Orcs Must Die! PC Review

Author: Dany Argueta
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/s/orcs_must_die/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

Robot Entertainment is taking a stab at the tower defense genre with Orcs Must Die! and their effort is nothing short of entertaining; hordes of orcs, ogres, and other nasty beasts are threatening to invade the human world and the only person who can stop these monsters is the comically incompetent apprentice of a deceased War Mage. 

Kill 'em all!

Your hero is equipped with a magical crossbow, though this alone won’t be enough to take down huge orc hordes. The main line of defense against invaders is a variety of traps you deploy that can hurt and kill these brainless goons. At first you’re just given simple spike and arrow wall traps, but once you save up a good amount of gold and unlock new contraptions, you'll be laying down gauntlet-like setups that stop orc hordes in their tracks. It’s satisfying and amusing to see the brutes go down from your scheming.

Don’t assume your orc-slaying job will always be easy. After a couple of stages, you’ll have to deal with orcs coming in from multiple entrances or spreading out across wide open areas. The first few waves at the start of every level are probably the most hectic parts of the game since you’ll often have very few traps to work with until you can save up for more. It’s a little discouraging to not perform as well as you’d like, however, you can always replay previous levels with new traps you’ve unlocked. If you’re the sort who thinks Orcs isn't hard enough, have a go with Nightmare difficulty where hordes come nonstop and you must set up traps on the fly.

Upgrades and Skills

Over the course of Orcs, you can upgrade your traps and purchase temporary skills for your War Mage that last for a round. Upgrades are helpful since they can decrease the cost of purchasing certain traps or inflict some sort of detrimental effect on the orcs. War Mage skills can buff your hero with HP regeneration, extra weapon strength, and other nice boosts, yet it’s kind of hard justifying purchasing skills since they’re very pricey and you can manage without them. It’s best to spend gold on skills that improve traps and NPCs since your score largely depends on them.

PC Features and Performance

Orcs is surprisingly light on PC features, offering only settings for toggling V-sync, MSAA, and changing screen resolution. Unfortunately, I must give a strike against Orcs for not allowing custom key bindings oor flipping the controls for left-handed users, as some will definitely prefer using custom bindings they’re more comfortable with.

On a Core i7 Q740 and 5700m at 1280x720 resolution, Orcs runs an average 40fps without MSAA or V-Sync  -- not the smoothest experience but not unplayable either. Even in situations where tons of enemies and traps are on-screen, it manages to keep a steady framerate.

Final Thoughts

Despite lacking some basic PC features, Orcs Must Die! is very fun and offers plenty of replay value. The freedom to come up with any trap layout you want means you’ll be busy with figuring out how to kill off greenskins in the best manner possible for a high score on the leaderboards. Additional download content in the future could mean even more levels or traps are in the pipeline. PC users should definitely pick up Orcs Must Die! at their earliest convenience.


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