Video Game Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten (PC) (2012)

Overview: An RPG/tower-defense where the towers are persons. There are six classes: Berserkers, Archers, Healers, Knights, Ice Mages, and Dragons. Each class has it's own set of skill trees and every recruit in your party can be customized (name and outfit color).


Victory is Close!

Setup: I tried playing with the keyboard, but it didn't work well so I just played using the mouse.

20180106 Evening and 20180107 AM Hours:
I played on and off after waking. I was addicted. It was a balance of being easy and challenging.

The game reminded me of Kingdom Rush except it was totally different. I liked the item and skill trees of each character as opposed to the single player skill table of Kingdom Rush.

As an indication of my addiction to the game, I finished playing at three minutes until three in the morning and logged a total of 10.6 hours.

Steam Game Time: 10.6 hours total

20180107 Morning: Steam Game Time: 12.5 hours total

20180107 Afternoon:
I resumed the game after lunch.

Cutscene.

I reached a point in the game where I decided to buy some items and look at character builds; this was after entering the cave where the dragon finds treasure.

I used this webpage: http://defendersquest.wikia.com/wiki/DefenderBuilds

Steam Game Time: 16.3 hours total

20180108 AM Hours:
I almost finished the campaign, but I ended up farming (through Advance) due to the difficulty of the last level.

Steam Game Time: 17.6 hours total

20180108:
I was just casually playing some of the Advance for an hour.

Party Screen and Berserker Skill Tree

Steam Game Time: 19.2 hours total

20180108 Evening:
I finally finished the game (real ending with both players full health). Actually earlier for fun I played the bad ending (not in the cave).

Steam Game Time: 21.9 hours total.

20180109 Morning:
I started playing the New Game+.

Steam Game Time: 24.1 hours total.

20180110 AM Hours: Steam Game Time: 26.3 hours total
20180110 Afternoon & Evening & 20180111 AM: Steam Game Time: 32.3 hours total
20180111 Evening & 20180112 AM: Steam Game Time: 38.5 hours total


20180112 Evening: Steam Game Time: 39.5 hours total

20180113 Evening and 20180114 AM:
I didn't have internet on the plane and so I couldn't sync my save file to my laptop. As such, I started a new save file for Heroic champions only. I played for about 37 minutes. Then, when I got home, I played some more whenever I needed a break.

By the end of the night, I reached the penultimate level of the New Game+. I have yet to play "The Way Out" and "The God-King Walks Again." I only got a blue star for "The Face of Madness."

Steam Game Time: 43.6 hours total

20180114 Evening:
I decided to go back to the beginning to play the Advanced / Extreme levels (of the Standard game, but Heroic champions only).

Heroic Chamions Only.

Amazingly the first thing that happened was Slak took one swipe in Extreme of the first level while Ketta did all the work. That is, they hardly got within her range and died.

Then as I continued playing Advanced /Extreme for each subsequent all the way until "The Face of Madness," I found that in most cases it was easy. With the experience and scrap gains set to 300%, completing a level was a matter of placement instead of insufficient experience and/or equipment. With that being said, there was the occasional level that needed a second run or micromanagement. Still, the levels generally felt easier to play than the corresponding 100% gains with recruits enabled.

At this point, for the second save file, I had yet to play "The Way Out," "The God King Walks Again," "The Face of Madness (Extreme)," and "Super Sheep (Extreme)." Otherwise I had all the gold stars.

Steam Game Time: 47.4 hours

Addicted, I decided to play a bit more. "The God King Walks Again (Normal)." Then some New Game+. However, I stopped after half an hour of playing.

Using Heroic Champions Only.

Steam Game Time: 47.9 hours

20180115 Evening:
D'oh! Today I learned that you can just beat the Extreme and it'll sweep the rewards for Normal / Advanced.

Though I might have learned it too late. Because I was reaching the point where playing the Advanced challenge was hard despite my six Heroes being strong.

Steam Game Time: 54.3 hours

20180116 Evening:
I was close to finishing. However, I was tired and stopped playing.

Addicted, I turned on my laptop and played one more level before going to bed.

Endless Challenge

Steam Game Time: 64.4 hours

20180117 Afternoon & Evening:
At this point in the game, I'm practically left with the tough levels.

Etztli-Tenoch's Forces (Advanced/Extreme): I realized while playing Advanced that the key in this level was to constantly move around my heroes. Actually in Advanced I almost solely moved the Knight (Markos). However, in Extreme, I had to move other heroes in addition to the Knight. For example, there's one wave where the water enemies take a different water route, so I moved the Ice Mage (Wrenna) to that lane.

