Defense Grid 2 is a strategy game where you place defensive fortifications (towers) to stop invading aliens from stealing your power cores. It's up to you to select the towers, placement, and timing to best protect your base. If you can make it through the alien invasion and finish the mission with one or more cores remaining, you will succeed in pushing back the aliens. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded for protecting more cores and spending the least amount of resources possible to win.

The Campaign can be found in the main menu. This contains all of the story missions and challenge modes for each mission. The story missions feature dialog that follows the exploits of General Fletcher, General Cai, Commander Simon, and new characters met during their mission to defend the colonies. Missions are divided by Chapters that primarily focus on a single colony planet. Challenge modes are special game modes that tweak the rules to offer unique challenges in the missions.


The Missions screen let's you select from the available missions. Each mission takes place in a new map location.


The Loadouts screen contains all of your available Tower Items and Command Team AI. When applicable you can select which Command Team AI to bring with you on the mission. Each AI brings with them a special weapon that can be used throughout the mission. Only one AI can be selected per mission. A Tower Item is an optional accessory to a tower that changes its behavior. Each behavior modification is described in the Loadouts menu screen.


The Multiplayer option lets you specify a game mode and map to play then search for a like-minded person to play with or a friend. If you search and a match is found immediately you will be prompted to join the game session otherwise you will need to wait for another person to select similar criteria to yours before starting a session. You can play Campaign modes while waiting to find a match. If you are playing while waiting, a window will appear during the game session inviting you to join the multiplayer match with the option to save your current game's progress. At the end of the multiplayer game session you have the option to Play Again or Exit. Both players will need to select the Play Again option in order to continue playing. If one player chooses to exit the game, the session will end altogether. If both players choose to play again, the host player will be in charge of the multiplayer mode and map selection. Players can communicate via chat during this process. Once the game session is set up, both players can choose their Loadouts and proceed to the game.


In the Leaderboards screen you will see a leaderboard for each mission, game type, and each game mode. The leaderboard can show your high score with respect to all others who are playing the game as well as relative to those on your friends list.


This provides access to the achievements that you have earned while playing the game.

Help and Options

The Help and Options screen provides access to the How to Play manual, Encyclopedias, Control settings, Options settings and Credits.


The controls screen allows you to customize the game controls.


The audio page provides several audio options allowing you to set the levels and frequency of the various types of audio in the game.
Mission Selection

The mission selection screen displays the available missions. You can move the D-pad or left stick left and right to move to earlier or later missions.

You will see an abbreviated leaderboard of friend high scores near the top of the screen. This allows you to compare your best effort to those of your friends. If you want to see a full leaderboard with all of the scores from your friends who have played the game, select the Leaderboards button on the Main Menu.

Available resources are shown in the upper left. After initial resources are spent, additional resources are earned automatically over time and through the destruction of the alien invaders. The status of your power cores is shown in the upper left. Blue indicates a core is safe, amber means stolen but recoverable, and an empty core icon means the core has been lost.

Tactical Recon is shown at the top of the display. The alien types are reflected in the icons.

Build Cursor

The build cursor will be located in the center of your screen. It turns blue on a tower door where towers can be built or where an existing tower can be upgraded. The cursor will be red elsewhere.

Score Graph

Your score is shown in the upper right with an accompanying graph that plots your final points trajectory. Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal thresholds will appear in the graph as your score increments higher.

Mission Summary

At the end of each game session, a score will be shown based on how well you played the mission.

Other statistics including the number of towers built and sold and the number of enemies killed will also be available. A graph will show your score progress through the mission with highlights marking certain events such as tower building or cores stolen.
Cursor movement

Move the left stick to pan your view. Move the right stick up and down to move between camera zoom heights. You can play the game high above the world, seeing most of the map, at a medium height surveying a section of the world, or zoomed in closer on a specific area. Move the right stick left or right to rotate the camera.

Building a tower

To build a tower, Press the A button (default controller setting) on a location where the cursor is green. A menu showing the tower building options will appear on the left side of the screen. Scroll through those options by pressing up and down on the D-pad or left stick and press the A button (default) to build.

Upgrading a tower

Press the A button while hovering the cursor over a tower and select Upgrade to increase the tower's capabilities. Green level base towers can be upgraded to amber level towers. Red level towers are much more powerful, but are very expensive. The level of the tower can both be seen by the color of the tower's range circle as well as in the illumination on the sides and base of the tower.

Selling a tower

You may press the A button on a tower and then select Sell to recover some resources from a tower. A tower can be sold when in need of resources in order to recover a portion of the resources that were spent to construct the tower. A tower can also be sold when wanting to change the path of the aliens or wanting to place a different kind of tower in the same location.

Special Weapons

There are several special weapons that are fired from above on to the mission map. Press and hold the left or right trigger to fire or activate the enabled special weapon at the location of the cursor. Releasing it early will abort the firing sequence.

Alien Info

The inspection window shows the status of an alien's health as well as shield strength if applicable. Press the B button on an alien to bring up the information window.

Checkpoint Save

The game will automatically save checkpoints each time an alien wave enters the map. If you are defeated, you will be able to resume at the last checkpoint. You can also go back to earlier saved checkpoints by pressing the left bumper.

If you exit a mission before it ends, your progress will be saved. When you return you will have the option of resuming where you left off. If you choose to restart a mission instead of resuming it you will lose any previous save games stored for that mission.

