Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Game Review - Orcs Must Die!



Let me start by saying this:  This game is HARDCORE and I love it!!

Orcs Must Die! is not for everyone;  it may have funny orcs and a slightly cartoony look, but this game will please hardcore tower defense players mostly.  I'd go so far as to bet that if some casual gamer accidentally bought this game because of the cute-sy art style they wouldn't make it passed the 2nd level.  (I've played ~42 hours and I've beaten the game and about 75% of the way through Nightmare Mode and I'm seriously stuck.)

I don't want to sound like I'm bashing the game because it's really cool and fun (I will bash parts though).  The hero of the game is the last "War Mage" alive, who is basically Ash from Army of Darkness and must defend these magic rifts.  Orcs love to run through the rifts and I forget how it works, but if too many run though you lose.

This game nails comedy in so many ways.  The Orcs are hilarious!!! 
Some examples:  "I'm allergic to flames!",  "You go first!",  "Ohh no he di'n't!", "One more day till retirement."
I still laugh at some, although it has that classic video game problem, if you give a character a voice that can be triggered many times it becomes repetitive.  But the Orcs are funny enough that the repetition is fine.

There are around 4-5 very short cutscenes.  They are both awesomely drawn and well written, I actually lol'd in almost every one.  Your character also talks for a bit at the beginning of each level and that stuff is pure genius also.  If I had a comedy category OMD would get 20/20.

Design - 18/20 - When you boil it down, this is a tower defense game that is HEAVY on the action.  Maybe the most action oriented TD game I've ever played.  Starting a level is very much like Plants VS Zombies, where you have X amount of available traps and only Y amount of slots.  And to be honest, you can pick the wrong ones and screw yourself from the get go, but that's mostly on the later levels.  Almost all the traps are awesome and effective.  The Orcs come at you in relentless waves and they get a TON of Orcs on screen, it's sweet! 

Most TD games you build turrets, in this game you build traps: Arrows that shoot out of walls, spikes that come out of the ground, etc.

Later in the game you can build what they call guardians.  Paladins and archers that you can place and these act more like traditional turrets.  (They both are super effective and I used em alot.)
The killer moments in this game are when you set up a really nice trap combo and 100s of Orcs are charging just being slaughtered, thrown into pits and torn to pieces, Orc body parts flying in all directions.  AWESOME.

There are a good amount of Orc variants, some Ogres (Big & Strong), Kobolds (Small & Fast) and Dragons (Flying), a good overall enemy selection.

The level design is great, I applaud the level designers on this game, distances feel good, waves are intense, just solid overall levels.  Some levels you play and lose bad, WTF?  Go back and try a new strategy and it works perfect.  Each level you get a new trap, and a general rule is the next level will have an environment that will feature that new trap, hint hint!

Tech - 15/20 - Ok, I love this game.  I love how many Orcs can be onscreen.  I love that it doesn't slow down too much.  It didn't crash on me once.  But the LOADING TIMES ARE INSANELY TOO LONG!!!!!  This is a TD game where you will be restarting many times.  The times were so long I decided to time it, they were between 45 seconds and 1 minute.  I know it doesn't sound like that long, but put this game on your 360, play a hard level and restart till you beat it, if you still think the loading times aren't long you have the patience of a GnR song.  The levels are relatively small and all indoors, I really don't know what would cause the loading times to be so long.

Leaderboards are cool and load very quickly.  I only had 2 people on my friends list that had the game and they didn't play much, so the leaderboards were a cool place for me to see how I did.

I'm not scoring points against OMD for this, but 2 player!!!!  Personally, I think at the current difficulty, adding a 2nd player would turn this very hard game into a normal game.  (Just speculation!)

Art - 19/20 - The art style is radical!  The Orcs have that almost funny cartoon look, but at the same time they're menacing.  The cut scenes are short but fantastic, the main character looks great and the Ogres and Kobolds are perfect.  Even the loading screens are informative as well as hilarious.  The UI pops, looks cool and informs.  Art nailed it!
Production - 17/20 - This little hardcore TD game comes in a great package.  Everything is there in slick menus.  The music is as epic as you get.  Writing and VO top notch.

Value - 18/20 - I got at least 40 hours for 15$, that's a win.  You won't get 40 hours outta this game though, unless you LOVE Orcs, the Evil Dead series, tower defense games and a bit of a challenge (And can sit through those f%$#ing loading screens!)  But if love or even like all those things, you will like this game.  I hope for and would enjoy paying for some DLC!

Total Score = 87/100

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