Multiplayer co-op and a number of other great additions make diving into Orcs Must Die! 2 a delight.
- Lots of crazy variety with new traps and gizmos
- Multiplayer co-op really makes the experience
- Two playable characters offer different strategies.
- Game audio and one-liners are recycled and repetitive.
The original Orcs Must Die! certainly lived up to its delightfully murderous name. Stemming the tide of marauding orcish hordes by laying out a complex network of spring-loaded spikes, arrow traps, and other deadly hazards proved a titillating pursuit punctuated by flying limbs and snappy one-liners. The third-person perspective and hands-on approach to grinding up insane numbers of charging foes set Orcs Must Die! apart from most games in the tower defense genre, but a lack of multiplayer held it back from true greatness. It's good to see that this flaw has been remedied in Orcs Must Die! 2. Tons of crafty traps primed for maximum orc slaughter and an all-new co-op mode featuring a saucy sorceress companion add some serious weight to this rowdy sequel.
Sealing up the orc-spewing magical rifts that allowed the rampaging green menace free transit between realms turned out to be only a temporary duct tape-style solution in the first game, but that's no biggie for the returning doofy War Mage protagonist. You see, with all the rifts closed, he's taken up a gig as a lowly underground miner and misses the thrill of cracking orc skulls. Fate obliges his desire for action, when a new rift mysteriously opens and out hops the slightly reformed evil sorceress from the previous outing--followed by teeming masses of bloodthirsty orcs and their beastly pals in hot pursuit. The unlikely duo pair up to stem the tide once again, resulting in plenty of humorous dialogue and more fleshed out story sequences that play out between rounds of gratuitous orc dismemberment. More importantly, this new plot development gives you a much broader range of killing options and also sets the stage for some truly excellent multiplayer co-op.
The flow of battle has changed very little from the original outing. That's nothing to complain about, considering how enjoyable it was the first time around. Every stage requires you to defend your portal from lumbering foes that pour in from different rifts plunked down along the map. With the limited cash at your disposal, you spend rounds laying down insidious traps to protect your turf, earning money for every orc you slay that can be used to continually improve your defenses between waves. Setting traps on the fly and watching the fruits of your labor unfold is a blast, but these doom devices only whittle down a fraction of the massive enemy forces that pour in, since each has a brief recharge time between uses. You have to get your hands dirty, and it's this constant need to dive into the fray while keeping an eye on the bigger picture unfolding around you that makes these encounters so intensely addictive.
Skulls return as the morbid currency of choice, and there are opportunities aplenty to earn more than your fair share by racking up kills in the new Endless mode or meeting certain achievement-like goals within the campaign. Spending them to unlock goodies for boosting your orc-mangling potential in the redesigned spellbook is a more user-friendly process, thanks to separate tabs that filter traps, weapons, trinkets, outfits, and your current gear for easy access. Practically everything can be upgraded now too, from boosting weapons damage to increased trap reloading speed, which multiplies the range of options you can pick from significantly.
With lots of crazy new traps and gadgets to wield, it's fortunate that Orcs Must Die! 2 doesn't penalize you for being indecisive. You can refund all of your skulls at any time, which resets your gear selections and lets you re-spend all the cumulative skulls you've earned however you choose. The fact you can do this an infinite number of times is great, as it lets you constantly adjust your strategy until you find a killing groove that feels just right.
What's especially cool about Orcs Must Die! 2's dual protagonists is that they both provide a different style of play and tactics on the battlefield. Though some of the same gear does carry over between characters, each comes with a handful of their own unique unlockable weapons and traps to unleash. The War Mage is still very much a close range brawler, with his shotgun-like blunderbuss, melee weapons, and mechanical-minded gizmos. The new dwarven hammer, which lets you spend mana to spin around and turn a crowd of orcs into hamburger within seconds, is a great weapon addition, and some of the War Mage's traps have been re-worked and expanded too.
The beguiling Sorceress, on the other hand, is better at long-distance combat and trickery. In addition to zapping foes from afar, her Scepter of Domination can charm enemies into attacking their comrades. She can also unlock a crazy polymorph ring for transforming her foes at random or turning herself into a giant ogre. Both characters make entertaining picks for plowing through the solo campaign, which creates some replay value, but pairing them together by teaming up with a friend really opens up the strategic variety.
