If a MOBA and the original Orcs Must Die! had an illegitimate love child, Orcs Must Die! Unchained! would undoubtedly be the product of that union. For fans of Orcs Must Die! and Orcs Must Die 2!, this may seem like blasphemy of the highest sort, a defiling of an already amazing game. What were the developers of Robot Entertainment thinking pairing these two up? Have they gone mad? It's now in Open Beta, with no future wipes planned, so we stepped in to offer our thoughts.
While I can’t answer the questions exactly, they may indeed be mad, I can say that this twisted brainchild somehow works. Players trying out this game will find almost everything they loved about the originals; quirky characters, cartoony graphics, corny humor, and lots of Orcs with plenty of ways to kill them. Throw in a customizable deck and some new modes of play and Unchained becomes something truly special.
Upon opening the game players are greeted with a very basic lobby that seems underwhelming, but gets the job done. From here new players will be instructed to take part in several tutorial levels that give you the basic ideas behind the game. This tutorial level is probably one of the few gripes I have about the game. This thing lasts literally forever. Even worse, you cannot take part in any of the multiplayer functions of the game till the tutorial is complete. Major bummer.
If you are stalwart enough to power through the tutorial levels, then the real magic begins. From here you will find the real Orcs Must Die! Unchained experience. The game is equipped with a host of eccentric characters each with their own unique personalities and skill sets. Not all the characters are unlocked at the start, but can be later obtained with real money or by simply playing the game enough. A system that I think the game could do without but has become very common in free to play games of this type. We can at least be thankful that the heroes are craftable for free and only require your hard-earned cash if you are so inclined.
While each hero has his or her own niche that they tend to fit into, that doesn’t mean that you can’t customize them for your play style. Using the deck system and a host of cards that players can earn throughout gameplay, you may customize your hero to better suit your play style. Cards cover items such as minions, gear, traps, and more. This allows you to have a unique play experience each time you play the game, even if you choose the same hero.
No matter which hero or deck combination you choose, the game from here on out your goal becomes simple; protect your fortress from the enemy. Players can choose from one of three gaming choices: Endless, Battlegrounds, or the Weekly Challenge. Endless play is like the more traditional Orcs! experience, with your team working to defend their rift from wave after wave of minions.
Battlegrounds on the other hand are something slightly different. More of what you would expect from the MOBA style of game, players can choose from more maps, choose to play by themselves or team up with other players, and change the difficulty level as they earn experience. This is currently my personal favorite mode of play.
Finally, players may also choose to take on the Weekly Challenge. This is the usual Orcs Must Die! game, with a twist. Players will be challenged to take on a specific map with a set amount of minion waves. The catch is that each map has a special set of circumstances that must be overcome. From limited hero spells, to minions with special abilities, the Weekly Challenge will put even the most veteran players to the test.
So, what do I think of the game? Robot Entertainment has really nailed this next installment in the Orcs Must Die! franchise. It has combined everything that was loved about the original game with new elements that manage to both enhance and revitalize.
Having said that, the in-game purchases leave a bad taste in my mouth. Players can choose to purchase gold, which can then be used to purchase heroes, consumables, and even XP bonuses all allowing for a sort of easy mode for anyone willing to spend the cash. With a simple click of a button and your bank account, you can get leagues ahead of those players putting in the time to earn these items through gameplay.
Overall the game is worth playing, especially if you are a fan of the originals. Just steer clear of the pay-to-win aspect and this game is absolutely golden. Make sure to bring your friends, the more the merrier in Orcs Must Die! Unchained.