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Review / Fortified (X1)

 

The era of the Playstation 2 was one of amazing games and beautiful stories: Jack and Dexter, Bully, ICO, and Kingdom Hearts to name a few. But what the PS2 also had was a great little gem called War of the Monsters, a 4 player fighting game set in the 1950s. You controlled your  monster and used the environment to take down other monsters. In the background, the military tried their best to contain the situation. I always wondered what it would be like to be an average Joe trying to compete with these giant beasts and aliens. The answer is Fortified.

 

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Fortified, from developer Clapfoot, is an explosive strategy shooter where players defend the Earth against a menacing Martian invasion in the 1950s. You play as one-of-four pulp inspired heroes as they fight swarms of terrifying robots with an arsenal of Cold War era weapons and experimental technology. The mission: protect the city by building a network of defensive structures, commanding an army, and jumping into battle against dangerous sky scraping attackers. You can fight for Earth alone or with up to four players for the ultimate co-op defense experience.

 

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Jumping into Fortified reminded me so much of a old school PS2 classic. Everything from the character models to the level design and even the sound effects brought me back to a time where I would sit in front of my TV all day and play video games. You start off Fortified by listening to the bare bones invasion story, picking a class, and jumping into the fray. Each class – The Captain, The Rocket Scientist, The Agent, The Spaceman – operates as a commander on the battlefield. They each have unique skills and abilities that make them interesting.

 

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Each round starts off with you being put in a tower defense mode where you can us a predetermined amount of points in order to build defenses for the upcoming wave. Being a mixture of a third person FPS and tower defense, Fortified’s gameplay can fall between incredibly tedious and unbelievably easy. Sometimes your constructs, which you can also build on the fly in the middle of combat, murder everything before you can lift a finger. It’s a weird balance.

 

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The four player co-op gives Fortified an interesting mix of tactical gameplay. Players must work together to take down the increasingly difficult waves of martian machines. Its a great game to play with friends who you are trying to introduce to the tower defense genre. Weapons and structure can level up with points you get from leveling up and there effects can be modified to do more damage, hit more targets, etc. Choosing what to level up over something else is basically committing yourself to a certain style of gameplay as you enemies will take forever to kill if you use something other than what you leveled.

 

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Fortified is not without its problems however. Later levels tend to get a little bit grindy. The gameplay, as fun as it start off, ends up being a chore as you are basically doing the same thing over and over and over again. Enter a level, build defenses, fight a wave, build more defenses, fight more waves, etc. It would be amazing if the playable classes weren’t so similar. For their ultimate ability they all gain invulnerability and some sort of overpowered skill. It basically turns all the classes into a tank.

 

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Fortified hits hard in the nostalgia, with it’s frenzied four player co-op and Mars Attacks!-inspired setting. It’s a blast, both literally and figuratively, to lay waste to all the weirdest monsters the Golden Age of Science Fiction can throw at you and up to three friends.¬† But as a single player experience, it soon falls flat. If you are interested in giving this blast from the past a whirl you can find it on PC and Xbox One for 14.99.

 

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