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Review

Sanctum 2 Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed: May 23, 2013
  • PC

Sanctum 2 takes the enjoyable tower-defense-meets-first-person-shooting style of its predecessor and expands upon it with new weapons, towers, levels, and more.

Against an army of alien invaders, the trusty turret has always got your back. Like its predecessor, Sanctum 2 is an enjoyable blend of first-person shooting and tower-defense-style strategy. Instead of watching passively as your towers do all the dirty work, you get to dive into the action and sow carnage alongside them. Both games execute this concept well, but Sanctum 2 has far more content than its small-scale predecessor. This is the fully featured, fully realized game this series needed, and offers lots to enjoy whether you're a strategy fan first and shooter fan second, or vice versa.

Though Sanctum 2 arms you with an array of destructive turrets, you're still the star of the show. Four characters are available at the start of each level; each is equipped with a distinctive weapon--such as an assault rifle or a shotgun--and enough firepower to be a tide-turning force in battle. Enemies attack in waves, and between each wave you are awarded funds to build new turrets and hazard-filled mazes for your enemies to navigate.

When fighting back an enemy wave, you must alternate between thinning nimble hordes of lesser foes and felling slower, heavily armored targets. The tempo is kept at a fast pace as you race up and down the arena checking (and rechecking) how close enemies are to the core, the turrets in their path, and how many shots it'll take to finish the job. You're constantly oscillating between mowing down grunts with reckless destruction and taking carefully aimed shots at the weak spots of larger foes.

On top of juggling different enemy types, you must juggle your selected character's weapons. Weapons overheat after a certain number of shots and take about five seconds to cool down. During those five seconds, you can swap to your secondary weapon and continue the assault. Some weapons are also more effective against specific enemy types, so by timing your cooldowns right, you can alternate weapons at the same time you alternate targets.

Soakers can soak up a lot of punishment! Get it?.

Towers are your support system. They pick off stragglers who survive your barrage and can be tailored to tackle enemy types you're not equipped to handle. However, during each match, you have only a finite amount of currency, which can be spent on buying new turrets or upgrading old ones. Finding the right mix of both is an interesting challenge that must compliment your personal armaments, enemy types, and map layout. When you finally hit that sweet spot, it's very rewarding as you dispatch enemies with ease.

Perks are another addition to your arsenal, and grant your character new abilities. Some make your shots damage multiple enemies, while others increase the firepower of turrets you stand near. Choosing the right perks can make your character either a well-rounded or a hyper-specialized fighter. Together with the numerous turrets and weapons, there's satisfying variety in how you can tackle each challenge.

And Sanctum 2 has a lot of variety. While the original game nailed its tower-defense-meets-fist-person-shooting design, its three levels and two game modes left you wanting more. Sanctum 2 has four sets of levels, and you can attempt each of these levels using up to five difficulty modifiers or play through them in an endless survival mode. These options are great for extending the game's longevity. On the flip side, if you're having trouble, you can invite up to three friends to join you online, or knock it down into easy mode to help even the odds.

You can customize your character to fit your play style.

With a smart blend of action and strategy, Sanctum 2 successfully combines two disparate genres into one cohesive--and enjoyable--whole. Whether you're a fan of its predecessor or are new to the series, there's a lot to enjoy in this genre-bending hybrid. Every element from the original game has been expanded upon, creating a lengthy adventure that continues to feel fresh even after multiple completions.

The Good
Unique and balanced mix of tower defense and first-person shooting
Large arsenal and difficulty modifiers encourage replay
Tackle each challenge with up to three friends online.
The Bad
N/A
8
Great
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Discussion

35 comments
sotired
sotired

I appreciate the review, but wow, that delivery was just ... wow.

1UP09
1UP09

One of those enemies looks like the Varkid mosquito lava enemies you find in Borderlands  2 aye?

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator

lol @ the voice over work. :P 

meatz666
meatz666

Looks really cool, Maxwell.

Thank you for the review!

Slash_out
Slash_out

I have played the game in COOP.

It is definitvely much better and fun than the first game.

The perk system allows to personalize a bit the gameplay on each map. The turrets are more interesting. The upgrade system is a little original (you pump the turrets full of ressources it will boost they stats even if you do not have enough credits, and you can even over charge turrets even by pumping more ressources in them, even if they are at max lvl, this will still boost their stats).

And the gunplay is also more satisfying.