Most stages are clearly designed with multiplayer in mind. On a lower difficulty, the solo campaign is still fun, but juggling everything on your own with normal settings can get frantic when you're scrambling to fend off throngs of attackers from all sides in the bigger levels. It's not totally unmanageable--just a real bear at moments.
Working in tandem is a lot more enjoyable, particularly as you come up against tougher groups of foes. Surviving in the face of new beasties like trolls that regenerate, swarms of venom-spitting bats, and hulking earth elementals that divide and multiply into smaller forms when defeated make teamwork all the more crucial.
At times, Orcs Must Die! 2 looks and feels very much like its predecessor. This is only truly grating on the audio front, since the frequently campy quips and cheesy metal soundtrack that blasts when battle begins are repetitively recycled. Otherwise, there's more than enough new content here to justify digging back into the orc killing glee this tower defense/action strategy hybrid provides. With a good deal of replayability between the extra modes, dual playable characters, new gizmos, and great multiplayer co-op, this excellent sequel improves on the original in almost every way.
This is one of the best xbox live arcade games ever really enjoyed playing orcs must die 1 hope 2 turns out to be just as good :)
I had completely written this game off when I was told at PAX East that it would be LOCAL Co-op only, which didn't make any sense at the time.
Good to see it's online multiplayer now; might have to grab this one!
@Sohayboom They don't really care much for PC's. Even the PC video review's show's console gameplay.
@BundD OK--let's dispel a few things here.
The PC platform is our most-reviewed platform thus far in 2012. Saying we don't care for PCs is a lie, and not a very good one at that. When we are bogged down and must choose between, say, an Xbox Live release and a new release on Steam, the PC game more often than not gets the go-ahead.
2nd--when we do multiplatform reviews, we try to spread out as much footage as we can. We typically get PC versions later than we receive console versions--and often, the PC version comes out later than the other versions. In those cases, we insert PC footage into the video review, and yes, there is a chance that you might see more of one version than the other. That is because we don't play every game from beginning to end on every platform--we generally finish one, and play substantial amounts of the others. If you want even more PC footage in multiplatform reviews, then write game publishers and tell them to send the PC version with the others, so we can make it our primary review platform.
The last time someone complained about this issue, I pointed out that there was more PC footage in that video review than any other platform. But it's hard to argue with people who have already made up their minds.
3rd--This review was freelanced. That means that it was reviewed by someone that does not work in the GameSpot offices. That means that we did not have someone in the office taking footage while playing the game for review. While we do occasionally do video reviews for reviews written by freelancers, that is very rare, because it means someone in the office must stop step away from their own assignments and play hours worth of a game someone off site has reviewed. There are only 4 full-time reviews staff at GameSpot; taking them off an assignment to play a game for footage, rather than having them work on their own assignments, is a poor use of time, particularly when that video review would not do enough views to support that use of time.
4th--We just lost an important member of our video team, and most everyone else on that team was out for QuakeCon and the EA Showcase. I wish I could produce clones out of thin air to produce video reviews, but I am not yet blessed with that capability.
So the question is: would you rather us publish a review when submitted, or would you have rather me wait for another 5 days for a staffer to free up for taking game footage, another staffer condense the written review into a script, and the return of available staff? If I would have done that, you would just be complaining that we hate the PC because it took so long for the review to post :/
I know that making things up for conspiracy purposes is fun, but all you need do is ask. Shoot me an email or find me on Twitter. Ask how it works, and ask about the pieces of the puzzle. Talk with me about the million and one considerations. Rather than make stuff up, find out the information before spreading silliness all over the place.
@Kevin-V So you're the new guy? Welcome to the internet.
@Kevin-V Stop whining. You're talking about recording a dude while he's playing a game, not conquering Europe.
Is it possible to spread silliness from a Gamespot review forum that always has the same 5 people commenting? The 80's were better. People had to keep their opinions about opinions to themselves. Long live Macgyver and Mr. Belvedere.