A Desperate Dash to Freedom (Extreme): I tried going straight to the Extreme level and moved my Heroes around, but I failed. It's possible my choice of skills and equipment were wrong.

There were a lot of hard levels left: A Desperate Dash to Freedom (A/E), Eztli-Tenoch's Right Hand (A/E), The Way Out (A*/E), Following Zelemir (A/E), Zelemir's Army (E), The Face of Madness (A/E), THe God-King Walks Again (N*/A/E)

Full Party and Archer Skill Tree.

At this point, I decided to copy over my Heroic save file to the third slot and hire some new recruits. I'm loaded: 7902K. After purchasing all the recruits, I still had 7693K. They all started at level 44.

After buying equipment, and despite some inefficiency, I still had 6407K. Ha. Anyhow, now it was time to fight. Unfortunately, having more recruits didn't make the levels trivial, because Psi was a limited resource.

Steam Game Time: 71.3 hours**

*Have Blue Star.
**Wow. 71 hours. I think it's been a while since I've put so many hours into a game. [It turns out, while the previous statement is technically true, it did not carry the truth which I had intended. As it is, the statement would refer to seventy-one hours, but the only Steam games I've played which exceed this amount of time are Plants vs. Zombies, Terraria, Dungeon Defenders, and Clicker Heroes.*** However, in my head, I was more likely thinking about any game which exceeded five hours of play. In that case, my statement would have been wrong, because prior to Defender's Quest, I put a total of eight hours into Broken Sword**** with my fiance, and just prior to that, I put twenty-six hours into Human Resource Machine!*****

So close to finishing with a Perfect (no damage to Azra)!!! Unfortunately, I just barely failed to earn a Perfect..

***Many hours on these games are passive, due to time spent idle or letting the game do something in the background.
****Technically this one doesn't quite satisfy the assumed criteria of addictive gameplay.
*****Runner-ups (less recent, ~5+ hours): Broken Age (20171022-3, 12.8 hours), Mercenary Kings (20171013-4, 5.3 hours), Saints Row: The Third (20171105, 4.7 hours). Honorable Mention (even less recent, 10+ hours): Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (20170707-11, 18.1 hours), Fallout 4 (20170526-7, 12.5 hours)

20180118 Evening:
I was randomly came across some tips for the Super Sheep level yesterday and incorporated some of those tips into some of the levels today with mild success.

I should further note that I was planning to set the game aside for the time being but apparently I was unable to quit. I'm just so close!

Steam Game Time: 75.7 hours

A mysterious woman appears.


20180119 AM Hours:
I tried playing Zelemir's Army (Extreme, NG+) and my Berserker kept dying. Eventually I realized that the Dark Ghoul's Thorns does a lot of damage to the Berserker (because the Berserker deals multiple hits, whereas the Knight has a higher DPS over less actions).

In any case, I read about the Book of Secrets revealing locations when equipped. So I tried equipping it to see what I could find. Unfortunately, I didn't find anything.

Steam Game Time: 76.8 hours total

20180120:
Last night was the first night I didn't play the game. I suppose things are finally slowing down. But today I'm back at it.

First I decided to read more about the Book of Secrets because the items obtained from them seem OP. With the book equipped, on Standard Game (not New Game+), I was able to find the location. I thought the name "???" would be printed on the map, but it was just a blue dot that wasn't there before. In hindsight, I realized that none of the locations print their name below them, so there was no reason why this location should have "???" printed below it.

Strange Monument

Next I read that apparently each Gold Skull and Unobtainium Skull is unlocked via a series of clues spread throughout the game.

Not wanting to find the clues, I decide to use the Wiki to help me find the clues.



Steam Game Time: 82.7 hours total.

Unfortunately, none of the strategies I built around these books were OP and I could not complete the levels I wished to complete.

Steam Game Time: 85.1 hours total

20180121 AM Hours:
Addicted I played the Standard Endless 2 Survival past 100. I got to 223 when I was tired and instead of squeezing out some more rounds I just let Azra die.

The Face of Madness (New Game+, Extreme). Essentially my solution.

