Wot I Think: Orcs Must Die 2

By Alec Meer on July 27th, 2012 at 10:00 pm.

Perhaps the pack-leader of the recent ‘do x to fantasy/sci-fi staple y’ game name trend, Robot Entertainment’s Orcs Must Die was a giddy, gory carnival of greenskin slaughter in a tower defence meets Diablo kind of way. A mere nine months later, we get the sequel. Can such cheekiness be justified? You have two ways of potentially finding out before you buy it. A) play this here free demo. B) Read the collection of typed symbols below.


For a certain period when I was young, you’d be hard pushed to come up with four words more exciting than ‘Oh No More Lemmings.’ The first sequel to Lemmings – and confusingly also available as an expansion for the original – seemed to promise untold pleasures for myself and legions of similarly school-age Lemmings fans. It would be greatest cultural event of our lifetimes, surely.

It was just some more levels for Lemmings. Most of them were too bloody hard, to boot. Even its title seemed to be mocking me/us when we finally laid hands on that precious floppy disc. Yet those four words remain lodged in my head, a constant reminder of briefly being so terribly excited by the prospect as more. Orcs Must Die 2 isn’t quite as guilty of milking the tried and tested as ONML, but I do have a bit of a problem with that number 2 (stop laughing at the back) it so proudly sports.

It looks the same. It plays primarily the same. Most infuriatingly, it sounds the same – I quickly had to turn off music I’d already heard a hundred times over just a few months ago. OMD2 is OMD, but with knobs on. I don’t entirely object to sequels doing that, but as with Left 4 Dead 2 a while back it simply feels a little too soon to do it all over again. In terms of writing down my thoughts about the game… well, I already did that nine months ago. It feels like I’m wasting my time and yours to describe how it works all over again. So I’m going to try and do it 10 words or less, then we can move on to what’s new and different. Agreed? Tough luck, I’m going to do it anyway.

Extremely sadistic orc-based tower defence meets action-RPG.

Nine words! That’ll do, pig.

So, that hasn’t changed. You’re doing very much the same things as you did in OMD1, with the key difference being a) a second playable character, a semi-evil female warmage with a few traps distinct to her and b) that there’s much more flexibility of play-style and upgrade path. You’ll quickly end up with a more specialised build than in OMD1, and by and large the maps are slightly more flexible in terms of how you beat them. There’s more emphasis on earning ‘skulls’ to spend on unlocking new traps, weapons and trinkets, and in turn upgrading them. Each trap/weapon/trinket has its own mini tech-tree, so you’ll upgrade them in order to better complement your other preferred tools rather than just given them generic improvements.

For instance, you might want your floor-mounted spike trap to have a slow effect so that there’s more chance of Orcs getting caught in the acid sprayers on the walls, or perhaps you’d rather than caused bleeding damage over time so that the orcs are weakened by the time they reach you and your amped-up weapon. Or, in my case, an amulet that temporarily turns me into a hulking Frost Troll who can biff the faces right off anything that comes near with my mighty club.

Everything in OMD2 happens at over-caffeinated speed, so it didn’t take long at all to identify which traps/powers and the associated strategy most suited my playstyle. My playstyle is probably best described as ‘quite lazy’, so I tended to shun the more elaborate, thoughtful Mousetrap setups (such as spring-loaded floorboards or what looks like a rotating hatstand that can hurl unfortunate orcs into a wall-mounted dark void to nowhere) in favour of quick’n’dirty alternatives. Specifically, legions of static Elven archers picking off greenskins at range while they simultaneously got sprayed with acid, pulped by metal plates from above and gouged/slowed by spikes underneath. Whatever made it through all that found me with my Frost Troll hat on waiting for them.

Good times. Thousands died. My strategy mostly worked out, apart from when it really, really didn’t, which in turn led to my being far more thoughtful about trap efficiency and carefully watching the orcs’ various routes around the map in order to identify choke points and weak spots. After two games, I feel I’m pretty good at this lark by now. I’m probably not of course, but the question is whether I truly do want to keep on having a new extremely familiar experience in the hope of becoming truly expert.

