LifeisXbox’s Orcs Must Die! 3 review | The ten people with Google Stadia had the chance to exclusively play Orcs Must Die! 3 for a year, but the game is finally out on other platforms too. Opening it up for many more players. Orcs Must Die was a popular Xbox Live Arcade game in 2011 and the sequel in 2022 was even better. Developer Robot Entertainment took his sweet time for this third instalment in the franchise. Never played it before? You missed out on this unique mix between tower defence and third-person shooter or brawler! Luckily you can pick it up after reading our review.
ℹ️ | We played Orcs Must Die! 3 for 13 hours on Xbox Series X.
What we liked!
- Building your game plan | Best part about Orcs Must Die! 3 is the tactical planning. Let me explain how this game works first. You control a mage in charge of protecting rifts that connect Earth with the undead world, enemies come out gates and follow a path towards the rift. You’re in charge of stopping them by placing deadly traps and by doing damage yourself with a shotgun, sword or other weapons in the game. Throwing random traps around won’t cut it as you’ll be instantly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of enemies. Having the perfect master plan is advised but also satisfying or heartbreaking when it doesn’t turn out as planned. For example, overlooking an additional breachpoint. They aren’t shy in forcing your hand either, plan A doesn’t always work because you have restricted wall space or no ceilings, solutions aren’t always easy to find as resources and the complexity from different breachpoints can really make things difficult.
- Not your typical tower defence game! | Yes you place traps to defeat the horde but that’s not going to cut it. You’ll be doing a lot of groundwork so your rift stays safe! You’ll freeze or burn orcs and trolls with secondary fire and blast them into pieces with a shotgun or lightning rod. Placing your traps cleverly is one thing but your actions between the building rounds is very important too. Some of the faster enemies can completely avoid every trap and it doesn’t matter how many traps you place, there are always a few orcs, trolls or other uglies that survived it. For me that makes Orcs Must Die! 3 special, I love the tower defence genre but I’m not always in the mood to watch how my turrets and walls hold up. That’s very different in this game, you’ll need to make your hands dirty!
- Is this Fortnite? | When you see someone else play this, at first glance you would think it is Fortnite with orcs. Everything looks very cartoony colorful and the characters are very attractive to look at. What makes it really stand out is the comical animation effects from lighting or ice. The numbers are whatmakes it impressive, it is one thing to see a few orcs and trolls but when they spawn with hundreds things become neat to look at.
- Reward-system and upgrading | Keep your rift 100% intact in a fast time and you’ll earn the most skulls, each mission can give a set amount of them and will be used to purchase or upgrade traps and items. With the reward system you have a fine reason to replay the campaign missions and improving or expanding your available traps is very addictive too. Everything has basic upgrades, for example doing more damage, having a shorter spawn time or improving the duration. You also have two unique upgrades that drastically change how a trap works. My favorite is the electrified spike trap that stuns enemies and increases damage. Picking the right upgrades can make the difference! You can always refund skulls, which is actually something you’ll regularly do as not all campaign levels are made for the same traps and tactics. And with war scenarios, special missions in the campaign mode that exclusively use some traps it doesn’t make much sense to keep them fully upgraded while playing normal missions.
- Scramble mode and content in general | In this mode you need to beat five tiers (levels) that get harder and harder. What makes it unique is that each tier has a buff and debuff, some traps can be reduced in cost or enemies can be immune to arcane or frost damage. After beating tiers you always have two options and you can reroll some debuffs too. It is a very fun way of playing Orcs Must Die! 3 as you never know how the game will transform. Looking at the complete game package it has more than enough content. Besides Scramble mode, you have an endless mode, two campaign levels within total 23 levels, weekly challenges that force a specific playstyle. Different characters, a lot of traps… yeah the replay value from this game is very good!
- War scenario missions | New for Orcs Must Die! 3 is a familiar mission type that you’ll find in the campaign called war scenario. Here defending the Rift changes in scale, a massive battleground awaits and you’ll need to defeat many more enemies. They spawn with hundreds and for that, you have specific traps that you can only use in these types of missions. You have five of them and two of them are facing extreme performance issues (more at the dislike section) but another thing I disliked was how this was created with two players in mind. Listen, I love co-op gameplay but IMO you need to be able to easily finish the campaign mode yourself. Luckily the new traps are powerful enough to hold your own but you’ll need to be creative.
What we disliked
- Huge performance issues with some war scenario missions | An insane amount of enemies and trap activations can happen in the war scenario missions, I previously praised the game for these massive battlefields but it comes with extreme performance issues. There’s so much going on that the game mechanics are overwhelmed and things go terribly wrong. Traps don’t activate, orcs vanish and respawn meters later and the frame rate takes nosedives faster than planes can in Xbox’s Flight Simulator. A bit ridiculous and weird that the developer decided to ship with this, having the vision to pull of massive war scenario’s is one thing, but it needs to be playable too. In all honesty, Robot Entertainment should have scrapped the last two war scenario’s as it was really annoying to finish them and left a sour taste on the total package.
How long to beat the story | 10 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 30+ hours
Similar with | It is a Musou game combined with tower defence, so it is pretty unique in its kind.
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