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Love it or hate it, the popular Warcraft III map (or mod, as some like to call it) Defense of the Ancients (DotA), is a classy game. It combines tactical strategy with elements of RPG and arena-style team-based gameplay to deliver what’s ultimately a very good game. It should come as no cartier replica surprise, then, that a game like Demigod would come along, borrowing liberally from gameplay mechanics found in DotA, adding in a few twists here and there, and putting it all together in a new standalone package with modern visuals.

Whether or not Demigod can hold up against DotA at this stage in its life is arguably moot. DotA has had years of updates and a massive userbase to make it the complex and flexible game it is today, but the comparisons are largely unavoidable. However, for this review, I’ll avoid the play-by-play comparisons as best as possible to save newcomers the confusion and veterans the nitpicking.

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The game takes place across a number of diverse arenas in which opposing teams comprised of up to five players must do battle to accomplish one of four possible goals: destroy the enemy citadel, be the first team to X demigod kills, capture and hold a number of strategic points on the map, or destroy all enemy fortresses. To aid in this, each team has a number of automatically-spawned soldiers (or grunts) that will blindly charge forward in waves. It’s up to the players to make the best use of these grunts to accomplish their goals, all while tackling the enemy demigods and a number of defensive towers.

demigod04The eight demigods available are evenly divided into two groups: Assassins and Generals. Assassins, like the The Rook and Regulus, are powerful ‘one-man-armies’ with a variety of skills designed to dish out big damage to opposing demigods and their reinforcements alike. Generals like Sedna and Lord Erebus, on the other hand, focus on summoning their own small personal armies (in addition to the regular grunts) to play the game more like a combination RTS/RPG – their skills range from disruption to de-buffing, but aren’t lacking in direct damage either. As players progress through the game, they’ll level up to unlock more powerful skills, spells and summons, purchase new items from the shops (no item combinations here, though, folks) and even unlock persistent achievement items that provide additional bonuses and abilities.

With eight characters to choose from, DotA Allstars players might be left feeling a little short-changed coming from their massive pool of 93 heroes. Where Demigod goes off the beaten track, however, is its broad skill system that allows for loads of customisability and demigod builds that take the paltry eight to a whole new level. Each demigod is also highly unique in every aspect, from available skills to sheer size, and putting together your perfect build will require careful consideration, and experience.