Because, like its predecessor, OMD2 is really about the game beyond the game. Once the too-short, anti-climactic campaign is completed, the idea is you go back in and play the levels at a higher difficulty, as well as playing the survival ‘Endless’ mode and the maps from the first game, included as ‘Classic’ Mode. There are always more Skulls to earn, and more Skulls mean more traps, weapons trinkets and their associated upgrades. It’s that compulsion loop we know so well, where you seek more and better stuff so that you can beat more of the game so you can get more and better stuff so you can beat more of the game so, yeah, we all know that story inside-out, right?

All this sounds a bit down on the game, which isn’t a fair reflection of my feelings about it. It is superior to its predecessor, primarily by dint of having more stuff and far more flexibility of character build. If you’ve played neither game, go straight to this one – I do recommend Orcs Must Die games, it’s just that I consider 1 & 2 as two sides of the same coin rather than distinct entities. While there has been welcome and enthusiastic tinkering under the hood, it looks, sounds and feels so very similar.

The other major exception to this quasi-lamentation is the new co-op mode. It’s two-player and there’s no auto-matchmaking or sever-finding, so if you don’t have a Steam chum with OMD2 you’re out of luck. It’s a shot in the arm for this action-tower defence game for sure though, with each player able to use a reasonably generous amount of their unlocked traps rather than being cruelly restricted in the name of balance, and it adds a gleeful power-trip aspect when you’re each able to mark different sides of the map rather than it being about one person sprinting from end to end like some kind of gruesome tennis.

Unfortunately not much has been done to the UI to cater for this mode, so for instance there are no warnings when the other player is in trouble and no way to compare intended trap rosters outside of tediously listing them in voice comms. What you get is the single player game and UI but with another orc-killer dashing about the place. Co-op’s a good time and a strong, natural addition, but it does seem a little perfunctory.

That said, a companion is all but vital to beating the bigger maps on the highest difficulty, but I didn’t have much problem soloing my way through the campaign on Medium, aka Warmage. It asked a more tactical approach of me, rather than overwhelmed me, and I’d urge you to play the game that way rather than the far too easy Apprentice.

I am acutely conscious this is all said from the perspective of someone who played OMD1 extensively. If you didn’t, I’d recommend this to you with little hesitation. It does share its predecessor’s sins as well as it’s successes, which means repetitive and somewhat annoying speech and music, a puddle-deep plot and an expanded but still small pool of enemy types. There are forgiveable in the face of the game’s excitable, over-the-top tone and high-speed play. By being that much more flexible in its range of traps and powers OMD2 just about justifies its rapid arrival, but if Robot try the same trick a third time I’ll be Frost Trolling up and having stern words with them.

Orcs Must Die 2 is out now.

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84 Comments »

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  1. Belsameth says:

    No, it’s not. 30 juli… :)

  2. Chap O says:

    “Extremely sadistic orc-based tower defence meets action-RPG.

    Nine words!”

    I count that as seven words.

    • Chap O says:

      Not including the “nine words!” bit, obviously. Then it would be nine words.

    • Premium User Badge

      lurkalisk says:

      Am I the only one counting five?

      • Tei says:

        My trick to count words is to count spaces then add one. Try it, .. result 9 words.

        My method always work because the way you define what is a space is the way you define what is a word.

        • Faxmachinen says:

          There are six spaces in “Extremely sadistic orc-based tower defence meets action-RPG”. I suppose you mean to count the number of contiguities of non-word characters bounded by word characters, in which case there would be eight.
          I’ll counter that by proposing that “RPG” can be spelled “R.P.G.”, which makes your algorithm agree with my count (IE eleven words).

        • bill says:

          Extremelysadisticorc-basedtowerdefencemeetsaction-RPG

  3. aliksy says:

    I’m really excited about this game. Considering that I got the original for like $5, and this one is like $15 new, I don’t have a problem with a rapid release schedule.

