Orcs Must Die 2 PC Review
It’s rare for me to find an indie game that doesn’t fill me with a punching rage. I say this because indie games are like Japanese role-playing games. For every one good one, I find myself neck deep in ten god awful ones. It’s like independent game developers think crappy platforming combined with a pseudo-unique soundtrack makes it okay to slap a $10 price-tag on their senior projects and put them on Steam. Because of this, it takes a game like Orcs Must Die 2 to restore my hope in the world of indie gaming.
I approached Orcs Must Die 2 with a bit of trepidation. I had heard positive reviews about the first Orcs Must Die, but that was by the same person who’s well into his 20’s and believes Final Fantasy 7 is the best game ever made. To be honest, I was expecting to play this game for about 2 hours, then write it off so that I could focus on more pressing matters. Things might have gone that way if this game wasn’t so ridiculously good.
We’ll start with the fact that this game has a simple premise that works perfectly. The game provides you with entrances in which angry orc monsters flow onto the playing field. These orcs are attempting to make it to a central point on the map. Your job is to use weapons, traps, and cunning to stop this seemingly unstoppable force from entering said central point. It’s one of those concepts you describe to your friends as “Yeah, I just got this game, and it won’t return my social life to me until I get someone else addicted to it.”
The gameplay is solid. It’s a unique idea that combines third-person combat with tower defense planning. When properly executed, your traps will keep the monsters at bay. Then, when they fail, you keep the monsters at bay. If done properly, you make it to the next “wave,” allowing you to progress further, get orc skulls (equivalent of exp), and level yourself up.
This unique gameplay is complimented by a control scheme ripped right out of any recent MMO. Your typical movement buttons control the player, while the number keys allow you to frantically scream, “Oh man, which button is ‘4’? NO! THAT’S THE CROSSBOW! OH MAN OH MAN” as you try to micromanage a trap filled dungeon during an orc apocalypse. Really, the controls are easy to pick up. Just make sure you’re not number button challenged like me. Then again, even with my horrible understanding of the keyboard, the game constantly made me feel good, even in defeat.
Atmosphere is also something worth mentioning with this game. It has a feeling not dissimilar to that of a national lampoon’s movie mixed with Micheal Bay’s directing. Explosions and bad jokes make up the paper thin story that does little more than entertain players are they parade around with a magical blunderbuss and a bag of nifty traps. It’s a nice combination that really makes the game unique.
While I’ve covered gameplay, story, and controls, my checklist dictates that I still need to bring up sound and graphics. I’ll start with the graphics. They’re some of the best graphics I’ve seen come out of an indie game. They express the characters and what’s going on well enough, and they flow.
In regards to sound, the game has a nasty tendency of reusing sounds from its prequel. The sounds of dying orcs and my character’s hilarious rambling tended to drown out the sound file they had looped on a demonic repeat. Even so, the soundtrack isn’t anything special. It’s not annoying, but it’s not some super special soundtrack that makes me want to keep playing the game simply to hear it. It’s just a soundtrack meant to fill the silence when nothing is happening.
Perhaps the only flaw to the game is that the difficulty has a tendency to spike at completely random times. The first 75% of the main campaign is an absolute joke on any difficulty. Then, out of the blue, a level shows up that reminds you that you are indeed a flawed human. The level is set up like a demonic pyramid. From the top spawns slow moving orcs, and from the bottom a couple of coke fueled kobolds that sprint at speeds that make the sound barrier blush as they run come pouring in. Coupled with the occasional troll (big, strong, enemies that regenerate health) that randomly walks in and ruins your day, it took me seemingly countless tries to beat that level. By the time I had finally finished it, the last level was a cake walk by comparison.
That being said, there should be no level that cannot be completed by spamming arrow walls and tar traps (except for the above mentioned one). This allows even the most tower defense challenged person to pick up this game and have fun. It really is something enjoyable to anybody who doesn’t believe harmless fun to be the work of the devil. Ultimately, it’s a fun game that’s well worth the 15 dollars (or 30 if you play it co-op) you’d be putting down on it. Even after the last level is over, endless mode is always there to taunt you to try harder.