The first Orcs Must Die! came out in 2011, only a year ago, and it is a singleplayer game that gives you control of an unnamed war mage that must defend the magic rifts from legions of orcs. You do this by putting down many different types of traps, using spells, wielding ranged and melee weapons, and by summoning guardians to your side. You can also upgrade all of your traps with skulls, which were basically upgrade points. You earn skulls based on your performance on any given level. Orcs Must Die! 2 improves upon all of that by adding more traps, more customization options for every spell, trap and guardian, and by allowing you to customize your character for the first time. Most importantly though, you can now play through the game with a friend and it is a blast. Orcs Must Die! 2 (OMD2) officially comes out today, July 30th, on Steam only and for PC.
OMD2 is not nearly as short as the first game because of its three modes: classic, endless and story. All three modes have different difficulties, like the first game, and each difficulty will give you a chance to earn more skulls on top of the bonus skulls. It takes about five hours to get through the game on War Mage, which is basically medium difficulty, and the other two modes have quite a few levels to get through. It is plausible that getting through all of the maps, on all three modes on the War Mage difficulty, would take about fifteen hours. So if you want to go through the game on the hardest difficulty it will obviously take quite a bit longer than that, plus most people will want to play the game with each character.
Each character in OMD2 is an actual character that you can name and customize. There isn't a lot of customization you can do other than traps, weapons, trinkets and spells, but there are outfits you can earn and purchase with skulls. You can play as the War Mage from the first game, who is still pompous, arrogant and often hilarious, and you can now play as the Sorceress, who has a very different personality. For the most part you can use the same traps, equipment and spells no matter who you play, except for the first three items/traps that each character starts with. The Sorceress has her unique wand that is long range, quick, powerful and can charm enemies for a short period of time, while the War Mage has a blunderbuss that blows enemies apart at close range and can also scatter groups with an explosive shot. He also has his classic arrow trap and tar/ooze floor trap, while she has an acid wall and an ice floor trap. There is also a polymorph ring that is available only to the sorceress and a dwarven hammer available only for the War Mage, but everything else is open to each character.
If you are a die hard fan of the first OMD then you may be disappointed by the selection of traps and equipment, for many of them are from the first game and were merely changed to accommodate the new upgrade system that lets you improve various parts of each trap. Thankfully each trap has unique qualities and can be make them feel new again. The new traps are pretty interesting, like the boulder chute that drops crushing rocks upon a decent sized area, or the void wall that destroys anything that touches it. While a lot of the equipment is the same, it does feel fresh due to the new upgrade system and just how much there is to earn or purchase. They made it really easy to familiarize yourself with everything and to be able to put together some efficient combinations. You also don't have to worry about bumping heads with your fellow player over who should use certain equipment/traps. There is so much available and so many ways to kill orcs that it is easy, and better, to use different traps that complement each other in some way.
|Many a orc fell to this mighty hall of death|
Playing through OMD2 alone is quite a bit different than playing co-op. Each level scales to how many players there are, as it should, and you see harder enemies a lot earlier on in multiplayer. Singleplayer is still a good deal of fun, but co-op feels like the ideal experience and I've found it tough to go back to playing by myself. Playing through a fairly long, fifteen wave level, is a lot more entertaining when you are working together with someone. I appreciate that they made singleplayer a bit less difficult on the War Mage difficulty. Now that you have a greater variety of equipment and traps at your disposal, there aren't as many situations where you feel like the enemies are everywhere and you just cannot possibly manage it, especially on some of the larger levels that have enemies coming from four different directions. The guardians units are also your best friends in singleplayer, especially when you have some trusty bomb throwing dwarves behind barricades holding ogres at bay, plus there is still the deadly combination of paladins and archers with flaming arrows.
Technically I've had not a single problem with OMD2, everything runs well, smoothly, with a high framerate and multiplayer has been flawless. The interface and design of multiplayer is intuitive and doesn't clutter up the screen in the slightest. The mechanics and general goal of the game are exactly the same as the first game, which is fine because there is nothing wrong with it what so ever, but if you are hoping that they are providing a new experience then don't look here. Multiplayer certainly feels different on its own, but this is still the same tower defense game that you may have loved last year. There is a lot of content here, many improvements, new enemies, a few new environments, more story and so very much to enjoy. I only hope that Robot Entertainment takes a bit longer on the next installment and decides to make the experience feel entirely fresh once again. For $15 there are a great many games that are far less worthy of your time and money.
Violent Score: 4 (out of 5)
If you are interested in OMD2 try the demo on Steam! It even lets you play co-op.
Main Website: http://www.robotentertainment.com/games/omd2
Steam Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/201790/
-Written by Sean Cargle