    Also, the idea of playing small co-op games like this with strangers boggles my mind, and gives me the willies. Ugh. PUGs. The worst! I guess I’m lucky I have a small group of like-minded friends.

    • nibbling_totoros says:

      What I love about this series is the amount of content/fun you get for the price you pay. $5 for the original and $15 for the second is a great deal.

      • DK says:

        Not only do you get an insanely polished game with a ton of content for little money, if you have the first one and the second one you can PLAY THE MAPS FROM THE FIRST ONE WITH THE ITEMS TRAP SPELLS AND COOP FROM OMD2!

        How is that not the greatest thing ever.

  4. LionsPhil says:

    But does it actually bother to do the maze-building part of tower defence yet?

    ‘Cause the demo of the first one didn’t, and according to a friend espousing its virtues, walls only show up late-game and are stupidly expensive.

    • Chris D says:

      Walls showed up after about 5 levels and are priced quite reasonably so long as you think about where you want to put them and not just spam them everywhere.

      • BioSnark says:

        They were priced appropriately for how powerful they were. I can’t remember ever not taking and relying on barricades after getting them. I have no idea how the multispawn maps could be done on hard without them.

        Very sad not being able to maze build in dungeon defenders after finishing omd1.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      They show up in like the 4th level in the first one, but they are prohibitively expensive.

      The only time they’re easily cost effective is on levels with split routes that can be merged into 1 with 1 or 2 barricades at choke points.

      They also had an annoying habbit of getting smashed in seconds if you stand too near them and the orcs hit them as well as you.

      • Chris D says:

        Pick a nice narrow corridor section. Drop down about four barricades to force them into an S shape. Add, say, wall blades on one side and pusher on another, maybe some tar to slow them down. Not very much is going to get past that. If you can add ceiling traps as well then nothing will.

        If barricades were cheaper they’d be way overpowered.

        • LionsPhil says:

          So that sounds to me like there’s not much mazebuilding, then, because if you could build mazes the game would break.

          • Chris D says:

            You can’t turn the level into a giant maze, no. But you can have small but perfectly formed gauntlets of death.

            What I think you need to take into account is that it’s not a pure tower defence game, in that you’re placing traps rather than all towers of some type. Which means you can concentrate a high amount of deadliness in a small space. Also most enemies are comparatively squishy. There isn’t so much need to wage a long war of attrition as there is in, say, Defence Grid.

            It depends what you like I guess. If it’s purely huge mazes you’re into then you might be better off with something else, but if it’s turning the environment into an elaborate machine of death then OMD more than has you covered.

    • aliksy says:

      I don’t mind that walls don’t get a lot of use. More opportunity for launching orcs into acid pits. The (first) game made really good use of physics.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Walls are expensive but critical. You don’t build mazes with them, you build choke points that kill masses and masses of enemies. A maze is generally overkill when a four square area can kill nearly infinite amounts of enemies. The trick is making that area and then killing the specials.

      Later on in the game exploding kobolds show up that can break your walls, which should give you an idea of how important they are. I think they just don’t get credit because some people prefer the more expensive paladins, which work nicely with elven archers, but in the end I think they are actually the more powerful option.

      One or two levels do actually allow you to use wall mazes, like the aptly named killing fields, but generally the game is more about careful placement of traps than slowing down enemies. I like it because it makes me feel more involved and doesn’t waste my time.

      • Metonymy says:

        A single wall at a choke allows you to place ~3 tar pits. Consecutive tar pits + fireball is extremely efficient, especially if you can shoot from the side.

        All the original items are present, so using the ice shotgun to handle bigger problems is still strong. Wind belt is still godlike if you don’t mind losing a skull to a slow completion time.

        They definitely didn’t improve on the underlying game design. It’s still just doom gameplay (which I approve of) with trap placement to mitigate the enemy progress. Just based on the 2 levels that are available, arrow traps and tar pits still look like the best choice in nearly all cases.

