Before we dive into this review, I want to compliment Robot Entertainment on how great of a job they did with the design of this main menu screen. These Orcs just sit and stare at you something fierce! That’s a lie. These are definitely not those battle-hardened creatures from Lord of the Rings. These Orcs just look mad dumb LOL! I guess that is why they take turns running aimlessly through hallways full of traps to enter a portal. Just take a moment to sit in the main menu screen and look them straight in the eye, I promise you will get a laugh out of it.
I never had a chance to play the first two titles, so you won’t be getting many comparisons to those games out of this review. You will however be getting a fresh eyes perspective from a gamer who loves online co-op gameplay. Without even having to do research on the previous games I immediately question this game only being only a 2-player co-op! This title screams 3 – 4 player co-op I hope they decide to go back to this one day. Currently, the way this game is built it scales best with 2 players, it did feel a bit harder playing it solo. Due to the nature of its repetitiveness having another friend with you is almost a must. It has a major fun upside when playing with a friend but can get boring very quickly solo. The cinematics presented were good, but I don’t think the story was the main focus of the game. I think they could have done much more with the story side of the campaign. A respectable selection of 6 heroes are in the game but only 2 of them are unlocked at the start of the game. The other 4 characters you can unlock by completing the campaign missions.
Orcs Must Die! 3 Has 2 campaign modes “Old Friends” which has 18 stages and “Drastic Steps” which has 5 giving it a total of 23 stages for you to conquer. In your first playthrough, you will be able to choose from 3 difficulties, apprentice, war mage, and rift lord. Rift lord drastically increases the Orc’s power and adds new mechanics that benefit the enemies. After completing the campaign in War Mage or higher you will be able to play in nightmare mode, which is just that, a nightmare. It’s rough. Rift lord is very challenging as well, you will need to learn advanced “tech” to defeat these modes. If you can’t find anyone to queue with there is a “find game” option but unfortunately, it was always dead for us. Where are all the Orc hunters at though? You can also host a public game in hopes of someone coming to help but we could never find anyone to join. There is no real endgame in Orcs Must Die! 3 aside from a global leaderboard separated between each difficulty setting.
Before you get your eyes set on running up the global leaderboard you need to make sure you get 5 skulls on every stage. I do really like the system, but it can be tedious if you’re not capping your skulls. Skulls pay the bills you need them to level up your abilities. Orcs Must Die ! 3 Uses a card system to level up your traps, weapons, and trinkets. An absolute big brain move here by the developers allowing us to reset our cards at no charge anytime. Every stage requires a different strategy due to the variations of enemies, bosses, and map layouts. If you are trying to parse a score on the global ladder the strategies are more linear. Completing nightmare difficulty will not marry you to such strategies, you can adjust your loadouts to fit a playstyle you enjoy. Build into your character’s strengths with trinkets and weapons or focus on crowd control by upgrading your traps.
In the end no matter what mode you’re playing it’s pretty much going to be the same game. Robot Entertainment did add some extra modes to keep you entertained. Endless mode which sends you waves after waves until your rift points expire completely. Endless is comprised of a combination of unique levels, Classic levels, and Story Mode levels. Weekly challenges which add affixes and unique challenges on a weekly reset timer. Scramble a new game mode to the franchise where you battle Orcs across 5 random levels. It’s a very fun game through the first couple of playthroughs but depending on your goals it could get old fast. Always play with a friend and you will get more than your $29,909 out of it.