Of Orcs & Men review

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Of Orcs and Men is a fantasy/RPG with a heavy influence taken from the classics of the genre, such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Now being developed by two indie studios (Cyanide Studios and Spiders Game) Of Orcs and Men shows all the promise but never really takes off. Saying that, this is a massive step in the right direction for indie developers hoping to release games across multiple platforms.

23323041_trailer-of-orcs-and-men-video-0You play as the hulking orc Akrail who sets himself upon a quest to end the life of the human Emperor who has ordered the genocide of the green skins, but to complete this he needs the sharp tongued goblin Styx to help him navigate the harsh human terrains. The characters trade off well against each with Akrail being all about honour and retribution for what the humans are doing to his race but Styx on the other hand has a different motive which is never really made clear. It makes a nice change of pace to be playing as the green skins for once and seeing things from their point of view.

Along the way you will have several Of-Orcs-and-Mendecisions to make as you would expect with an RPG game. The implementation of the Mass Effect type conversation wheel is a nice touch and is another tip of the cap to BioWare.

As for the game mechanics you get all your standard RPG goodness of character progression, skill features and armour/weapons upgrades. As stated previously this is very much a game in the mould of Knight of the Old Republic where you can pause the action and select your next move with the other characters. This had the potential to add a lot of strategy elements to the game but I found myself relying upon the same combinations to defeat groups of enemies. When I did decide to solo an encounter I found the AI for my companion to be very frustrating. Basically, sometimes he would just stand there and take damage without retaliating which meant I would then have to switch out to that character to save the day. I understand sometimes AI breaks but surely not to the point where he can’t even auto-attack.

news_of_orcs_and_men_and_release-13470The sound design for the game is fantastic from the voice acting and music choices through to the way the weapons sound. Graphically the game is outstanding and this is by far Of Orcs and Men’s best feature. It is obvious that they have had some really talented artists working on this. The character models look fantastic, especially for Akrail who just looks like an absolute monster. The set pieces for the game and environment art is also visually stunning taking us from a timely forest to a brightly-lit town. Coming out of effectively an indie studio this proves indie designers can hang with the big boys when it comes to environment and character design.

Overall I really enjoyed my time with Of Orcs and Men, it gave me a bit of everything I wanted to see in a new fantasy RPG. Fantastic characters, beautiful scenic location(s) and an appealing lore. Another plus point is that the game will take you from twelve to fifteen hours to complete, which ensures plenty of playtime for your hard earned money. It takes a lot of game play elements from classics RPG’s and try’s to put it’s own slant on it but the shoddy AI and some of the vulgar dialogue between characters lets the game down but it’s not enough to completely break the game.

Rating 8Apart from that I would still recommend picking up Of Orc’s and Men if your in the market for a new fantasy RPG. Of Orcs and Men is definitely a game I want to see more of in the future.

 

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