Sunday, December 25, 2011

Orcs Must Die Review: A Bloody Good Time

Game: Orcs Must Die!

Developer: Robot Entertainment

Genre: Tower Defense/Third-Person shooter.

System played on: PC (Steam)

Rated: T (Blood, gore, violence)

Sometimes you want to play a game with a thought provoking story, an immersive world and well developed characters; other times you just want a game about killing lots and lots of orcs. If you didn't guess by the title, Orcs Must Die! resides in the latter category, and boy does it do a good job at orc killing.

Gameplay: Despite its orc ridden appearance and title, Orcs Must Die! has more in common with Plants vs. Zombies than, say, more orc-focused games like Warhammer and Warcraft. Orcs Must Die Is a Tower Defense game but plays like a fast paced third-person shooter. The game plays very quick and is always focused on the action of the moment. As you proceed through the game, you get new traps after completing each level. After every wave you get a few seconds to set up some traps, and after three rounds you get full breathing room to set up your deadly devices of orc dismemberment for the next couple of waves.

Orcs Must Die! Is more forgiving than other Tower Defense games since if your traps fail to kill off enough orcs, you yourself can take them out by the hundreds with your trusty crossbow, sword and spells. Combat is fluid and fast paced. Placing traps is simple and easy to do; just select the trap and place it. You don't have to go through a pants-load of menus. Just set it and forget it.

Story: The story in Orcs Must Die! is only really made up of a few cut-scenes (less than a handful) dispersed throughout its 24 levels but is entertaining and ends in a surprisingly interesting way. The story in itself isn't the strongest out there, but you will pretty much be having too much fun killing orcs, setting up traps and planning your next strategy to care.
The main character has a few funny quips here and there (usually about his former teacher), but he will mostly repeat jokes that weren't that funny to begin with.

Visuals: Orcs Must Die! lends itself to a more cartoony cell shading which definitely adds spunk that you wouldn't have gotten otherwise. Even though all of the levels have pretty much the same aesthetic design, they each feel unique, and each level requires you to change up your tactics to fit said level.

Final Thoughts: In the way of replay value, Orcs Must Die! is rather limited to replaying old levels at a higher difficulty, but it is still a fun game that can easily please any Tower Defense or Third-person shooter fan.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Understanding The Art Gamer: Introduction...

I am a person who constantly tries to stay well-rounded, when it comes to basically anything. I'm always trying new things, different ways of doing the same thing- I constantly try to explore the depth of the world and the millions of different things there are to do. I do this especially in regard to my hobbies, whether they be reading, writing, watching films or television, and because of this I've discovered a wide array of fantastic things, from Breaking Bad to Adventure Time, from A Game of Thrones to Axe Cop. I am a person who always listens to every opinion I can, even if I disagree with it- it's just part of my worldview. 

I do this with games, too. On any given gaming day, you may find me playing a very mainstream, big-budget shooter like Call of Duty, or a niche indie flash game, like Majesty of Colors. 

However, recently I've noticed a change in the way that I view games, and the games that I am most interested in. I attribute this change not only to being bombarded with expensive games I have no way of buying, and fantastic productions like The Brainy Gamer, but also to a boredom with many of the games being released. Whatever the explanation behind this strange transition, I can say with some surety that I am now an 'art gamer', of sorts.

The term 'art gamer' may bring negative connotations to some people's minds. Perhaps you think of art gamers as stuffy college professors who are hopped up on indie flash games, or hipsters who feel mainstream games are all garbage, that Call of Duty has no artistic merit, so therefore it shouldn't exist (though, as I'll explore later, many do find merit in these games.) Well, I have found in my time with other people who want to deeply discuss games as art that these stereotypes aren't true.  The more insightful 'art gamers' are actually just video game lovers like the rest of us that are equipped with a different point of view. 

Throughout this blog series, which I intend to keep going with a new post once or twice a week, I hope to tackle a relevant issue to gaming from the stance of an artistically inclined gamer, or just generally explain the opinions of this gaming subculture. If you are at all interested in what 'art gamers' really think, not just carry on assuming what they think, I hope you read on. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Armchair Gamer Podcast Eight: This Year In Gaming.

On this, the last edition of the Armchair Gamer Podcast this calendar year, we not only eternally condemn ourselves with irreverent humor, we also analyze some of the high points (and low points) of our personal year of gaming, along with games released this year. Also, we talk a little bit about the way our favorite gaming mag, Gameinformer, once was. Warning: Nostalgia abounds. Thanks for listening, and happy holidays.
Listen Here:

Or Go And Listen on iTunes:
Check out classic episodes on Internet Archives:

First, thanks to everyone who listens to the show. There’s a lot of shows out there, and I’m glad you stop in every once and a while for ours. I hope you have a happy holiday season with friends and family. In case you are wondering, the hectic season and conflicting schedules, along with a noticeable lack of topics this time of year, has led us to deciding to finish making new episodes this year with this episode. This doesn’t mean we got cancelled, though… Starting next month, January, we will pick right back up where we left off, with more of the show, and some new content which I’ll make up some time.

You can follow me (the host) on Twitter:!/Gamebeast23456
You can also follow Nick Schneider on Twitter:!/TOGNick
And, if you really want to, you can follow JJ on Twitter, too:!/Thejourneyman66

Also, check out the official blog of the show:!/
Finally, like us on Facebook

Listener Feedback:
What was your personal game of 2011, and what news story do you find most important?