The tower defense genre is breathing raggedly and its heart is only primarily kept pumping through flash games, the mobile phone platforms and little else. Dedicated tower defense games outside of the flash game platform are relatively difficult to find. However, Orcs Must Die 2 combines all the fun of endless tower defense with first person shooter elements.
I'll admit, I am a little late to the plate on this one. This game released in August of 2012 and the original Orcs Must Die released in October 2011. However, I happened upon it on Steam and for $10 dollars who could say no to what looked like an interesting game.
The story in Orcs Must Die 2 is simple. It is simple enough that even those that have not played the first game can understand it. After closing the rifts that allowed endless streams of Orcs through in the first game, the hero simply known as War Mage has taken up the job of being a miner. However, the duct tape like seals that patched up the rifts were not enough to hold the rifts shut and now the Orcs have broken through again. This time War Mage teams up with the not-so-evil-anymore Sorceress from the previous game for some hardcore orc slaying. To sum up the plot of this game, it is essentially kill everything
This isn't exactly something you play for the award-winning story. What really draws you into this game is the game play. Your hero can equip weapons like the close up and personal power of the bladestaff or Dwarven hammer or long ranged weapons like a wand or a blunderbuss. These help you fight off the waves of different enemies. However what really helps quell the writhing masses is the variety of traps. With the completion of levels, you are awarded orc-shaped skulls as a currency to upgrade your weapons, traps, minions, and items. Which can keep you playing the game to try out all the different upgrade for a long while, as there are a large variety of things to upgrade. If you played the first game, you will be pleasantly surprised at the new amount of traps, minions, and items.
Whereas the first game had around 20-something different traps to choose from, Orcs Must Die 2 has around 50 different traps and items to help keep the Orc men down. They have everything from spring loaded arrows and spikes that poke from the floor to the comical spring trap that flings enemies into lava or over the edge of cliffs. I could not count the times that I let an Orc or two get past me because I was busy watching others be flung into oblivion. Those are just a small amount of the many different traps and their upgrades. You can place haymakers that come down from the ceiling in a torrent of death, or stroll into battle with paladins, archers, and dwarven fighters at your back.
What makes this sequel better than the original game is the multiplayer. The game is fun when played by yourself, but it has an expiration date. One can only have so much fun in the story mode and the endless assault mode before there is really nothing else to do. However, when played with a friend the fun is renewed. When played with a friend, you can reach much higher levels and maybe learn a thing or two about different traps your really never tried out. Though to be honest, a lot of the co-op is less about teamwork and more about splitting up and creating your own personal hallways of deaths. However, maybe I am just a bad team mate.
Anyway, the graphics of this game keep things simple and clean. The character designs and backgrounds are cartoony and clean which matches the somewhat cheesy and cartoony feel of the whole game. The orcs are diverse and the different kinds come with various strengths and weaknesses that are not difficult to remember once you get in the groove. Sadly though, where the first game had beautiful castle interiors and scenery, in the sequel many of the levels happen in dreary mineshafts that for the most part, look a little too similar to each other. Luckily there is a classic mode where you can replay the maps from the first game with all the fun tools from the second. That was a slice of fried gold by the developers to help excuse the lack of level design.
The major complaint that everyone seems to have is the audio for the game. It is not that it is bad, it is just that it is repetitive. The little catch phrases that the characters say like the Sorceresses "Why so serious?" is funny at first, but after rounds and rounds of hearing them, I can see how they could grate on the nerves. The music is also repetitive. The metal sound track the signifies the starting of the round loops throughout play and it can easily get stuck right in your head if played for long enough. Thankfully, it does come with the option to turn the volume down or off. Trust me, you will need to turn the volume down. The game developers thought it would be a bang up idea to make the volume as loud as they possibly could so it deafens through headphones and wakes the dead through speakers.
Orcs Must Die 2
Overall, this game is not the perfect game, but all the flaws with it can be forgiven because it is just too darn fun. For $10 dollars on Steam I highly recommend it. Especially if you are into gaming with a loved one, it is a fun game on your own but a fantastic game with a friend. The game has tons of replayability between two characters with different play styles, a variety of traps you can upgrade and use, and several different modes. Orcs Must Die 2 is a cheap game that is literally weeks of fun. It's a breath of fresh air into the stale gaming scene of late.