Tactics Display

Press the X button to turn the alien path indicators on and off. Press the Y button to turn the heat map on and off.

Speeding up

Pressing the right bumper will speed up the action. Pressing it again will return the game to default speed.
Every time an alien is killed your score increases. The amount of score increase is affected by several variables. The type of alien killed provides your base score increase. The score increase receives bonus score based on the number of cores you currently have in the core housing and the resources you have on hand when you kill the alien. You get some partial bonus for towers you have invested in and some partial bonus if you have cores floating on the level, but they haven't left the level yet. This model calculates your score in real time and is very similar to the scoring system from the original Defense Grid which was only calculated at the end of your game.

Resources are provided per wave in a steady supply over time except for the last wave of the level. The resources provided for the last wave are given to you early as part of a larger wave bonus at the end of the penultimate wave.
A Challenge Game Mode provides a game rule change to a mission. These can alter towers, aliens, available resources, power core behavior, or map pathing. Tower modes inlcude limiting the types, number, or upgrade level of the towers. The alien modes include continuous waves of ever increasing toughness. All of the Challenge modes will have a description of their gameplay in the mission selection menus.

Defense Grid 2 contains several competitive player versus player, and cooperative game play modes.


The Versus multiplayer mode includes DGFighter. In DG Fighter mode, you and your opponent each take on aliens in an identical situation but aliens killed on one player's map are teleported to the opponent's map only stronger. This continues until a player is overrun or the time limit is reached in which case a winner will be determined by score.


The Co-Op multiplayer modes include Coordinated Defense and Doubles. In Coordinated Defense mode, you and your teammate share the defensive responsibilities of a single base. Build locations are divided equally between the two players. Players will need to work together to create the optimal defense. In Doubles mode, you and your partner work together on the same map sharing resources, score, build locations, and defensive strategy to protect the power cores from the invading aliens. Any map and applicable challenge mode can be played in multiplayer Doubles mode.
Fast Aliens

Fast aliens hover and move much faster than others. They are more susceptible to laser and fire damage than other alien types because they will continue to burn even after they have raced past the tower.

Shielded Aliens

Some aliens have shields protecting them. Beam weapons may be ineffective or less effective on shields until those shields are destroyed by projectile weapons. After the shield is destroyed, the alien is susceptible to damage from all weapons.

Spawning Aliens

Spawning aliens are able to deploy additional aliens on the map. Some spawning aliens create portals which teleport other aliens to the location of the portal. Other aliens internally protect a group inside of them and release that group when the protector is killed. Some industructable spawners will release their group after a specific amount of time has passed.

Stealth Aliens

Stealth aliens cannot be seen at a distance by most towers and will only be detected without aid when near a tower. For long range towers such as the Cannon, Meteor, and Missile towers, stealth aliens are practically undetectable. The Boost tower Disruptor upgrade will help illuminate stealth aliens within its range allowing other towers to see those aliens.

Regenerating Aliens

Regenerating aliens are able to heal themselves and other aliens in their vicinity. These aliens can only use their healing abilities when they are not receiving damage so constant, high rate of fire towers are recommended to counter them.
Towers are invincible and have unlimited ammunition. You may place as many as you want as long as you have the resources required. Upon activating a build location the Tower Build window will appear. Highlighting a tower in the build menu will display a glowing ring on the selected build spot indicating the range of the currently highlighted tower. On certain maps, towers can be placed only along the side of the roads. On other maps, there may be locations where towers can be built right where the aliens are moving. When a tower is built, a force field is created around it. The aliens will avoid walking through the tower force fields. The use of cleverly placed towers on maps where there are many open building areas can significantly elongate an alien's path towards the cores or the exit. This elongation can give towers more time to target the aliens and can make the towers more effective in destroying the aliens quickly. Directing aliens past the same towers multiple times can also increase the chance that the alien will be destroyed. Each tower type has a unique damage output or other ability. An explanation of each available tower is viewable in the Tower Build window.
Aliens and Towers can have many effects placed on them.

For aliens, these may be helpful effects applied by other aliens or harmful effects applied by towers. When the alien inspection window is viewed, an array of possible current effects is shown. If the effect is lit and has a number, that indicates that the effect is active and has a strength equal to that number, the effect ends when the number goes to zero. The four positive effects that aid an alien are shown in green and represent Health Regeneration, Speed Increase, Shielding, and Stealth. The four negative effects that can harm an alien are shown in red and represent Fire Damage, Slowdown, Shield Disruption, Stealth Disruption.

Towers can also have effects placed on them through special weapons, boost tower bonuses, or alien disruption. The three positive tower effects that can be active are shown in green: Overcharge, Disrupt Stealth and Shields, and Boost Score. The one negative tower effect is shown in red when an alien temporarily Deactivates a tower.
Moving your build cursor over the Command Shuttle and pressing the A button on it will bring up the Command Shuttle window. The Command Shuttle is the interface between you, your command team and the defense systems of the local base. It provides mission information that includes mission name, towers built, towers upgraded, total number of build spaces, available build spaces, aliens destroyed and aliens escaped. The active AI and special weapon are also displayed. When applicable there will be button options that when pressed on will move a section of the base to a new location. There are accompanying before and after images of the section of the base that will move. Once these sections are moved they cannot return to their original location unless you return to an earlier checkpoint save prior to the section moving.
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