This is the third main entry in the series, taking place twenty years after the second game. It focuses on two brand new young apprentices, from which you can choose to play as either. They have dialogue with one another regardless of solo or coop play which works fine since there is a chemistry there. The Sorceress also returns to provide guidance, and in general the goal is to find out what happened to the Wage Mage. It’s a fine premise, and a good starting point for the narrative element of this.
It provides story through both cinematic, and in-game commentary. It’s brief chunks of story that are set in both the present, and in the past to further develop out the lore. With that, you do get some flashback moments, and these are how they introduce the largest levels we’ve ever seen. These are War Scenarios featuring hundreds orcs rushing into an area. To tackle them you get to venture within massive arenas of war, using far more complex traps than typically available.
The general campaign is comprised of eighteen levels, with difficult options. You’re aiming to get the best score, while also trying to unlock better skull tiers in order to improve your trap abilities. There are a wide range of traps, and you gradually unlock more as you play. If the campaign isn’t enough, there’s also an endless mode if you want even more of a challenge.
Go as far as you want, battling seemingly never ending waves of orcs across a very wide range of levels. All aspects can be played alone, or with another in cooperative play. Join online matches, host your own or of course just have friends hop in.
For context I was using the base Google Stadia streaming option. That means a 1080p 60fps feed, and for the most part it was quite stable. I did have some connection issues here or there, but nothing that really interrupted my gameplay. I was very impressed by what this delivered in terms of being larger in scale than anything we’ve seen before within this franchise. The War Scenarios were absolutely massive, with almost too many orcs piling across the screen.
It was insanity, in terms of the complexity and how much this series has grown. You can have whole fleets of archers chucking arrows while you’re battling in an entirely different area. This is wildly different than the restrictions on certain traps in the past. The scale is just absolutely insane, and it’s great. It feels perfectly in tune with the previous entries control wise, offering controller or keyboard support as well. The aesthetics are excellent, the visual style is true to the past games while certainly going a step further in quality. The trap variety is great, and the enemies largely return including some new ones.
I did find the fire resistant foes to be tedious however, since there really wasn’t a trap to deal with them. On top of that, it seemed almost every trap in the game had a fire upgrade of property to it. There just wasn’t anything proper to assist with cutting down those forces. Mix that in with some levels that are very high pressure and at times it seemed a tad too shifted away from being something that was fair in competition. I always thought of this series as being a balance of traps plus you against the orcs, and now it seems you must directly take time to eliminate specific enemies without those traps doing much of anything.
I may have missed some sort of helpful element, but that’s just what I felt while playing. Going back to the high pressure areas, at times they literally give you no space to set up or funnel enemies and that can be frustrating. When things are setup well, and you feel a good balance of challenge this is really the series at its peak of conflict. The orcs being grinded up, you unleashing abilities and just generally defending that rift effectively. The music is also just right for this, blended in well with the style of play.
Orcs Must Die! 3 is a great continuation of the series, providing some epic large scale battles and being true to the foundations that made the previous games so delightful. It’s largely than ever before with the mighty War Scenarios being just incredible to take part in. There’s a great selection of traps, character options and progression as you improve the capabilities of your traps. It’s great that it can all be enjoyed in two player coop online through friend invites or even hosting.
That’s certainly appreciated, though of course you can play through it all solo if you’d like to. The campaign features a solid amount of content, and the endless mode takes that even further. I would have however liked more original content in endless as it basically just borrows from the campaign. On top of that, it would have been neat to have some sort of new mode or change-up.
This did feel similar to past entries in many ways, and it would have been neat to see a further evolution upon the existing mechanics. Still, this was really awesome. It played well and this is definitely the strongest Google Stadia exclusive that’s currently available. It might be somewhat niche to many, but I love this series and it’s excellent that we got this third entry within it.
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Orcs Must Die! 3 Review on Google Stadia
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