skullking's Trenched (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

An Extra Fine outing from "Double Fine".

Double Fine is known for their superb atmosphere and writing in their games. Recently delving into Downloadable games, Their latest release is an XBLA exclusive third person mech shooter/ tower defense hybrid with plenty of atmosphere and writing. Trenched may not be as outright funny as past Double Fine releases such as Costume Quest and Stacking, but It makes up for it with superb atmosphere and more gameplay depth than most games by Double Fine.  
Trenched starts out with two injured WW1 veterans stumbling onto a strange broadcast while listening for enemy transmissions. While the broadcast kills everyone else listening, It makes Frank Woodrof  and Vladimir Farnsworth super smart. Both use their new found intelligence for the betterment of man, with Frank developing walking devices to help the injured walk, and Vlad develops Television(known as MonoVision). Unfortunately, Vlad's MonoVision makes him go insane, and is bent on spreading  the "Broadcast". Frank then Modifies his Walkers to be instruments of war, which is where you come in.  
You must take your "Trench" and help stop Vlad by taking out the broadcast. In order to do so you must stop Vlad and his minions(known as Tubes) from taking over areas of the world such as Europe and Africa. Before each mission you can modify your Trench in your hub, the U.S.S McKinley, with a variety of different parts, such as Chassis and Weapons. The missions almost exclusively Defensive missions, asking you to protect a point or points until the waves of enemy's stop coming.  You can place turrets to help you in various ways, from killing enemy's to healing your Trench. Strategic placement of turrets or high powered weaponry(or a combination of both) are necessary to complete missions.   
Each mission has their own way of completing them, so you'll have to modify your Trench in accordance with the mission at hand. The game tells you the best way to tackle a mission, but you are free to experiment. For instance, one mission might have lots of Sniper Tubes, so it would be smart to have things like sniping turrets and a sniper rifle yourself, while another might have heavily armored Tubes that can be better beaten with explosive weapons.
Controlling your Trench is much like that in other third person mech shooters. Everything from shooting to placing turrets all work well. You control either side of your Trench's weapons with the Left and Right Triggers,use your Trench's ability(like Sprinting) with the A button, reload with the X button, and place turrets with the LB button. You can select your turrets with the  
D-Pad, and zoom in for a closer look by clicking in the Right stick. 
There are 15 missions of tube blasting goodness, and all of them can be played with up to 3 friends. Playing online ramps up the difficulty, making tubes stronger and adding more waves. When online progress is saved for all players, not just the host, so everyone is using their own unlocked weapons and items, and missions are completed for everyone, so no need to replay missions just to complete them. However, you will want to replay missions regardless, as through grinding levels you can obtain random loot, improve your rank, allowing you to use more powerful weapons, and obtain all the gold medals.  
The game isn't perfect. The game has frame rate issues, especially with a large amount of tubes on the map. Online also has a few issues, with players sometimes not being allowed in the lobby, even though it says it is, as well as some lag.  
Overall, Trenched is one of Double Fine's finest outings in downloadable gaming with fast, deep gameplay, fun multiplayer, and great atmosphere. At $15 It would be a steal if it were just a little longer. No matter what, Trenched is sure to please plenty of would-be Trenchies.


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