I remember taking a chance on Robot Entertainment’s Orcs Must Die 2 on the PC a few years ago and falling for it’s wisecracking heroes, overall nutty humor, and mostly the awesome tower defense gameplay that comes in the form of laying traps down for orcs and other monsters trying to make their way through portals you protect in various settings and locations. The company brought their latest, free-to-play entry to the PC a few months ago, but now has released it on the PlayStation 4 for some console fun in Orcs Must Die: Unchained.
If you love playing MOBA-like titles or tower defense ones with friends, and don’t want to spend any money upfront, this is a good way to spend time with your buds and see what all the orc killing is about.
The plot couldn’t be any more simple, you select a hero (there’s three to choose from for free, but you can purchase others) and stop orcs and other monsters from entering through portals you’re guarding by attacking them with your weapon, spells, special attacks, and most importantly, vicious traps. This is where the fun comes in as you can place all kinds of traps in all sorts of positions and places along the stage, giving a nice strategy feel to the game. Want to slow them down with some sticky tar traps and have them walk across painful spikes as you mow them down? Or how about knocking them back with one trap and setting them on fire with another? If you can think it, chances are you can pull it off here.
Of course these traps cost in game currency you can earn as you play, and before every battle there’s a space that gives you all the time you need to set up your traps like you want. But those who want access to bigger and better things can use real money to purchase gold and unlock other traps, characters, and more.
If you’ve never played this series before or any other tower defense title, never fear, as there’s a detailed tutorial to guide you through the game’s intricacies. Once you’re used to how everything works, it’s time to kill some orcs by yourself or with two buddies online with three player co-op. If you thought things were fun and interesting before, try pulling off trap combinations with your friends where coordination is a key factor in holding off the monsters. And if you and friends want to take things to the next level, there’s a mode where your team plays against another three-person group that’s helping the monsters get through your portal.
Here, each team is on a different map, meaning you never see your opponents, and everyone draws a special card that ranges from unleashing a giant wave of monsters, to disabling your opponent briefly. The joy comes in using these cards strategically as you and your team pull off a well earned victory when used right, or even a fun loss if not. As with the previous entries in the series, the graphics are cartoon-like but detailed, and the framerate was pretty smooth when I played alone or with friends. The sounds are just as fun, as you’ll find yourself laughing at your character’s quips, wisecracks, and comments to other characters as you play.
Orcs Must Die: Unchained is a good time for anyone who loves playing online co-op or competitive games without having to shell out any money upfront. Those who might actually wish to spend money will have some advantages to be sure, but even those who play on the cheap can still enjoy themselves regardless. Either way, you’ve got nothing to lose except time having unchained, orc-killing fun with this one.