[Review] Orcs Must Die! 2
The original Orcs Must Die! was one of the most addicting games I’ve played. While I’m generally not into tower defense games, I couldn’t stop coming up with creative ways to kill those bastards. Pegging headshots with a crossbow, pushing groups into pits of lava, and setting up combinations of traps was very satisfying. At the time, the only thing that could have made that game better was having a co-op option. After playing Orcs Must Die! 2, it became apparent that co-op was only one way to make slaughtering hordes of orcs even more fun.
Orcs Must Die! 2 is a tower defense-style game. Instead of towers, you’re defending rifts from the invading orcish forces. The goal of each level is to utilize the layout of the map and a slew of weapons and traps to create very unpleasant situations for the invading orcs. It sounds simple enough, but the invading forces have stepped up their game. The orcs have employed some new recruits, including elemental ogres that have their own strengths and weaknesses versus certain traps, armored orcs, speedy gnoll hunters that tend to avoid the effects of traps and cyclops mages. I don’t think they need any more elaboration.
OMD!2 contains an all-new story campaign, introducing fifteen new maps for you to conquer. You are given the option of a new character: the Sorceress who is your main opponent in the original game and now your ally. She focuses more on magic and trades health for a larger mana pool. In addition to the new campaign maps, all of the classic levels from the original Orcs Must Die! are playable. This is really cool because you can now utilize the new weaponry in the classic maps. OMD!2 also introduces a feature that the original game was begging for: multiplayer. The single player experience is enjoyable, but multiplayer is where this game truly shines. Having a buddy utilize the Sorceress’ affinity for magic leads to some wacky orc deaths. We were able to plan out how we would set up defenses and let each other know if assistance was needed. Working together with someone to setup combos that can’t be done alone is a blast.
One of the nicest improvements to the game is the ability to further customize your character with weapons and traps that better suit your playstyle. Orcs Must Die! 2 allows you to upgrade your weapons and traps by kicking ass and collecting orc skulls. These skulls are used as a currency to purchase customizable persistent upgrades for each trap and weapon. Weapons were also diversified in the sequel. Many of the favorite weapons make a return, though they have been reworked and provide different effects. The beloved crossbow is actually not the War Mage’s starting weapon. He now starts with a blunderbuss that lobs a grenade that sends enemies flying. The crossbow is available to purchase with skulls and can be upgraded to replenish mana upon landing a headshot. New weapons like that Dwarf Hammer and Bone Amulet make for some creative ways to slaughter orcs. I had too much fun using the Bone Amulet in conjunction with a random mana potion on the ground and the Mana Rage trinket to summon five giant skeleton golems that took out waves of orcs on their own.
The game is a bit more complex when it comes to difficulty than the original. You probably CAN use the exact same traps over and over to complete each map. Doing so is not only boring, but there are maps where the usefulness of your go-to setup will be questioned. The new maps push you to experiment with traps you wouldn’t normally check out. The ability to completely refund all of your skulls is a godsend and a feature that makes me want to hug someone at Robot Entertainment. It promotes creativity and you won’t feel punished if you make some upgrade choices that don’t work for you at the time. You can reset all of your upgrades and try something different! The only thing that disappoints me is that the Dwarf Guardian and Archer Guardians seem a bit too strong when upgraded. If they are put in a hard to reach place, they can significantly reduce the challenge in certain areas.
[+ New Character] [+ CO-OP!!!] [+Variety of New Weapons/Traps] [+Playstyle Customization] [- Archers/Dwarf Guardians Too Powerful to Not Use]
I adore the colorful, cartoony art style of Orcs Must Die! 2. Everything is very polished. Animations for character models are well done, and the trap animations are flashy and have a solid “oomph” to them. Watching a group of orcs get roased by a floor scorcher is so satisfying. The War Mage and Sorceress have their own personalities and their one-liners are amusing the first few times you hear them.
There isn’t too much going on story-wise. It’s pretty straightforward: Sorceress lost her control over the orcs and needs the War Mage’s help to prevent the orcs from entering the rifts. There are a few cutscenes but I’ll be honest: you’re not playing this one for the story. Everything about the presentation of the game is solid. The soundtrack is epic and really gets you in the orc-killing mood. The sound effects on the traps and weapons are fitting. This is one of those games that really benefits from having a subwoofer; I like feeling the exploding traps and orcs being knocked around.
[+Very Polished/Well Animated] [+Excellent Sound] [*Cartoony Visuals May Not Appeal to Everyone] [*Little Focus on Story]
Orcs Must Die! 2 is a steal at $15. I know that’s a cliche statement, but I honestly feel like $15 is too cheap for this game. You get a brand new campaign, new weapons and traps, a new character and the maps from the original game. It’s practically two games in one! There is a ton of replayability due to the number of weapons and the well designed maps. There are so many methods to dispatch of orcs that are just waiting to be discovered if you’re a feeling creative. Like the original, I can see the potential for DLC to be introduced, but the content available at launch is more than enough to keep you occupied for hours. Plus if the first game is any indication, this game will go on sale for some criminally low price during the next big Steam sale.
OMD!2 offers a leaderboard system, too, if you’re feeling competitive. I enjoy comparing my score to my friend’s scores and I get this goofy sense of accomplishment when I smack a friend’s score across the face. If you play with a friend, you can even compare your team score to the teams of the people on your Steam friends list. The downside to the leaderboard system is that the friend’s list leaderboards are the only functional part. There is a global leaderboard system that shows where you score amongst everyone that owns the game. However, the top scores on the global leaderboards it seems were blatantly cheated. The people on the first few places on any given map are impossibly high. I doubt their authenticity.
[+Insane Bang-for-Buck] [+Tons of Replayability] [+Leaderboards to Compete Amongst Friends] [*Global Leaderboards Seem Broken]
If it wasn’t already obvious, I adore this game. Playing it with a buddy of mine was one of the best co-op experiences I’ve had in a while. There was never a moment where I thought to myself “Aww, I wish they had done ____ instead.” They really nailed it with Orcs Must Die! 2. Coming up with over-the-top combos to slay waves of orcs is a blast. Pun totally intended. Orcs Must Die! 2 is on my personal Game of the Year list. You really can’t go wrong with this title for only $15. You get way more than you pay for. Robot Entertainment went above and beyond with this one.
[+ New Character] [+ CO-OP!!!] [+Variety of New Weapons/Traps] [+Playstyle Customization] [+Very Polished/Well Animated] [+Excellent Sound] [+Insane Bang-for-Buck] [+Tons of Replayability] [+Leaderboards to Compete Amongst Friends] [*Cartoony Visuals May Not Appeal to Everyone] [*Little Focus on Story] [*Global Leaderboards Seem Broken] [- Archers/Dwarf Guardians Too Powerful to Not Use]