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    jdh681's Orcs Must Die! (PC)

    [February 6, 2012 12:31:45 AM]
    For my second session with Orcs Must Die! I started off on the third level and played until the end of Act I. I tried to focus on the way the game handles difficulty ramping and how it attempts to keep the player interested.

    Each level obviously must have the same general principle behind it, but the game adds enough quirks to make each one a different experience. For instance, in addition to basic orc monsters that run from their spawn to the rift, ranged orcs that shoot crossbow bolts at the player character and any companions you use (called guardians), but not traps. Super fast kobold creatures ignore obstacles altogether and simply attempt to get to the rift as quickly as possible. Eventually, levels start spawning large Ogre creatures that take massive amounts of damage before dying, often requiring the player to completely focus on them to take it down. Most levels past the first few also have multiple routes that enemies can take, or multiple spawn points that monsters can emerge from. The player can not use brute force to win each level by using the same tactics over and over, as different enemies come in different ways on different terrain. One's gameplan has to change based on the challenges faced.

    The game appeals to two different skill sets, and at the end of Act I it allows the player to specialize in one or the other at the beginning of each level. The player may pick one of two "weavers" who allow the purchase of certain enhancement trees. One weaver gives bonuses to traps and guardians, such as increasing the damage down by all traps who inflict bleeding damage. The other weaver offers enhancements to the apprentice and his weapons and spells, such as reducing the mana cost of all primary spell attacks. Only one weaver can be chosen, and gold is used to purchase each enhancement, so the player must carefully balance his need for more traps and guardians and the enhancements for them. These weavers allow the player to choose a more strategy-oriented approach with appropriate trap/guardian placement, or a more action-oriented style with increased weapon and spell power.

    After playing through the first act, the feel of the game is very solid and I'm having quite a lot of fun with it. Having several options at my disposal to solve each level is very refreshing in a modern game climate with very linear gameplay. The hack and slash aspect is satisfying, as the apprentice is very powerful even without weaver enhancements, but the sheer number of threats is enough to balance the difficulty level. The two biggest problems I forsee with the game is a lack of multiplayer and a lack of replayability. Multiplayer challenges would allow players to engage in much more difficult encounters on a much larger scale than would be possible for a single player to have a chance against. With apparently only 25 levels in total, where each spawn wave is identical from playthrough to playthrough, the only aspect of replayability is three different difficulties and a high score leaderboard. Eventually the game would get stale, regardless of the options the player is given to beat a level.

    Overall, this game has an excellent amount of high quality content for the money I paid for it. I recommend this game for anyone who enjoys standard in-browser tower defense games, as it offers a new twist on the genre.
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    [February 4, 2012 09:53:37 PM]
    For this entry, I decided to play the game Orcs Must Die!, an unorthodox tower defense game where the player takes the third person perspective of the "apprentice" as opposed to a more traditional overhead view. This game was made by indie game developer Robot Entertainment and bought/downloaded through Steam.

    The game begins by giving a brief exposition. The player is an apprentice in an institution known as the Order. His master has just died, and he is alone left with the task of defending a fortress against hoards of Orcs and Goblins and assorted other monsters. Following, it gives an explanation of the main game concepts. Waves of monsters spawn from large double doors, and they attempt to get to "rifts" which the player must protect using different weapons, traps, companions, and spells contained within his spellbook. Items from the spellbook are bought using gold gained from killing monsters, and an initial supply of gold is given at the beginning of a map. Only a select few abilities may be chosen from the spellbook to use on a given map, limiting the player to just a few options of their choice.

    In the first level, the player doesn't have many options, but the defense is not difficult. The map is a straight hallway between the single set of double doors and the rift. Two archer companions are placed on the sides of the hallway to assist you. Companions generally stay in the location that they are assigned and automatically attack monsters that come in range, and monsters will reciprocate. The player is given a sword and a crossbow as means of personal defense, along with spike traps which damage enemies who walk over and tar traps, which slow enemies. If enough enemies make it to the rift, the player loses and must restart the level. If the player character dies to enemies, it also counts against this rift total.

    During downtime between levels, the game gives the player a number of "skulls" based on their performance during the previous level. The skulls can be used to purchase upgrades for your spellbook, giving abilities an extra effect or increasing their strength. New abilities are also given as the player beats new levels. The first trap unlocked is an arrow trap, which is placed on a wall and fires arrows at any enemies that walk in its area of effect.

    The game does not take itself very seriously at all. The apprentice is portrayed as a dimwitted individual with little regard to his enemy or what he is fighting to protect. The cartoony animation supports this, and the story is not a major factor in the enjoyment of this game. The action is the main focus, with hectic and fast paced action, including weapons that fire/swing as fast as you can click the mouse button, combo counters, and headshot indicators. Humor supports the action with quips from the apprentice and funny hit/death animations from the orcs. The apprentice even does different dances at the end of a level based on how well he protected the rift.

    Overall, I completed three levels and explored as many of the game's options as I could for this first session. I will reserve any judgement for my second log.
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    jdh681's Orcs Must Die! (PC)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Friday 3 February, 2012

    jdh681's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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    More GameLogs
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    1 : Orcs Must Die! (PC) by dkirschner (rating: 4)


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