      • KDR_11k says:

        In Total Biscuit’s WTF the suicide bombers showed up at the same time as the barricades themselves in OMD2.

  5. Tei says:

    For me, the better strategy in OMD1 is to put a lot of archers with a guardian in the front, them spam the area with arrows walls, and more archers, more archers, another guardian, more archers. And wen the game say that I can’t place more of my minions, I start placing sniper ceil towers. Or spiker floor, or maybe some crusher wall in corridors.

    I use to be a fan of the trap that launch enemies to the air, but you rarely have a map where this is the best strategy.

    • InternetBatman says:

      That’s an effective strategy that works every time but its generally lower scoring and terribly money inefficient. In essence, it brute forces the way through the game. Wall-Tar Trap-Mace is one of the cheaper strategies at 5100 (enough for 3 knights 4 archers). If you want to go higher scoring you do spike-tar-vent-grinder-archer and then some more.

      • Tei says:

        I have not cared for Hi-Score since 1982 or something. Mass-murdering orcs!, thats something I can respect.

  6. Moraven says:

    I liked my pendulum mace, knockdown side into a grinder on the other wall with spike traps in the middle. As they enter the maze they are met with either slow ooze or burning embers on their feet. Add in archers in the back with maybe a guardian for any that got through. Freeze/Stun for additional combo and time for traps to reset.

  7. Moraven says:

    With a sequel out so quick it reminds me Deathspank. Lower budget games that are fun and get more content in a year.

    Wish there was additional music.

    • bfandreas says:

      And OMD1 was by no means short or oversimplified.
      Makes one wonder if most production cost nowadays goes into cinematic cutscenes and voice acting. Small wonder indies have been stinking the AAA parade.
      It’s a good time to be a gamer.

    • Dominic White says:

      There is new music. There’s all the old tracks in there, but a bunch of new ones, too. They’re just in similar style to the original.

    • Gilead says:

      I’m actually pleased that the sequel includes the music from the original in addition to new tracks, because it means that soundtrack Steam has available for purchase on the OMD2 page probably has the original music on it, which is something I’ve wanted since I bought the game.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    OMD 1 was easily one of my favourite games of last year so pre-ordering this was a no-brainer.

    What this game really needs though, is a map editor. Let the community make more maps!

  9. Suits says:

    Not having matchmaking sounded so awkward when i first heard it… still does.

  10. SkittleDiddler says:

    I really have to question the decision to release another so soon after the first came out. Aside from a few positive changes that hardly justify this kind of rapid-fire release schedule, would I have been better off paying full price for the newest one or did I get a better deal buying the first in a complete package yesterday for $4? The answer’s pretty obvious.

    • Premium User Badge

      beekay says:

      Considering that the original was very cheap, short, and fun, and this one looks to be equally cheap, fun and possibly short, it’s hardly milking you for your last shiny pennies. This is like complaining about having to pay 7 dollars to unlock everything in an indie bundle.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        So Orcs Must Die 2 is not the blatant cash grab I thought it was? Sorry, my mistake.

        • caddyB says:

          I would also think that it was, but I’ve preordered as soon as I watched TB’s WTF is. It is more of the same in a way that it’s still the same game but improved in every way. And the first was great, great fun.

          They just need matchmaking and it would be perfect.

        • nibbling_totoros says:

          What you claim can be applied to every FPS out on the market right now.

          Except Robot is only charging $15 for new maps, new characters, new upgrades, and new traps.

          Sequels are meant to improve on existing titles, not introducing huge-sweeping changes that disenfranchise the original fans of the game.

          Especially considering that fact that most people will have gotten the original game on sale and probably this sequel on sale, you’ve spent a total of MAX $20 bucks for a ton of fun content.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            “Except Robot is only charging $15 for new maps, new characters, new upgrades, and new traps.”

            Which the devs could have easily (I’m assuming) applied to the original release, either as an update or a paid DLC. Considering OMD2 is an indie game, charging $15 for that kind of content is a little jarring for some of us.

            I don’t like it when AAA developers do it, so I’m certainly not going to hold an indie dev to a lower standard.

