Defense Grid is special. It’s a tower defense game with an interesting story, likable characters and a great variety of tower, enemy and level types. There is no single best strategy, non-tutorial levels have multiple (and often wildly different) ways to succeed and the entire interface is designed to allow the player to experiment with new strategies and tower location without needing to restart the level every time something goes wrong. That’s what makes Defense Grid great – what does Containment add?
At the end of the day, it’s more of the same, but that’s okay when the base product is so good. You get eight new missions, each with bonus modes included, and a story to discover that takes place after the main game’s plot. Fletcher is fleshed out, Cai and Simon are interesting new characters and the achievements, when combined with the bonus modes, make for a very replayable experience.
There are two new characters introduced here: Cai and Simon. Cai is an AI similar to Fletcher, and Simon is a commander similar to the player character. Listening to the three characters interact fleshes out not only Fletcher, but the culture and universe that Defense Grid inhabits. Ming-Na Wen does a wonderful job as Cai, and I wish I could say the same thing about Alan Tudyk as Simon. While the character and scenario are both interesting, his performance just never feels quite right. The map design was stronger in Resurgence, but adding a story really makes Containment the strongest piece of downloadable content.
Throughout the campaign you’ll swap between levels with fixed enemy paths and levels with tons of player option in how enemies move from the entry point to the power cores and back to the exit point. There are only two levels that require missile towers, which is great because land-based enemies are more fun to deal with. I can create a maze that they have to work through and have a lot of options for towers. Flying enemies stick to their path, and as long as I have a single level-3 missile tower sitting out of the way, I don’t have to worry about them.
Despite there being nothing new happening here mechanically, I find myself going back and playing the bonus modes and going for high scores. The fact that there isn’t a lot to differentiate from the base game sounds like a knock, but it’s not. It’s an indicator of how good the base formula is that all I need or want from an expansion is more of what made me enjoy the original game so much.
Pros: Interesting new story with the same great mechanics of the base game
Cons: Alan Tudyk just doesn’t do a good job as Simon