Review: Orcs Must Die! Unchained (PS4)

Review: Orcs Must Die! Unchained (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Orcs Must Die! Unchained
Format: PSN (6.45 GB)
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: Robot Entertainment, Inc.
Developer: Robot Entertainment, Inc.
Original MSRP: Free to Play /
Ultimate Bundle $24.99 (US), €19.99 (EU), £15.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 16
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Orcs Must Die! Unchained is a free-to-play game. Now, before you instantly dismiss it as simply a way to steal away your hard-earned bucks through microtransactions, let me elaborate on a few things that might change your mind on this game.

Gameplay:
The aim of Orcs Must Die! Unchained is to defend a rift against hordes of orcs and other unsightly creatures. I began this game just like everyone else, I did have a code to unlock the Ultimate Bundle but chose not to use it on my main account.

I made my way through a few tutorial levels that instructed me on the available moves of the Ash Williams-esque Maximilian character along with the use and placement of the gruesome traps.

There are plenty of characters and traps to buy with the in-game currency. Both coins and skulls are used to buy everything in the game and you get each one through daily rewards and playing the various modes.

I managed to get one character early on in the game via a reward chest for completing a level with all five stars. This is only possible if you don’t let any orcs through the rift and complete the map within the target time. Since that questionable bit of luck I usually just get trap cards and minor bonuses with the remaining characters out of reach until I can get enough coins or skulls.

After collecting a certain amount of a particular trap card type I am able to improve that trap, increasing its damage and maybe even adding an upgrade part to it. This also makes it more powerful, or applies crowd triggers, or adds health to the owner every time an enemy crosses the trap. With every improvement my attempts at the levels become slightly easier.

The first few tries at the earlier load of levels usually resulted in a three-star completion at most. With practice and better traps, I began to learn the best placement and type of trap needed to decimate the little critters. Although, saying that, some of them aren’t so little.

I am not alone in the single player mode as I can summon a Guardian to fight alongside me, although it cannot stray too far from its keystone of which there are usually a few dotted around the map. With only two Guardians available to me I have to be strategic in their placement.

There is a Platinum Trophy that will take a long time to attain considering, at the time of writing this, most of the virtual trinkets are Ultra Rare. The need to grind or stump up some cash is blatantly apparent and Robot Entertainment isn’t trying to hide that fact.

Now I was lucky enough to get hold of the Ultimate bundle for this review and used it on another login to see how different things are with a bit of money in the virtual bank.

I had a couple of characters and skins unlocked along with some coins and skulls to get some extra things but it quickly got spent like a teenager’s first credit card. I decided to grab some loot chests and two new characters.

It pays to play every new character on each map since doing so rewards a victory with a one-off chest and more experience. It also means you get to learn their playstyle and special moves. Some even get unique traps that buff the character in some way or they may even be free to use. Don’t worry that it sounded like it costs actual money to place traps, this game isn’t that bad.

I can see the appeal of spending a few bucks every now and again if you don’t want to grind for the new characters and traps. I managed to get a sizeable amount of coins and skulls just through playing, taking part in the community events, and grabbing the daily rewards.

The developers at Robot Entertainment are bringing a new mode to the game called Chaos Trials which will require keys that can be found in the other modes and the daily login reward. I believe it will be a mixture of challenges and modifiers on random maps with difficulty tiers.

Visuals:
Orcs Must Die! Unchained has some nasty comic book violence that centers on the slicing and dicing of orcs and trolls. At every turn I see heads and limbs scattered throughout my expertly crafted kill box, the occasional torso slumped over my precisely placed barricade.

The amount of action on-screen can be hectic to say the least and the PS4 Pro handles it with ease. Each map has a distinct look and even varies the way the large hordes enter the area. The Docklands has them arrive by boat so make sure you’re careful because the heroes can’t swim.

Audio:
Every character has witty remarks and jibes at the other heroes in the game, especially Maximilian. When placing traps and mowing down waves of the orc army I recall hearing Max making the “Pew pew” noises and noting how unstoppable he is. One or two of the heroes are a little more reserved and in that regard, a bit more pleasing to the ears during many hours of play.

The sound effects of the enemy screams and traps can get very loud, which amps up the frantic nature of the experience. I like the music too and think it fits well with the style of game, especially the calming and relaxed menu music.

Online/Multiplayer:
My wife was sad to discover there is no local co-op split screen mode available. There is, however, the ability to join up with friends or random online players for some co-op or competitive fun. No matter what mode you pick, everyone is facing off against the nasty orcs. In the Sabotage mode, you can disrupt the other team who is also battling against the same army in the same level in an alternate dimension.

Sabotage is a new mode to the series and there is a very welcome tutorial video and description of how to play the game before you click to find a match. The games I played had no issues but the skill level of my comrades varied, to say the least, I wasn’t sure how this affected the difficulty but the majority of matches resulted in failure. Maybe I need to invest in some better and stronger traps?

Conclusion:
Orcs Must Die! Unchained is a great free to play game, if a little daunting at first glance. The desire to pay for coins to get new characters and gear is very tempting and the variety of heroes does offer a good reason to keep coming back. There’s more to this than I expected but it’s essentially just a big tower defense game fighting off hordes of enemies. The variety in location, opponent, and possible hero keeps it very entertaining though.

Once you have collected every character, skin, and trap there’s even a premium shop for the hardcore players where you’ll find out what Gibs are. I definitely think this game deserves a download and try. What’s the harm? It won’t cost you anything. The action is fast, fun, and frantic. Combine that with a couple of friends and this game will entertain for a long time to come.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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