          • Chibithor says:

            @SkittleDiddler But for how little could they have released all this stuff? OMD1 had according to the Steam Store page: 24 maps, 6 weapons/spells, 19 traps/minions and 11 enemies, OMD2 has 50+ traps/weapons/guardians, 20+ enemies, a crapton more upgrades (“more than 225″ compared to OMD1’s 20 or however many there were.) and presumably more maps than the original.

            Even assuming that the traps/enemies/upgrades has everything from OMD1 included it still has much more new content than the original had on release. Add a new character and coop, and I’m not sure if making it DLC for the original would do anything but lower their sales. Note also that OMD1’s price was only recently lowered by 5€/$. OMD2 is the same price as 1 on release.

          • Groove says:

            Well the amount they’re adding certainly wouldn’t be free update territory since it doubles the size of the game AND adds co-op. For paid dlc it would be huge, and it would also be a big deal if classed as an old-school expansion pack (since it’s adding more stuff than was in the original to begin with).

            The most I could really say is maybe they should have reduced the price by a few quid? Apart from that I have a hard time feeling at all cheated by this, given the amount of stuff in it.

      • Choca says:

        I wouldn’t call OMD 2 short to be honest. The campaign is not long (took me around five hours solo, last level is a bitch) but then you have endless (with some exclusive maps), nightmare mode for the campaign and an extra ten maps to replay with extra stuff if you own the first game thanks to classic mode. That’s not that bad for a game that cheap and the new upgrade system keeps you wanting for more skulls to upgrade more stuff.

        I’ve already spent about 15 hours on the game since I got it this week and as soon as my coop buddy gets online I’ll be going straight back to it.

    • Hallgrim says:

      I know, seriously. What kind of indie developers don’t release free DLC that adds co-op and 2x the amount of maps for free? Fucking sellouts.

  11. kevmscotland says:

    Total biscuit and MikeB aka Fony play OMD2

  12. InternetBatman says:

    How many new traps did they add? Acid sprayers sound cool, anything else?

    • Chris D says:

      If you want to see for yourself there’s a demo on steam. Unfortunately you can’t play with too much new stuff yourself but you can read the spellbook.

      Off the top of my head new stuff includes boom barrel dispensers, dwarf guardians, healing walls, void walls and haymakers. New weapons including polymorph ring and bone amulet and blunderbus. There are now trinkets which seem to add passive abilities as well as active effects, and the upgrade system has changed so now each trap can be upgraded in three separate ways and by more than one step for each..

    • Metonymy says:

      The only addition I really liked was placing traps on vertical angled walls, and placing the trap itself at a horizontal angle if it is adjacent to a staircase. Assuming lots of these angled surfaces exist, it breaks up the grid-limited placement of the first game.

  13. Neurotic says:

    Well I played the shit out of the first one, and about 10 seconds into the demo of this one, I knew I’d found my home for the next month or so… I love the ‘story’, and the fact that the villainess from OMD1 is now the anti-hero’s partner in OMD2. Classic stuff.

  14. Jupiah says:

    Hmm, so the gameplay is almost the same but with more stuff and co-op mode, and it even includes the original game’s maps? So the general consensus then is that anyone who hasn’t played the first game should just skip it and start with the second, is that right? I haven’t played the first and am considering buying the sequel.

    • trjp says:

      You could say that – but….

      The original is about 8p right now (including it’s DLC) – so if Co-op doesn’t grab you, perhaps just get that and wait for this to be ‘as cheap’???

    • UncleLou says:

      Think I read somewhere that the maps of the first one only unlock if you actually own the first game as well.

      • Droniac says:

        Correct, it’s stated on both the Steam page and the official website. You need the original game to unlock the classic levels in OMD2.

