I have never been a big fan of tower defense games. I’m not sure what it is, the ‘sit and wait’ aspect maybe. Anyways, Anomaly Warzone Earth 2 turns the premise on its head by having YOU be the attackers. This is more my thing. I didn’t get to play the first game, so this should be interesting.
Anomaly 2 starts with a massive 80s style music blast and some cracking animation. Aliens have invaded Earth and your team must send them packing. An interesting start, although once past this things get a bit more standard, with a top down view taking shape over fairly nice looking graphics (but not cell shaded as I thought it may be after the intro). You control a single commander who can move around the map, staying clear of enemy turrets, which will mess you up. You can’t fire yourself, your purpose is to collect items to help your troops and to support them as they battle to the exit of each map, surviving the towers, which are set up to stop you.
This sounds very simple but it’s strategically a lot deeper. For starters, you earn resources that allows you to add more units to your group. You need to consider whether you go for range or close combat, consider rate of fire, armour type and even zone of fire (a heavily powered range tank can only shoot in a cone of 45 degrees either side of where it’s facing for example). You also need to consider the order of your troops, so should the firepower be at the front with the range to take out the threats or tanks up ahead to absorb the damage for the big guns?
There are many other dynamics to consider. Each level has a number of different routes that you can take, and it’s up to you to enter the tactical screen to choose the most appropriate for your tactics. It may be worth avoiding massive alien structures unless you’re appropriately equipped to take them out. If you do, the rewards could be worth it, but it makes things more perilous.
Each vehicle has some characteristics that also may influence your decision. At one point I had a number of Assault Hound tanks. I elected to go for a number rather than upgrade the existing units (which can improve armour, firepower). These tanks have an ability that the more they continuously fire, the faster that rate of fire becomes. So if they get up to speed they are monsters. However I had to make some changes to my route to ensure a continuous amount of enemies to keep the guns warm.
Whilst on the battlefield you have a few other important roles. One is a new addition and a much touted feature to this game – transforming. It is exactly what it sounds like; you can select vehicles to transform into a different type. So my Assault Hounds can transform into Hell Hounds. These tanks turn into Metal Gear style walking close quarters monsters. It’s another consideration to make and I found myself favoring a combination of Hell and Assault Hounds in the early game with a few other long-range tanks. You can alter your order of the lineup as appropriate should you need to in order to maximize your chances.
Probably the most important aspect of your role is the hands on maintenance of your team. As you move around you have a limited number of abilities that you can collect more of (influencing your decision to take certain routes). Healing your vehicles is the most common that puts a beacon down for a limited time. When you use your abilities becomes important to ensure survival and completion of each mission, especially given their limited nature. The distraction beacon is very important for example to give you enough time to damage some of the more difficult enemies.
All of these considerations make for a very deep tactical experience. I found variety starting to lack slightly as I went through the campaign despite requiring different tactics at times, and the fairly generic story not hugely engaging. Nonetheless it is a 4-5 hour campaign supported by a multiplayer mode. One side is the attackers as in the single player with the other side playing defense in a more classic tower defense fashion. Adapting as the round progresses adds an interesting dynamic to classic tower defense.
So, if you’re a fan of tactical strategy games or tower defense then it’s worth a look. Even if you’re not a tower defense fan like me then it’s still worth a look if you’re after something which may require you to think a bit.
Reviewed on PS4