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Not all games are created equal. The sad truth of it is
that some are just less fun than others. It happens.
Thank god Orcs Must Die! 2 isn't one of those. This game
is a knock-down, drag-out, deliriously metal fiesta of death. Everything about it
is fun. Killing orcs, defending an objective, setting brutal traps, and being a
murderous badass are all exciting. Hell, even the title menu has cool dramatic
When you think about it, Orcs Must Die! is a conceptual
slam dunk. It combines two genres (tower defense and third-person action) into
one better package. The two gameplay styles perfectly balance one another.
Tower defense games are too passive. You put down your traps, you sit there,
and you wait. Woo freaking hoo. Action games can lack complexity. Killing bad
guys is great and all, but there's no strategy. Combining the two is what makes
Orcs Must Die! 2 so much fun.
It helps that developer Robot Entertainment did
everything else right as well. The story is simplistic but effective. The
soundtrack is perfect for getting you pumped up. When you hear those metal
instrumentals, you're ready for slaughter. You know, I'm just shocked that Orcs
Must Die! isn't used as an example of video games being art.
Sarcasm aside, Orcs Must Die! 2 is a well-made game. The
running tension between setting traps and managing the flow of bad guys is
challenging and fun. The game can be punishing (especially on Nightmare), but
the feeling you get from racking up a Stalinesque kill count is worth it. When
everything clicks, you feel like an orc-slaying badass.
When it doesn't click, expect some frustration. I got
annoyed with certain levels that featured simultaneous waves of bad guys at
opposite ends of the arena. Even the best-placed traps can't guarantee a 100%
kill rate, which means I have to run back and forth cleaning up stragglers.
Don't force me to play co-op if I don't want to, damn it.
Killing stragglers is easy considering the weapons you
wield. I played as a brawny shotgun-wielding War Mage. Default attacks (like firing
the shotgun) are unlimited. Special attacks and gems require recharging mana
points. Certain weapons take only mana but have their uses. The Fire Bracers
are especially helpful after you've put some skulls into upgrading them.
This sequel offers some replayability with a new
character. The villain from the last game, the Sorceress, is now playable with unique
weapons and abilities. I tried playing as her and changed back immediately.
That shotgun is too good to go without. The rest of the replayability comes
from aiming for higher scores and trying to survive as long as possible on
Level design complaints aside, Orcs Must Die! 2 is one of
the most fun games I've played recently. There's something special about
killing thousands of orcs to the tune of a kickass metal soundtrack. If you
don't find that fun... well, you're beyond helping.
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