PLATFORMS | STEAM, PC
DEVELOPER/PUBLISHER | ROBOT ENTERTAINMENT
RELEASE DATE | 7.30.12
I have learned many things from playing through the Orcs Must Die series. One is that I like seeing things explode.
Another is that orcs just can’t catch a break. Ever. They’re just too ugly.
They continue to get crushed, thrown, stabbed, and blown up in this sequel to the original 2011 title, which took the tower defense genre and said “f-ck it, let’s blow sh-t up. Let’s throw in more death too for good measure.” While Orcs Must Die was a breath of fresh air for an independent tower defense game, Orcs Must Die 2 can’t really seem to live up to the original.
The sequel takes place soon after the events of the first game, in which you, the cheeky war mage, have shut down the rifts that let the orcs break through to civilization. Now you have to work with the sorceress who served as your main antagonist previously to stop another orc onslaught. The gameplay remains relatively the same minus a few nice upgrades to the Spellbook, and, of course, the new cooperative mode. There are two of you now, and you have to work together.
This is the sequel’s main draw. The first one was more of a single-player experience, and while you can still play through Orcs Must Die 2 alone, it is much more difficult. Maps are more widespread, and sometimes can have three or more entrances that you have to guard. It seems that some of the later maps are designed solely for two players, and that can be frustrating for people who are playing alone, although I guess it presents more of a challenge.
The game also does a decent job of alienating another key demographic: newcomers. It lacks a proper tutorial for people who failed to play the first one, and instead of the system of unlocking new weapons one at a time, it hands you a couple and leaves you to purchase the rest yourself. While this is fine for people who have gone through the game before (in fact, it’s probably preferred), I get the feeling that newcomers will take much longer to get used to the gameplay when it’s all thrown at you at once, and you have to spend a lot of time just going through the Spellbook to see what is available.
I guess the easiest thing to do is to buy the first game, although I don’t think Robot will mind.
Despite a few setbacks, the game is still fun to play, albeit frustrating for certain groups. It continues the first game in a proper manner, so for those that are looking for more orcs to kill, I can’t see you going wrong. They’re orcs. They’re ugly, and they’re fun to kill.