Robot Entertainment delivers a sequel to its fresh approach to tower defence gaming: but is this a sequel worth buying? Find out in our review.
Published on Aug 8, 2012
Orcs Must Die 2 is one of those rare specimens where adding a friend to the mix for chaotic cooperative action can only improve things. You might assume adding another player would detract from the hectic nature of the game, but Robot Entertainment's follow-up to the surprise 2011 hit finds the insanity amplified.
Think the only answer to thinning a crowd of tens to hundreds of orcs is sheer manpower? Think again. You're going to need traps, and a lot of them.
Strategic trap planning, systematic orc extermination, and skull collection are the keys to success. At the beginning of each round, you're given a fixed amount of time to place traps to keep the orcs at bay. Once you've arranged them in a satisfactory manner, it's time to release the horde.
The beasts will materialize in various shapes and sizes, from hulking brutes like ogres to your run-of-the-mill, more 'orc-ish' breeds. You'll need to make good use of the default arsenal at your disposal before you've a chance to purchase any other equipment: the Sorceress's long-range magical attacks and potential to charm enemies, or the War Mage's default close-quarters combat.
You can change your loadout through the Spellbook at the beginning of each mission, which houses your current inventory and items available for purchase with in-game skulls earned at the end of each level.
When all else fails, charm an enemy to hold them in place, then start pummeling away!
You'll earn skulls according to how many Rift points you racked up by completing levels under par time and other variables.
Up for grabs are a variety of weapons, like a Lightning Ring that summons forth a lightning storm or Vampiric Gauntlets that damage targets while healing the wearer, and more typical staples like crossbows and swords.
Trinkets augment your character and act as buffs to keep you afloat when things get rough, and additional traps may be purchased to beef up your simple spike and steam platforms.
Throughout fifteen campaign levels, you'll have multiple rest periods within each area to restock and recharge before readying up for the horde.
Forming a game plan is crucial, but it's not required in order to complete the game. If you choose simply to physically assault every orc on your own, beating them into submission rather than lying in wait after having set traps, you may still be successful, but it'll take some awfully powerful upgraded weapons to forgo them completely.
Once you've braved the campaign, you can challenge Endless Mode with a significantly larger number of orcs, or you can go back and improve upon previous runs to aim for a higher skull rating (a perfect rating is five).
Spraying acid all over orcs seems to be an effective crowd control tactic.
The frenzied fun of Orcs Must Die 2 stems from getting caught up in a whirlwind of orcs, trying to keep every last one of them from reaching the exit, while desperately trying to stay afloat. It's edge-of-your-seat stuff, and keeps you coming back for more.
The tightened feel to each level and the choice between both a male and female character go a long way to cement this sequel as the best yet, and quite honestly we're looking forward to a third.
8.5 / 10
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As long as Robot Entertainment keeps pumping them out, we'll be ready to slay them.