They definitively improved. I wasn't really into Sanctum 1. But I had a blast on this one, it is very hard though, especially if you make things a bit harder by choosing Feats of strenghs (enemies run faster, or regenerate life, or hit harder in melee and so on) there are five available, and you I usually play the maps with 2 activated. Challenging.

ilikepandas
ilikepandas

Why is Maxwell McGee talking like Buzz Lightyear for this review?

Tobajas
Tobajas

Was it just me or did it sound like he just read everything of a sheet almost sounding like it was not his own words in the video review?

Emerald_Scott
Emerald_Scott

Looks interesting. For some weird reason, it makes me wanna play Vanquish. :)

vanitas12
vanitas12

Is this multiplayer focused or can you play modes like survival etc? Is the campaign good?

Adavanter
Adavanter

I already beat it and loved it. I thought it balanced out what needed to be focused on perfectly. You can't just sit back and watch the towers work. Nor can you just shoot everything without a maze or turrets.

I also loved that some enemies come after you now. I missed upgrading my guns. Perks somewhat fill that slot but I never really found any perks that made me super happy.

Still great game and genre.

Jestersmiles
Jestersmiles

I am picking this one up. Looks so fun. 

hippiesanta
hippiesanta

The bad : FPS is getting Old, reviewers is getting old and it and it's availiable for PC

JBo796
JBo796

this editor sounds bored

Mr_BillGates
Mr_BillGates

Overrated. Not even a good FPS game, nor is it a good tower defense one.

Hammmodi
Hammmodi

WOW..The game don't have a bad section...

fredyellowone
fredyellowone

No comment?  Alright.  Why you guys don't try to expand, and build a Gamespot.fr for people that lives in Quebec or France?

ilikepandas
ilikepandas

@Emerald_Scott It should make you wanna play Iron Brigade because that is the awesome game that seems to have inspired the gameplay in this one.

Adavanter
Adavanter

@vanitas12 You can do all of those things by yourself. I beat it no problem. Might have to level up a bit or pick a different character. Still It never felt like a grind. I'd go back and replay a level a like for some extra XP if I need a boost.

XP unlocks guns, perks and turret types.

faizanhd
faizanhd

@hippiesanta  FPS isn't getting old. There just isn't enough good FPS games.

and the pc thing.......... Your poor aren't you ?

Emerald_Scott
Emerald_Scott

@fredyellowone Um, because users from France can still sign up on GameSpot America, UK, Asia and Australia? I think it would just be too much work to create a French site. That would also mean hiring French-speaking journalists and overall the investment wouldn't seem worthwhile. I don't know how many users they could attract, but I'll assume not enough to justify the cost of creating a French site. Besides, francophones can understand English to a degree, so it's not really worth it.

D0UBLEJUMP
D0UBLEJUMP

@faizanhd I wouldn't say poor considering how cheap gaming PCs can be built for, but judging from his profile I'd guess "OMG PS3 FTW! PC SUX!!1!!!"

fredyellowone
fredyellowone

@Emerald_Scott @fredyellowone 

Speaking of Québec, it's true that the vast majority can speak English.  Speaking of France, which is a lot of people by the way, it's another story.  People in France don't use or talk English for the vast majority because they don't have to.  I can't speak about France, because I don't live there.  But I know for sure that in Québec, there is no Website like Gamespot who is filling the video game news.

Why not?

Emerald_Scott
Emerald_Scott

@fredyellowone @Emerald_Scott Mm, there isn't in my country either. I dunno about Quebec but I'd like to think that there's a Canadian major video game site too. Though, I'm not sure of that. As for France, they have: jeuxvideo.com and jeuxvideo.fr, but they're not as popular as GameSpot or IGN. I've checked them out before and they don't have a lot of active users there.


The short answer really is that English is the no. 1 language of international communication and it's the language that many people understand. Thus if you want mass international appeal especially on the Internet, you'll have to use English in whatever it is you wanna do.

Sanctum 2 More Info

  • First Released
    • Macintosh
    • PC
    • + 3 more
    • PlayStation 3
    • Unix/Linux
    • Xbox 360
    Sanctum 2 is a first person shooter tower defense game where players assume the role of one of four elite soldiers, each with their own unique abilities and weapons whose mission is to protect the Cores from hordes of mysterious alien creatures on the human colony planet, LOEK III.
    6.7
    Average User RatingOut of 99 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Sanctum 2
    Developed by:
    Coffee Stain Studios
    Published by:
    Coffee Stain Studios, 5pb, Reverb
    Genres:
    Shooter, Action, Team-Based, First-Person, 3D
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Blood, Language, Violence