Steam Game Time: 87.0 hours total

20180121 Afternoon and 20180122 AM Hours: Steam Game Time: 90.7 hours total

20180127:
Today I decided to do some number crunching.

I was able to win with Book of Blood and Crystal Patch for The Way Out Extreme. Crystal Patch was essential for me to catch the Worms that spawned from the Monstrosities. I also balanced and moved the necessary fighters to clear as much of the wave early as possible.

The number crunching resulted in moving my points to just Swing, Smash, and Counter for most Knights.

I next tried to tackle Zelemir's Army (NG+, Extreme). However, I had trouble figuring out the proper strategy. Someone posted he/she used a lot of archers, some knights, and frost mages (with one equipping the anti-worm weapon) with Book of Blood and Book of Plagues. Using these books together with my strongest mage (Wrenna) and the anti-worm weapon in mid lane, I was able to complete the level.

Full Party and Azra's Skills

After Zelemir's Army, I hopped right into The Face of Madness and tried the all-in strategy. However, it didn't work and I switched out Book of Plagues with Furious Start. I also then went back in with the slow strategy of building up a bank of Psi. There were some close moments, but eventually I was able to get a steady flow of Psi until I felt comfortable moving some of the unused backline around to fight Zelemir.

I tried following a guide (https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1b6slm) for the final level (NG+, Extreme) but I had some trouble with it, so I decided to farm. Then I played Storm the Sheep (Extreme). At first I thought I wouldn't be able to come up with the damage, but the sheep only made it a little over halfway before being defeated. I had all six Archers on it, Healers buffing all the attackers with Inspire, Wrenna (Ice Mage) with Archshepherd Stave+ constantly slowing it, and finally two or three Knights DPSing it. Sometimes I had a Berserker applying Rage to it.

Steam Game Time: 100.8 hours total

20180128:
I used "The Halls of the God-King" to farm the last two to three levels of all my recruits (from 57 to 60). The process is fast by setting down the necessary recruits and then leveling them up while the game is running at 16x.

After a lot of trial-and-error, I finally defeated this level.

So finally I try to play "The God King Walks Again" again. I tried making some tweaks to the set-up of the guide. It seems that the same exact strategy somehow doesn't work in this new HD version.

As such, I decided to look for a new strategy. I tried the following: "4 Archers in the center, Knights and Ice mages near all exits. I did put 2 Knights, two mages and a dragon in the line directly leading to Azra, healers covering everybody. I found that I needed to do a lot of damage/slowing there, to destroy that blue snakes and the armored dudes going for Azra. 2 archers maxed out, rest on 3, all Knights 3, one healer with Zeal maxed out in the center too. Rest of the points spread out. No warriors at all. I found it difficult to keep them alive. Archers + Slap totally dominate the level." It seems like the strategy replaced Berserkers with Rage with Book of Blood.

Eventually, I started trying my own strategy. And, frustratingly, when I finally got a strategy that seemed to work, I repeatedly ran into a "Null Object Reference." Finally, however, I was able to complete the level!

Steam Game Time: 107.6 hours total.

Giving back, I write up a guide for the level.

Endless Challenge 2 (New Game+). Not such a challenge at this point in the game.

Finally I played the Endless 2 NG+ and (Light of Glory level) to get 100% Achievements.

Steam Game Time: 109.8 hours total.

Thoughts:
Pros:
+ Difficulty can be fine-tuned via options.
+ Hours of strategy
+ Targeting options allows for deeper strategy

Neutral:
~ Customization

Cons:
- The game was buggy and I continually ran into a "Null Object Reference" error which was annoying.
- Respecing characters takes a long time. There should be a way to save/copy skill trees or at least give players an option to max out a skill.

Overworld Map (Level Selection)


Summary:
At 110 hours on record (with some hours spent researching builds), Defender's Quest comes in third for hours spent on tower defense games (after Dungeon Defenders and Plants vs. Zombies) and fifth overall (where Clicker Heroes and Terraria clock in more hours). I'm not sure on the exact reason why I put so many hours into Defender's Quest, but I enjoyed the game and would recommend it to fans of Tower Defense games. Note that my three next most-played tower defense games are Bad Hotel (22 hours), Orcs Must Die! (17.7 hours), and Kingdom Rush (8.0 hours).

Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten (PC) (2012)

Relevant Links:
Defender's Quest Webpage
Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten (PC) (MetaCritic.com)
Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten (DX edition) (Steam Store Page)

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