Disclaimer: I was able to fly to Robot Entertainment to get a hands on experience with the final release build of Orcs Must Die! Unchained. This is my honest review of the game.
Orcs Must Die! Unchained is essentially a tower defense (3rd person) game that builds upon its Orcs Must Die 1 & 2. Players go up against waives and waives of vicious and determined orcs, who are tying to take down your rift.
Gameplay, gameplay, gameplay. That was the main focus during the development of OMDU. The game features a rather lengthy tutorial. However, it is much needed to learn the “feel” of the game. That “feel” was something that OMDU absolutely nailed if your a fan of previous OMD games. Familiarity is key to keep people feeling comfortable with the game.
The game is fast paced and challenging, in a good way. The game essentially plays like a puzzle and when you finally figure out the best place to set your traps so that you clear the wave, you actually feel clever about your strategy. That is just one example of satisfaction you can get from OMDU’s single player.
Multiplayer is where the game truly shines!
OMD 2 introduced co-op multiplayer. OMDU takes a step forward and adds 3 vs 3 multiplayer to the game. The game mode “Sabotage” pits two teams of three against each other and in short it creates nothing but fun. In Sabotage the task of the mode is essentially to sabotage your opposing teams. You do this by sending special orcs, ogres, and monsters to attack their rift. The first team to lose all their rift points loses. Each match will take 15 minutes or less to complete with 6 or 8 waves depending on the map and 1 sudden death wave if tied. The sudden death wave is also intense as each team only has one rift point. So the first team to score wins!
The game mode can be played by both newcomers and veterans. However, once you get used to sabotage thats when the game shines once again. There is a nice amount of strategy that comes into play between teams. Each round players are able to select 2 cards that they can use for the upcoming round. These cards consist of spells, abilities, and monsters that they can use to attack the other team. Each card can only be played once per round which means you need to strategically time your use of it. You can also see where other players are on the map and if they used their consumable cards or not. This helps the player develop that exact timing to unleash their consumable card on the opposing team.
Another great addition to OMDU is of course “Unchained”. Heroes this time around have the ability to go Unchained. This makes your hero super powerful. While in this mode your hero will have up to double damage on attacks and cool down times drop drastically. A well timed Unchain can really change the course of the game, and potentially win or lose the game for your team. Once again this mode adds another layer to an already fun game.
The amount of passion that the studio devoted to this game is amazing and it definitely shows. The team has really put their all into making this game a great experience for fans of the series as well as newcomers. The game will be free to play which could be a negative nowadays. However, the studio has learned from the mistakes of other studios when making free to play games. They understand that everyone doesn’t enjoy the pay to win feel of games. They believe that they have balanced that scenario by allowing absolutely no player performance upgrades for purchase that couldn’t be earned in game.
You might be asking well if you can earn everything in the game then what will be purchasable items. Well these purchasable items are mainly cosmetic items. You can purchase a variety of different skins for the 16 heroes. Speaking of heroes there are a total of 16 included at launch with the game. 3 of the 16 will be available for free from the beginning. The other 13 will be available as unlocks as you progress. However they will have an Hero Pack available at launch were you can get a head start by purchasing the rest of the heroes.
If you can’t tell by now, I really enjoyed my time playing Orcs Must Die: Unchained! Although the game could be played entirely solo, the game really shines as a multiplayer game. Sabotage is a game mode that will have me coming back day after day, even if I only have time to complete one 15 minute match. The game is also a living game which means it will receive consistent updates to improve the game.
OMDU will contain 100 plus hours of gameplay for those who want to sink that much time into this game. The game will also feature a ton of steam achievements for those achievement hunters.
Orcs Must Die: Unchained might just be my surprise game of the year to this date. The amount of fun that I’ve had with this game is insane. The game is polished and balanced. The year open beta definitely benefited the game a ton. I will recommend just about any gamer try this game, especially with the price of free. However once you begin your journey of killing orcs, you might not want to stop!