Not even a year after the launch of the original tower defence title, Orcs Must Die!, comes the sequel to the critically acclaimed, comedic strategy game. It’s just as funny as the last, and just as fun, but does it bring anything to the game that warrants a £10 put-down rather than a DLC pack at a fraction of the price?
It’s hard to deny the rise of Tower Defence in recent years. Browser based versions quickly became the norm for school students and bored office dwellers to turn to during any moment their superior wasn’t setting up camp on their right shoulder. Soon after, the genre was everywhere. Though last year’s release of Orcs Must Die came as a surprise to quickly mix the standard top-down tower management gameplay on its head.
With the release of Orcs Must Die! 2 you can, again, play rounds of gore filled, cel-shaded, “trap” defence while runnings and gunning down the remaining monsters with a musket. For years now developed have been adding odd little twists to the TD formula, or merely adding a cutesy visual presentation or the smooth voice of a stereotypical – albeit charming – British gentleman. But we can easily agree that adding a Winchester into the fray of Orc smashing wall grinders and brimstone floor tiles really kicks up the excitement of saving the world through genocide of a grotesque race.
A fairly lengthy campaign mode brings a long list of optimised maps for each scenario. In them you’ll be pitted against the ever increasing hordes of orcs and their many variants including flying poison hurling bile bats, speedy kobolds and brick-like regenerative trolls. The difference here is each map should be examined extensively prior to starting a hellish endless wave match. Else you’re going to end up with a 1-metre range wall grinder in a 5-metre wide corridor. I tried that, realised my error, placed spring traps to bounce the orcs into the grinders. I felt like a warlord executing the perfect strategy until I noticed orcs simply bouncing onto the ledge above instead. You have a limited number of traps to choose from out of the huge range available, so make sure you choose wisely before you go letting those monsters out through the void.
While the campaign of Orcs Must Die! 2 continues the events of the first game, it isn’t really something you’re going to become heavily engaged in. You won’t be fearing the virtual outcome of failing in your job as an old man’s Orc slaying apprentice, you’ll just become sad at the fact that you didn’t get to shoot that slimy scraggler in the face and bump your career kill count up a digit. Story isn’t important here, it’s just an excuse for the comedic one-liners give you a quick chuckle.
With a tower defence game mixed up with a third person shooter at a much increased pace, Orcs Must Die! 2 doesn’t do a whole lot more than its predecessor, but then again, it doesn’t really need to. With so many campaign missions, co-op play, endless mode, 3 difficulties and a lot of unlockable goodies to spice the gameplay up another notch. You’re obviously going to enjoy Orcs Must Die! 2 if you enjoyed the original. But if you spent countless hours playing Dungeon Defenders with friends while the rest played the original, it’s only going to make you miss the more hectic gameplay of Dungeon Defenders. For you others, it’s going to be hard to push you away from grabbing another slice of orc mashing fun.
Gameplay – 4/5: Senseless killing and smashing skulls with a ceiling mounted spike crusher never gets old. It offers a very different approach to standard TD games yet hinders itself with its grid layout system. While it undoubtedly makes it more accessible for new player, it essentially limits the amount of thought needed to execute the perfect strategy.
Replay value – 3/5: You can dive right into a game in little under 10 seconds and do endless runs to pile up the skulls to extend the strategy of the following games. You have every reason to play way past the end of the campaign.
Innovation – 2/5: It’s a sequel to a game that already did things differently. If you liked what it did in the first place, you’re going to like it now. It isn’t much different, but at the same time you probably don’t want it to be different.
Graphics – 4/5: Orcs Must Die! 2 is a bloody mess, in a good way, the soundtrack isn’t going to be boosting the mood of senseless killing, but the perfect blend of cartoon violence and animations leaves satisfaction with every blood spill. The perfect frame rate only makes it easier to enjoy.
Final Score: 3.5/5