"Piles of Orcs, Piles of Frustration"
Orcs Must Die! 2 is one of those games that the message across. Those orcs really just need to die, and you and one other friend this time around are the ones that are going to have to do it. With the original game, there is some sort of story going on, but it really doesn't matter unless you really care about that sort of thing. For a generation of gaming that is missing tower defense style games, Orcs Must Die! 2 did a really good job of filling that niche void. Unfortunately, it really didn't do a good enough job to bring me back to wanting more with it.
While the game is single-player and has a co-op component to it, many of the levels feel like they are not at all balanced for single player versus cooperative. For those unfamiliar with the first game, however, you take control of a character from a 3rd person perspective and apply traps to floors, walls, and ceilings to deal with those pesky orcs. You're put right into the thick of combat, and the need to kill orcs becomes expedient with how the game has been layed out.
Getting into some problems with the mechanics, it became apparent that some levels were insanely hard to beat by myself and forced me to seek out another person to play said levels when I should have been allowed to play alone. This is a major complaint that exists in games these days, and Orcs Must Die! 2, despite being a bit old at this point, is no exception. The game, like the first, has a steep learning curve that requires levels to be replayed as you don't know which enemies will show up in latter waves, but those maddening moments are amplified by the inability to simply play alone. The nice thing, however, is that both the original character and the new co-op character, The Sorcerous from the first game, have their own sets of traps and weapons, which is nice to see. There are definitely new traps and weapons for the original character, but it isn't enough to keep you interested more than maybe one playthrough and a few other clean-up attempts on missed levels.
Graphics in Orcs Must Die! 2 are on par with the original game. There is nothing particularly amazing, and it has the same cartoony feel. The commentary associated with and between the two characters can be quite humorous, but isn't anything to make you want to kill orcs any more than you would have before. Coupled with this is the music, which can be entertaining at best, but isn't anything spectacular enough to bring you tears. All of these components are simply middle of the road and relatively boring.
In addition to the cooperative mode mentioned above and the classic mode, Orcs Must Die! 2 has added an Endless mode where each wave of orcs becomes stronger and bigger than the last. While this definitely amplifies the ability to replay this game, it really doesn't feel that is enough to really invest someone more than a week or two with this game. Endless mode is a lot of fun and definitely encourages you to play with other people, which seems like the intent of this game.
Overall, Orcs Must Die! 2 is a fun, quirky game that is satisfying at most every turn. Sadly, it falls short with the ability to play a balanced first-person game, and it lacks real replayability. The maps are all really similar, and that, combined with the frustration that comes from not knowing what's about to come your way, can really dampen your spirits. Very few things, however, are as satisfying as slaughtering countless orcs with arrow walls and spike traps, let alone hot coals, but it really offers little more than the original game did. The additions are nice and welcome, and they make it feel like a new game, but there's nothing really different that makes it worth buying over the first.
While I've been negative about Orcs Must Die! 2, it is definitely worth its cost, or you can wait for some sort of sale to buy. It's nothing innovative or new in the world of games or tower defense at this point, but it's definitely worth its weight in gold or piles of dead orcs.
GameDynamo's Score for Orcs Must Die! 2 (PC)
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