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[Review] - Orcs Must Die! 2
Dwarven mud wrestlers. Always effective.
There are so many new weapons and traps that I barely had a chance to try them all by the time I finished all of the main story levels. I did find myself sticking to old favorites, but only because they worked so well. Namely the crossbow, excellent for picking orcs off from a distance and now with an added secondary stun attack that can stop enemies, including large ones, dead in their tracks; and the wind belt, which gives you a spell to push enemies, perfect for throwing them to their demise over a pit or back into your deadly traps, or buying yourself some time.
It never gets old.
All items (including the newly added trinkets, which give you a constant passive bonus when in the inventory, and an active spell when used) can now be upgraded with damage bonuses, perks, and more. For instance, the crossbow can gain a perk to generate extra mana with each headshot, allowing for more frequent use of spells like the push mentioned above.
A perfect place for the wind spell. You can keep the orcs in the kill zone you've created.
The name of the game now is replayability. You gain skulls as upgrade points for completing levels and occasionally mid-level for accomplishing feats such as kill combos. New modes like Endless, a 40 wave endurance challenge, give you more opportunity to collect skulls in addition to replaying levels on Nightmare difficulty. These skulls are then used to buy all of your upgrades. The game truly encourages you to develop your own play style, because there are a lot of tools and upgrades to choose from. Thankfully a respec option has been added, a feature that lets you refund all of the skulls that you've spent. This option was grudgingly absent from the first game, so it could get annoying when you bought a trap that didn't fit your play style. Unfortunately you can't individually remove upgrades so you just have to remember where you've put all your points if you want to refund some.
You can place up to 25 guardians at once. Glorious.
One thing I did find annoying is that in order to play the new character The Sorceress, you have to make a separate profile with completely separate unlocks. This means that none of your upgrades or unlocks carry over and it's like starting the game over. With how many unlocks there are this can be annoying. The draw of playing as the new character is that she has a few unique weapons such as the polymorph ring, a ring that can turn enemies into other things like harmless chickens, or turn the sorceress into a powerful ogre.
Some weapons are unique to the Sorceress, while the War Mage has a few of his own as well.
Of course having the second character means another great addition to the game: co-op. You can now have a friend join you for the slaughter. From the campaign menu you can invite a friend to join you. Once in game you each get 6 trap slots and each have your own money. Currency from kills seem to be shared to an extent, where you also get a few points from kills by your partner and their traps. The game certainly seems geared towards co-op, as playing a later level I was able to 5 star it, whereas I had difficulty completing it solo. With most of the later levels having the orcs come at you from at least two directions, having someone to focus on either side of the Rift makes things much easier.
The graphics are still just as fine as the original with a mildly cartoony style, and rock/adventure style music that sets the tone before the taunting victory theme that makes its return. There are actually fewer levels, 15 versus the first game's 24, but with the added Endless mode, and the inclusion of Classic mode (10 levels from the first game for those who own it), and all of the permutations that can be made to your loadout, there is tons of replayability. Orcs Must Die! 2 is a nice improvement over the first game and definitely worth checking out for fans of the tower defense or third person action genre, or anyone looking to have some plain old fun slaying orcs.