The Average Gamer

Sanctum 2 Review (PC)


The concept of Sanctum 2 still mystifies me. Tower defence, blended with first person shooter… it still seems crazy to me – and I played Sanctum 1!

Despite that though I still love this strange genre-melding series. The original Sanctum was actually one of my personal GOTY choices for 2011. It wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the word, but it was fresh, it was tactical, and it was something I’d never seen done so well before. Sanctum 2, however… has delivered that feeling all over again.

Rarely do I feel the need to define the gameplay, but for Sanctum 2 it seems fitting: you remain in a near constant state of first person view, you are throw into an area and must construct towers to create a path for the pre-set waves of enemies to travel through to their final destination – simple tower defence stuff.

The catch is once each wave begins you get to wade in yourself. You pick your class, grab your gun, and are let loose onto the battlefield to gun down the waves of enemies as they wade towards their target, backed-up by your tower-brethren.


There have been a lot of gameplay tweaks since Sanctum 1. The game remains very similar, but the mechanics and strategy elements have been altered. There are 4 classes now, opposed to the previous “do whatever you want” character from the first game, which are: assault, explosives, sniper and close-quarters – each with selectable and unlockable weapon and equipment loadouts.

It’s the same deal with towers; you select your selection of towers, and then you jump into the level – you can’t build anything any time you want.

All of this of course leads to much firmer strategies and advance planning, plus adding to the replay value. If you want even more reply value though, you can manually adjust the enemy waves speed, toughness, and the towers attacks effectiveness.

That way you can gear the difficulty to the way you want it, rather than relying on pre-set ones.

I like to keep my enemy waves tougher, but slower – that way I can place more towers that overlap across two of my created pathways and double my damage. The more you crank up the difficulty, the more XP you get leading to more unlockables across the whole game.


There are also now ‘Boss Battles’, unlike the original, where particularly large damage-sponging enemies will come out of the gate ripping through your walls and creating entirely new paths for the enemy waves to traverse. It keeps things fresh, they’re not set-pieces that will occur in certain waves (only, I believe, certain levels) so you’ll never see them coming, and it really ups the action and pacing when one of the brutes comes barrelling at you.

Sanctum2-FPSSanctum 2 though is clearly designed for the co-op experience. Every player gets their own stash of money for tower building, and XP for unlocking, so it becomes almost a competitive co-op of who can kill the most in the waves while simultaneously working together. It’s hectic, crazy fun and it is where the games truly shines brightest.

Single player is still amazing, I loved and completed it on my own and had a great time, but bringing some buddies into the fray definitely increased the buzz for a second playthrough. The game is available on consoles as well as PC, so if you can convince your friends to all jump onto one platform you’d be wise to do so.

Sanctum2-BuildingContrary to what the game may lead you to believe, with comic-style panel cutscenes, there is no real plot to speak of in Sanctum 2. There are some very interesting characters and environments, plus some great dialogue in places, but there’s no real over-arcing story.

Everything boils down to: enemies are coming to this area, go kill them with guns and turrets. I’m perfectly okay with this. The game doesn’t need a story, it may even hinder the flow, and some brilliant Easter eggs and well-written backing dialogue for both NPC’s and player characters is more than enough to appease me.

Sanctum 2 is marvellous. I wasn’t sure if Coffee Stain Studios (awesome name) could pull it off a second time, but they have. They’ve listened to the fans of the original Sanctum, they’ve improved almost every aspect, and even added a few new key features that you’d never imagine would make such a difference. Diagonal walls being one of them – they’re a huge addition, but I couldn’t find a way of fitting it in earlier without sounding dull.

This game is the epitome of genre-defining, and I would highly recommend it to every strategy or shooter fan alike to buy. Even more so if you have a couple of chums to jump into it with.

Sanctum 2 is available now for PC, XBLA, and PSN.

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