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DotA 2 Review

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Posted: 5 months ago.

Author: Ben Kendall and @GeekDadGamer.


DotA 2 (Defence of the Ancients) is a series of fighting and shooting games where you battle enemies and human-controlled characters in online matches. The aim is to destroy the other team's Ancient artefact using one of the many characters. Similar to League of Legends, it encourages collaboration between players on your team. However, here the focus is on a vast range of heroes and equipment that offer more novelty to the encounters.

At the beginning of each match, you choose a hero with unique abilities that start relatively weak but are developed by items you find in the world. In this way, you work with your teammates to destroy the other team's base while defending your own. Compared to League of Legends, the gameplay is more complex with a steeper learning curve, requiring you to use a combination of skill and practice to win.

The game's regular updates add new characters and game modes, which switch up the objective or add restrictions to the type of characters usable in the match, but there is always a strong emphasis on teamwork. There is a large esports scene for the game, hosted by Valve, the parent company of Steam and the game's publisher, with a prize pool of US$30 million. It started as a fan-made game that became so popular it got an official release, and it is currently one of the most played games on PC, often with over a million concurrent players.

The game's popularity has led to the creation of comic books and cartoon series as well as two spin-off games:
  • Artifact, a digital card-collecting game
  • DotA Underlords, an auto-battling game

DetailsGame Details

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 09/06/2013, updated in 2013

Price: Free

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Fighting, Shooting and Strategy

Accessibility: 19 features

Developer: Valve Software (@ValveSoftware)


Duration: It takes between 20 minutes and 1 hour to play a round of this game. Because the game is played between different players, the length of matches can vary greatly, although will typically take 40 minutes. If there is a large disparity between team's skill level, however, games can be over in half that time.
Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 10 players online. You play in two teams of five each on your own computer, connecting online.


Dota 2

Steam Store PC Free
Steam Store Mac Free
This game is free to play. Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience. Some of these purchases (known as 'loot boxes') are for a chance of getting rare/higher-value items although common/lower-value items are more frequent. These in-game purchases also offer a regular subscription fee (known as a 'battle/season pass') to unlock access to reward items and other aspects of the game.  

You don’t need a platform subscription to play this game online. You can buy items in loot boxes that customise the look of your character and add different audio to the game. You can also pay for DotA Plus, a subscription service, for similar items. Neither service contains gameplay altering items, allowing you to play the game in full regardless of whether you pay or not.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

This game has not yet been rated, but we anticipate it is likely to be rated PEGI 12.
Users Interact: The game enables players to interact and communicate with each other, so may expose players to language usually associated with older rated games.

Account Rating

You don’t need a platform subscription to play this game online.


Because you compete against other people, you can't adjust the difficulty, but the game pits you against people of similar skill level, so only rarely will you be up against a team of significantly better players.

Some of the text, notably the chat, is displayed in small white text directly over the game, which means sometimes it is quite difficult to read. All dialogue in the game has subtitles to accompany it, but can be turned off if you'd rather just listen, as the game is fully voice acted.

The game is generally colourful and bright, but some game elements are quite small and can be hard to identify. You move through the map, but the background is fairly static and only moves as your character does. You play from a top-down perspective, making the background primarily dirt and grass.
Our DotA 2 Accessibility Report documents 19 accessibility features:

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Games Like DotA 2

Our experts have hand-picked the following similar games for you. These offer a similar way to play to DotA 2 or are games with a similar theme or topic. These are good alternative games to DotA 2, or are a younger rated alternative for players not ready for PEGI 12 or ESRB EVERYONE 10+ games.

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