Most movies, books, graphic novels, and videogames in a fantasy setting realize the importance of including Orcs and the urgency of killing them. Robot Entertainment’s Orcs Must Die! 2 cuts right to the chase and delivers tower defense gameplay mixed with strategic third-person action all in the name of meeting Orcs that really must die. With an all-new 2 player co-op mode, classic levels, and a simple yet effective upgrade system, it’s hard to run out of activities in this monster slaying adventure. Grab a blunderbuss and a hammer, it’s time to go Orc hunting and do that thing to them that makes them stop moving.
These Orcs must die!
Every snarling creature is conceived in the Dead World and tries as best they can to run past you in haste to reach something called a Rift. Sorcerers set up these Rifts as a way to bring balance to the Human World with magic, but the Orcs are only interested in using them as a one way ticket to terrorize our defenseless lands. After the death of the Dead World’s last sorcerer, you have the choice to play a magic wielding witch or a gun slinging wise guy who were the only apprentices of the late mage and humanity’s last hope. The story doesn’t do much to affect the gameplay at all, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Information takes the form of short nonintrusive cut scenes that don’t take you away from the action for too long. Frankly, with mechanics this good, the developers probably could have gotten away with no story at all.
The game focuses on clever trap placement and satisfying gunplay that repeats level after level without ever getting boring. Like in any good tower defense title, you have the option to lay down a variety of traps for your unsuspecting foes to meet their ultimate fate as they pass by. Even though the principles are the same as other classics in the genre, this one comes with a little bit of a twist. Rather than building gauntlets from thousands of feet above as a passive architect of destruction, players have their feet planted firmly in the ground with their own fire power, able to kill some Orcs first hand and make up for any holes you might have left in your defenses. Much like Tim Schafer’s Iron Brigade, the concept isn’t new but is fairly rare and has plenty of room for innovation.
If you build it…
Every trap can be upgraded through the use of skulls. Skulls are rewarded at the end of levels depending on how well you do. Your performance is rated out of 5 and an amount of skulls are rewarded to you depending on that rating. The game also provides an option to fight endless waves of Orcs for the sole purpose of collecting some extra skulls on the side. Like grinding, the extra work gives you the ability to purchase more upgrades and make later levels easier in the campaign. The weapons you wield during direct combat with the ugly hordes can be upgraded as well allowing every device used for killing to be improved the more time you spend with the game.
Orcs Must Die! 2 allows you to invite a buddy (but only one buddy) to slay creatures together in a whimsical blood bath of strategy and teamwork. This provides a whole new level of tactics since twice as many corridors can be guarded at once. Unfortunately, the environments traversed in co-op are identical to the ones players must accomplish alone. This causes some flawed level design as it’s often obvious that most of these challenges are made for more than one player, making it a bit tougher if you have no friends. However, the game has been generous enough to include every level from the original Orcs Must Die! providing an entirely separate campaign full of levels made for one person. Even though beating the game all by your onesies might prove more difficult than with a pal, there are still tons of classic stages, endless levels, and weekly challenges to help you grind and even the playing field.
Very few titles can create gameplay so simple and addicting, you never want it to end. Orcs Must Die! 2 provides endless hours of entertainment without complicated multiplayer modes or an epic fantasy narrative (not easy to do). Players can hop in for ten minutes and enjoy some instant, skull crushing gratification, or stick around for hours meticulously upgrading every trap and weapon. Of course, no game is perfect. The comedy is a little hit and miss, some traps seem redundant, and not every level is a winner. However, Orcs Must Die! 2 is worth every penny and full of quality content waiting for you and a partner to play for weeks on end. Is that not what man has dreamt of ever since we looked to gaming for entertainment?
Addicting mechanics | Great co-op mode | Tons of levels
Some equipment is superfluous | Experience suffers if played alone
Little David Galanter grew up in Orange County, CA loving videogames and anything else that repelled girls. After getting his Bachelor's Degree in Theatre Arts, David decided to start contributing his soft silky words to the world via online media. He currently owns a website with a weekly podcast (www.drgman.com) and is a reviewer for Default Prime!
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