OXCGN’s Of Orcs and Men Review
Is the Age of Men over? Has the time of the Orc come?
by Kent Sobey
© 2012 Kent Sobey
There are probably only a handful of people out there who can genuinely say that they were looking forward to Of Orcs and Men with eager anticipation.
I’ll be honest, I certainly wasn’t one of them – in fact, I hadn’t even heard about it until a week before its release.
Sometimes we get pleasantly surprised by titles like this, that slip completely under the radar and we get something special.
But is this game one of those titles?
Let’s have a closer looks and see.
A Game of Greenskins
The game is set in a world where ‘Greenskins’ – which are Orcs and Goblins by the way – are at war with humans.
Without going into too much depth and ruining the story it’s safe to tell you that there are rogues on either side, so you end up fighting against a whole host of different factions.
The direction of the story, however, seems to change fairly often so keeping track of what’s actually going on is not easy – and even if it was, there probably wouldn’t be too much point because the story is not great at all. There are a few good ideas thrown in there that make it worth paying attention to it, but let’s face it, it’s not going to win any narrative awards.
The story follows a Bloodjaw Orc named Arkail and his ‘frenemy’ called Styx, who’s the only known talking Goblin. The two of them are on a mission to kill the human emperor who is the cause of the long running hate for ‘Greenskins’.
If anybody has played the Game of Thrones game which came out not to long ago then they will almost immediately recognise a whole lot of things that give away the fact that this game was developed by the same studio.
The combat in particular is very similar, which those of you who played Game of Thrones would realise is a BIG problem.
That being said, you can control either Styx, or Arkail, and each of them has different abilities and fighting styles, which does make the combat a little more interesting.
There’s nothing outrageously ingenious or unique to talk about here, but the level system works for the game despite being very (very) simple.
There’s a distinct lack of items, weapons and armour to pick up though which would have at least gone some way to convince the player that they were in fact control of the players destiny.
Instead, you don’t have much control over the events in the story like we have come to expect from our RPG’s these days. Each new area you visit it basically a different skin on the previous one and is completely linear – there is no exploring or free-roaming in the game whatsoever.
The problem with this is that it gets boring, and fast… And to add to that, the enemies you fight and not very diverse either.
Of Orcs and Styx
One thing that can be said for it though is that some of the character models are very cool – especially the Orcs and Styx.
The voice acting in the game, however, does not hold up. With a few exceptions, most of the characters lines are delivered as if the voice actors had not yet attended voice acting school.
Some of you might remember that Games of Thrones’ suffered a similar problem – thankfully this game is not quite that bad though.
In fact, I think you should play it. Why you ask?
Well, I can’t quite put my finger on it.
There is something about the game that makes it entertaining and gives it a certain charm that not a lot of other games have. Perhaps it’s because it reminds me of what games used to be like .
Or it’s just the fact that you get to be an Orc and break people’s spines – who can say they don’t want to do that?.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that you should put off playing anything you’ve been looking forward to in this season of big titles, but if you do find yourself with some times on your hands, and nothing to play, then give it a go.
Sadly, the game only deserves 6 out of 10 because of its abundant flaws, but I really would like to give it more that that (as a responsible and fair reviewer though, I cannot and will not).