Posted on July 26, 2012 AT 09:00am
The first Orcs Must Die was one of the best tower defense games to release in recent history, effortlessly blending defense management with action, as your presence on the battlefield was required to excel at the game. Now, Orcs Must Die 2 arrives, touting a solid feature list, co-op play, and much more. Is Orcs Must Die 2 able to re-capture the same charm of the original, or does this sequel fall flat on its face? Watch the video review below as Sunflower and Dr. Gumaer discuss their feelings on the game as well as show off some co-operative play.
Orcs Must Die 2 follows the maxim of what made Gears of War 2 so noticeable — Orcs Must Die 2 is bigger, better, and filled with more gameplay options than its predecessor. One of the more restricting aspects of the first Orcs Must Die was a lack of upgrade options, and a system that felt like if you didn’t pick up on the particular idea for countering the waves of enemies that the game wanted you to, a level was unwinnable. Orcs Must Die 2 skirts around that issue, adding a handful of things that keeps the previous problems at bay, giving you greater flexibility in your gameplay.
The first is co-operative play, which was arguably the one most important feature that people felt was lacking from the first game. By adding a second player, who has a different set of traps and abilities, it really opens the gameplay up by giving you a perceived greater control of the lanes of enemies, and you’re able to ignore one lane in particular (assuming you trust your partner) in order to focus on the lane at hand. Having played co-operatively, I can tell you that this addition in particular is far and away the best new feature of this game, and makes it well worth the price of admission–but there’s more.
The second addition that really improves the base game for me is the way you use your skulls, which are the game’s version of currency to unlock new traps, upgrade existing ones, and purchase vanity items, trinkets, or weapons. Each level, upon completion, gives you a number of skulls as a reward for completing the level based on how good you did. Now, you can earn skulls during the levels themselves, as well as earn additional skulls when helping out a friend in their game. There is also an option to re-spec your skull abilities, traps, and purchases at no charge, giving you the freedom to experiment with different trap builds and upgrades. Overall, the skulls have been tweaked to perfection and definitely tones down any potential frustration by giving you more gameplay options.
The final big change to Orcs Must Die 2 is the inclusion of new game modes, one being Endless Mode, which fits in perfectly with the co-operative play and pits you (and a friend, if you so desire) against endless Orcs. You can earn skulls in this mode as well, making Endless Mode a nice extra for people who have conquered the base game, as it still presents enough of a challenge, even with a huge amount of upgrades. Owners of the first Orcs Must Die also get free access to Classic Mode, which gives you Orcs Must Die maps with the sequel’s mechanics. Classic Mode will be sold separately as DLC for those who do not own the first game, but it is a welcome addition for fans of the first game.
So, is it fun? Tower defense games traditionally are a hard sell for people who aren’t already fans of the genre, but Robot Entertainment has made great strides in making the Orcs Must Die franchise transcend the genre by giving you different characters to play that have to get involved in the fighting besides just setting up traps and watching them go. The game itself is a hell of a lot of fun, and with the new game modes and the co-operative play, Orcs Must Die 2 is some of the most fun I’ve had with a friend. There’s a lot to offer solo players, but when you bring a friend, Orcs Must Die 2 shines brighter than its competition.
Orcs Must Die 2 is available via digital distribution on Steam on July 30th, 2012 for $14.99.
- THE GOOD: Adding co-operative play catapults this game to the top of its genre
- THE BAD: The genre itself may be an insurmountable obstacle to some players
- THE UGLY: The feeling of helplessness watching a handful of Ogres advance past your unprepared defenses
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