the sequel fail so terribly, horrible design choices at every junction, and tiny unimpressive levels just shows the same story we have seen time and time again for when a PC exclusive’s sequel is released also on consoles. Sanctum 1 is still the definitive FPS/TD combo on PC. For consoles, seeing as Sanctum 2 is the only game of this particular genre to my knowledge, it seems to get the crown on Consoles, but only by default.
Add to all this the addition of a season pass DLC, advertising 4 DLC packs, I suggest people wait until Christmas to get this game, at least then it might be a game worth getting, when it’s on discount, or just buy the first. Even with the recent update to try and fix some of these problems, the game is still subpar in comparison to the original. The large maps are missed, instead replaced with so many small maps, the small tower count makes its just feel like small game, instead of the massive sprawling levels featured in the first, but because of console limitations, once again another title that was well revived on PC earned enough money to make this mistake, and completely ignore their core fans.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.