    • bfandreas says:

      The first one is dirt cheap at the moment. Take a look at Steam and you may find that the complete OMD1 is bundled up with OMD2. If it isn’t at the moment then it will be in the forseable future. But I guess you will not be patient to wait for a dirt chead deal after watching the cookie man making a total pig’s breakfast of it on YT.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXkK4LCO2dg
      It’s what WoW Alliance players think how their last Alterac Valley went :D

    • Choca says:

      The first one is really cheap right now and gives you classic mode in the sequel : an extra ten maps from the first game to rediscover in coop with new traps, monsters, etc.

  15. trjp says:

    I played the original to completion and loved it – I really don’t see why I’d pay for it again tho – I really don’t see what’s new (co-op doesn’t interest me in the slightest).

    We’re looking at a co-op and map-pack addon here at full price aren’t we?

    • PUKED says:

      There’s new weapons, enemies and traps, and the new trap upgrade system they have looks like it could add a lot of variety to the game. But yeah, if you’re not in it for the co-op the new content might be kind of underwhelming.

    • Subatomic says:

      13.50$ is “full price” now? Man, that’s great!

    • nibbling_totoros says:

      You’re paying $15 for an expansion pack basically- and getting more content than the people who pay $50 bucks for every new COD release.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Sinomatic says:

    More maps, co-op, some new enemies and an overhaul of the upgrade system is pretty much exactly what I wanted from a sequel. I may be one of the few who is fairly happy it has come along so soon after the first game.

    I do wonder if it would have been better received had it been called a standalone expansion at the same price point (though I imagine expansions are more easily overlooked than sequels).

  17. alilsneaky says:

    Dang, a review that actually has stuff in it that one would like to know before buying a game.
    Did I time warp back to 1999 where game journalists actually had something to say rather than just cope paste marketing folders and try to explain a game using only the words core, experience and gritty.

    A rare high point, even for rps.

    • Spengbab says:

      Indeed. For a moment, while reading the words in the main article, I actually found myself wondering if I didn’t accidently go to an actual game review site thing. Still, the addressbar is saying something about rockpaper shotguns, so nay. But Im sure we’ll be swimming in articles about Blizzard being the devil, Kickstarter the new Jesus and whatnot soon enough again.

      I did enjoy the original OMD very much, it just didnt have enough content, and only a few truly enjoyable levels, which were way too short. Plus it lacked a survival mode. WHICH KIND OF TD GAME DOES NOT HAVE A SURVIVAL MODE? So, while I didnt read anything about it in the WoT, Im keeping my hopes up.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Don’t worry, soon enough someone will recommend really shit full price games with terrible play due to a “unique take at telling a story” again.

      In all fairness though, I read RPS because getting a person’s OPINION on something is standard here, not pre-spun hype crap or preformatted “ok, now I have to say x, then y, then z”.
      Even if sometimes I’d love to hold someone’s head underwater until they admit to just being wrong about something, I’d rather be here than most elsewhere.

  18. Palindrome says:

    Endless mode alone makes this worth getting. The biggest flaw in the original was that setting up perfect killing grounds took so long that once you managed it the last wave was about to hit.

    Its £12 at full RRP, I can’t really fault that price even if there isn’t much new content (but it looks like there is).

  19. brulleks says:

    “…there’s no auto-matchmaking or sever-finding…”

    I see what you did there, Alec. I’m just not convinced you did ; )

  20. Firkragg says:

    I loved OMD so much when I first saw OMD 2 come up, with co-op as one of its features, I just HAD to preorder 2 copies, one for me and the second for my brother. I expect fun-times to reach critical levels.

  21. RuySan says:

    “the pack-leader of the recent ‘do x to fantasy/sci-fi staple y’ game name trend”

    What about this one?

    http://hol.abime.net/516

  22. Deano2099 says:

    Surely $15 for this as a ‘sequel’ is better value and something that should be applauded?

    In a parallel universe:
    ORCS MUST DIE – FREE CO-OP UDPATE!
    We’ve introduced a new co-op mode, playable on all levels, and free to all users! There’s also some fantastic new DLC:
    Orcs Must Die Mega Map Pack: $10 – Ten all-new maps designed for co-op play for just a dollar each!
    Sorceress Character Pack: $5 – An all new character with some custom traps and weapons!
    Trap Pack: $5 – Add five new traps to your arsenal

    • RegisteredUser says:

      OMD did milk the DLC cow with its own stuff in THIS universe already.