@Gelugon_baatYeah, because video games are so serious
@Kevin-V Watch out we got a Bad Ass over here! ;p
@Kevin-V Bro. Why did you take up so much of the page.
Funny how we all rave about a 10 USD game, but slam the 60 USD big budget games. I hope these fat cat publishers are starting to listen, because if they dont, these small publishing companies full of real gamers and professional coders are going shut you all down in a quick hurry. Shape up or seek your greed elsewhere. We are not stupid.
I like this series a lot and I certainly appreciate the price point. But let's be honest here, it's not a $50-60 production. They focus on a super simple narrative, cell shaded graphics, relatively straight forward tower defense gameplay that has some nice strategic depth to it. For what it is, it's well done. But it's not trying to be some blockbuster with an insane amount of gameplay and depth to it. Sure, some large companies build new IPs and shamelessly milk the hell out of them by not innovating and just releasing lame iterations every year, but it's hard to compare that with something like this. And frankly, you shouldn't be worried about the game companies seeing what's going on with this demand for low cost releases. There's a reason these smaller gaming companies are starting up everywhere... they're making an absolute killing with little up front cost/risk in the production process. If anything, we should be acknowledging that the era of big release gaming is fading and the era of free-to-play, pay-as-you-go, micro-price, and subscription gaming is in full swing, for better or worse.
@Kastigador Well, I AM worried about whether big gaming companies are paying attention or not, because I am actually rooting for them. Gaming is my favorite past time and my hard earned money means a lot to me. A games success directly translates into whether I have fun or not in this life.
Whether or not its a block buster, big budget game or not doesnt mean I cant compare a big game to a smaller game. If it has frustrating game play or is broken with bugs or is shallow and thrown together then it doesnt matter what size it is. All I know is that I've just been screwed over and I get angry about it.
Furthermore, I am not an anti capitalist. I believe in fair profits, but handing me a lazy, crap game is dishonest and bad business. It is like legally stealing from us, and we all take offense to it. That is why we all get on here and comment about games. We want to warn others about shady business practices and reveal who the offenders are. We support each other in this way.
Lastly, gaming has always changed since Pong. Anybody who has been playing games a while is comfortable with change and looks forward to new ideas and different gaming styles. It is possible, however, to produce a game be it a block buster or Pac Man that has been given the care, time, and budget needed to present a fair product to the public and in return making a fair profit for those whose efforts deserve to be rewarded.
@moc5 i'm afraid that if robot entertainment goes up to the top will start doing the same crap the top ones right now do. it's only bussines.
@xsonicchaos Good point. Under that logic we can assume a pattern here and know when to pull the plug on them before they screw us over.
@moc5 Preach! :)
I'm really disappointed that they didn't release this on the 360. I really enjoyed the first one. Guess it'll have to wait until I build a new gaming PC.
I think Orcs Must Die 2 (OMD2) didn't improve on OMD on every aspect: I miss the Weavers, the "Halls" of the first game were more interesting than the Dwarven Mines, I liked the orcs design of the previous game better and I think the "ragdoll" effects in this new title are a little exaggerated... Still, there are amazing improvements: one more character, better upgrades structure, more weapons and traps and guardians and, the best, the co-op mode. In the end, I think OMD2 is as good as the first one (meaning: it's amazing!) and also very cheap. Insanely recommended.
@vijayman I'm wondering this as well. It doesn't really say anywhere whether or not there's local or LAN. I might be blind too. :)
Don't know about the reviewer but I really liked the jokes in this game. At least better than other games
They should've called it More Orcs Must Die! Such a missed opportunity...
I haven't finished the first one yet but I think it's great, though I really miss co-op in it.
@der_spudmeister Not really, the "2" is a clear indicative that it's a sequel; Let's just say you're not paying much a attention and se "More Orcs Must Die!" for sale, maybe you'll won't realise it's a different game and just pass it.
@der_spudmeister Orcs must die too...
Is the co-op online only or is there a split-screen mode? I have a good buddy that loves the game but he's mostly a console gamer so I wouldn't be able to play online with him.
Another fine addition from the boys from Robot Entertainment, who in turn were the guys from Ensemble Studios.
I've so been looking forward to this! Loved the first one and played the demo, definitely an instant buy :)
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