Of Orcs and Men is a fantasy action RPG game made by Cyanide Studios and Spiders. It was released cross-platform on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and of course the PC. It was released last year in October, but I recently got my hands on it and was immediately impressed with its vibrant landscapes and interesting story.
Of Orcs and Men sets you on the opposite of the story that most fantasy stories are set in. Instead of you playing a Human in a War against the endless hordes of Orcs, you play an Orc against endless waves of Humans. In this setting you are an Orc that is part of a rapidly depleting population. Orcs in this world are used for Labor and then killed, and Orcs are used mostly as servants. They are lesser than men, and are therefore shunned in society. The story beginnings with you being told that you are a butcher, or an Orc that killed many humans. You and three other Orcs are sent on a suicidal mission to start a Orcish revolution by killing the Emperor of man. You first task is to meet up with a Goblin. However, in this realm, Goblins are never known to talk, just mostly scurry away and live underground. This goblin named Styx can talk, and is perhaps the only known Goblin that can. The gameplay then starts, with you and Styx running around a town trying to complete your mission. Along the way you’ll meet up with people sympathetic to your cause, that will help you out. You will also gain gear, level up, and fight a lot of people in process.
Most of the game involves you sneaking around past humans in a town or fighting them. You can choose to skip most fights, or go head first into them. At first it may seem like a good idea to skip a lot of the fights, however that is not a great idea at all. When you win a fight you gain experience to level up and learn new abilities. This is crucial when you enter an unavoidable fight, of which there are plenty. In those fights, it may be necessary to stun your opponent by using an ability that you must learn. However, if you skipped a lot of fights you many not have said ability making the fight tougher or maybe even impossible.
Throughout the game you are paired with Styx, a goblin that can speak. During fights he is a great ally wielding two daggers and throwing knives. He can also stealth and deal more damage to enemies from behind. His draw back is that he is very fragile. You technically play as both characters and you tactically switch between them to set up your attacks. The other character you play mostly is known as the Butcher. He is a brute and his attacks deal quite a bit of damage. However his draw back is that the more you do damage and take damage you build a rage meter. When this meter is full, the Butcher begins berserking, which allows him to deal more damage, but he takes more damage too. Also, he cannot ascertain who he is attack so he can also attack and kill the fragile Styx. You lose when both characters are knocked out, however when one is knocked out the other can revive the other. It’s a medley of tactics and concentration to win most fights.
The game play is rather difficult, and it’s very rewarding when you do actually win. As you progress through the game, you get loot which you can equip to increase the stats of your character. At the first safe zone in the game where you meet a lot of characters and learn important story content, you can buy and sell gear. You can also challenge the many people here to duels to get more information or items that will help you in your journey.
Personally, I was surprised at how good the environments were. The story was typical for the genre, but it had some cool twists that made it a little more unique that most. I was also impressed with the dialogue, especially that of Styx who threw me for a loop when he first started talking. I really enjoyed this game, and I suggest it to anyone who enjoys this genre and gameplay style.
You can find the game on Steam.