  23. Gilead says:

    They really should have called it ‘More Orcs Must Die!’

    I’ll still be buying it, though. I’ll probably wait for a sale since I did only recently buy the first one and am still playing through it.

  24. nyarlathotep says:

    I’d pay $12 just to watch Nananea’s OMD2 videos. Only way I was able to complete Great Gorge on nightmare.

  25. jha4ceb says:

    Seems like they’ve done a pretty half-hearted job with the co-op. As well as the restrictions mentioned int the article, I’m disappointed that there’s no local splitscreen co-op a la Dungeon Defenders.

  26. MrEvilGuy says:

    Flying creatures!

  27. widardd says:

    Did anyone play OMD and Dungeon Defenders? I spent more than 1000 hrs on the latter one, and wonder wether OMD would still be able to deliver its fun to me.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      I played both. If you played DD for 1000 hrs, then you probably like very, very grindy games, which DD is, and OMD is not. OMD is a “normal grindy” game.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I played OMD and the demo of DD. Hated DD, rather like OMD.
      They play very differently, in my opinion, with OMD being swifter, more agile feeling, but also a lot faster paced from the start.
      Very subjective though, check the demo.

  28. Stephen Roberts says:

    “Because, like its predecessor, OMD2 is really about the game beyond the game. Once the too-short, anti-climactic campaign is completed, the idea is you go back in and play the levels at a higher difficulty, as well as playing the survival ‘Endless’ mode and the maps from the first game, included as ‘Classic’ Mode. There are always more Skulls to earn, and more Skulls mean more traps, weapons trinkets and their associated upgrades. It’s that compulsion loop we know so well, where you seek more and better stuff so that you can beat more of the game so you can get more and better stuff so you can beat more of the game so, yeah, we all know that story inside-out, right?

    I’ve only played Orcs Must Die so I can’t speak for the new game, but I feel it is a little unjust to dismiss this game in such terms. Orcs Must Die is incredibly good fun to play and very satisfying to master. It’s got remarkably variety and every level that you clinch or sail through to get top marks is a great achievement all on it’s own. It only adds to the game that there are further unlocks to add greater power to your armoury. While I am sure Diablo 3 is fun to play, I bet the shine wears off a lot quicker and it becomes almost brazenly apparent that you are playing for a compulsion loop. Not once in all the hours I’ve played Orcs Must Die, not once in all the times I’ve hastily restarted a level due to my own error, not once since the skulls have become nothing more than personal trophies did I feel I was compelled to earn them. I simply loved to play it. Especially when the challenge was high.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I don’t know about Diablo 3, but I know that I would sooner restart new character’s in Path Of Exile than replay a level in OMD.
      Because they are just tedious to me, once done.
      I have also found that I sort of over-optimize each round, thinking there’s still a much more crucial wave to come, only to then realize that that fairly easily managed one was the last one already.
      And then 1-2 levels are completely out of synch with that and I get 2 skulls instead of 4/5(why do I only get 4 on some perfect rounds anyhow?).

      But yea, before this review I didn’t even consider replaying a level something I would ever do / should do, because it doesn’t seem fun.
      Who knows, maybe I’ll try it, but the tougher ones were so annoying, and the easy ones, well, they amount to “stuff corridor/chokepoint and blast”.

  29. RegisteredUser says:

    OMD is actually a pretty fun game, although I don’t understand why they didn’t make more information available and explicit.
    How much damage do my traps deal in which incarnation?
    My weapons? Spells?
    How much more coin do I earn for a combo vs headshot vs killing spree vs trap kill vs 66% more trap kill?

    I feel like there is just blind guesswork left as an approach, which, while encouraging trap experimentation, can be quite frustrating if you’re an OCD optimizer like me.

    Beh.