Two teams of five fight across three lanes. Three specific types of shop sell sixty different magical items. There are more than a hundred characters to play, and an unknown quantity still to come. Eight types of specific role that you can play as part of your team. It's safe to say that Dota 2 is a game of numbers.
Despite Valve's best efforts to ease players in gently, Dota 2 is an inherently overwhelming game. The first few hours of this MOBA are relentlessly bemusing, but after that the difficulty curve becomes smoother - giving you a tangible sense of how you'll get better.
Each match tends to last somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour, offering vast amounts of entertainment if you've got the time. Lengthy games can cause frustration when things aren't going well, however, which is the main source of Dota 2's rep for breeding a virulent strain of internet dick.
Losing isn't frustrating if you're learning something new, and getting to know every character will take roughly 100 hours. It's also worth mentioning that you really get to know them - the vocal work and animations are superb, giving Dota 2 some of the best character design in gaming.
Over the next 50 hours it becomes clear that Dota 2's complexity isn't pointless PC-RPG-posturing. Every character, skill, and item serves a purpose. It's a pleasant surprise to find that its depth doesn't damage the clarity of the design.
Gold buys you items and XP levels characters up, but in contrast to the messy fashion in which the RPG genre has incrementally evolved, Dota 2's purity shines. Whilst too impenetrable to entice non-savvy spectators, there's no doubting the game's quality as an E-sport.
You'll need knowledge, skill, and a smidge of spider-sense. Friends to learn with are a must, and don't be deceived by the lack of a pricetag: Dota 2 will cost you hundreds of hours.
Played for 600 hours. Click here to read about VideoGamer.com's new review policy.