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PAX EAST 2014 | “Orcs Must Die!” In Glorious Online Fashion

Posted on April 18, 2014 AT 08:58am

Orcs Must Die! is probably my favorite tower-defense game series. I don’t know if it’s the sight of watching thousands of monstrous trolls and other disgusting creatures being impaled, shot up with arrows, and set on fire or…actually, that’s exactly why I love Orcs Must Die! So when it came time to up the ante for the next game in the series Robot Entertainment had one simple answer: bring it online. The result is Orcs Must Die! Unchained, a brutally fun and challenging online experience.

Orcs Must Die! Unchained has two online teams facing off against one another, as each side sends in wave after wave of orcs, trolls, wolves, and other monsters into enemy territory. As it is in the first two games you set up traps to slow down the enemy forces, and then hope that the end result will be that only a few manage to get through so you can take them out with better ease. Normally when playing Orcs Must Die! I’m used to setting up traps and then sitting back to watch the carnage unfold before my very eyes. What I didn’t count on in Unchained, though, is how much I found myself on my toes throughout the entire play through.

During my hands-on experience with the game I was given the chance to play two rounds, one for each side of the fighting forces. On the Heroes’ side I played as Hogarth, who would wield his mighty axe to slay the mightiest (and even not-so-mightiest) of beasts that try to charge into your territory. Of course the brute strength compensates with how slow the character maneuvers. Fortunately if I take too much damage I have the ability to transport myself back to the home base so as to heal myself up. On my second play through I was given the character of Stinkeye, who could use his wizardly powers to attack his foes. I could also set up special beacons that, when shot at, could deal damage to creatures in all directions.

At the start of each round my team set up the traps near the entrances so as to slow down the enemy. Soon after we ran to the gate to set up our forces to send into the other side’s territory. As the round progressed, and the more coins you earn, the more powerful the monsters you can send into battle. Of course, the same is said about your opponents, meaning that throughout the round’s duration there’s no time to rest on your laurels. As soon as one wave ends, another begins, and when more than one comes hurtling towards you then tough decisions must be made: do you spend your cash on better waves or do you use them for more traps. While the latter sounds the more reasonable I found that that it wasn’t usually the case, as my bad choices wound up having me lose both rounds in the end.

Despite victory not being in my grasp Orcs Must Die! Unchained is so far tons of fun to play. While it may have been better to be able to chat with my other players so as to form a better strategy (which, at a con, is easier said than done) the cooperation that my teammates had with one another was very nicely balanced. Normally I’m not the type to play F2P games, but considering my love for Orcs Must Die! I may find myself jumping deeply into this one.

Orcs Must Die! Unchained is due for official release later this year. Those interested in signing up for the beta can do so via the official website.

An accomplished music, anime, and video game critic, Evan Bourgault has been a Contributing Editor and Podcast host with ElectricSistaHood since 2008. His passion for discovering new bands, developers, and Japanese pop culture began in his college radio days and continues on today. Follow Evan on Twitter at twitter.com/King_Baby_Duck

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