Of Orcs and Men is third-person action RPG from Cyanide and Spiders, the minds behind Mars: War Logs, Aarklash Legacy, Bound by Flame, Blood Bowl and many others. The closest analogy in design and mechanics to this game would probably be Mass Effect 1.
Turning the genre on it's head, instead of playing the plucky human fighting evil, you play as a duo of “greenskins”, an enormous Orc name Arkail and a small Goblin named Styx fighting the evil human empire intent on wiping you out. Both characters, especially Styx, are endlessly entertaining, Styx the comic foil to Arkail's enduring determined colossus. There is an admirable literary quality here, not just good vs. evil, though the fact that every third line contains the f-word can at times see it return it to baser roots. Both character can take part in conversations in the now standard “Bioware” dialogue wheel and choosing which character talks can result in wildly varying outcomes.
Each main character has three combat stances, Attack/special/defense for Arkail and Melee/special/ranged for Styx. Hitting the right shoulder button on the controller allows you to slow time to a crawl and select your various abilities and queue up to 4 at a time on each character. Both characters have a resource to manage, Styx uses concentration to power his abilities, use it too quickly and he is left with only an auto-attack while it recharges. Arkail however uses rage. Use too many offensive attacks too quickly and he can go berserk, doing huge amounts of damage, but becoming more vulnerable to attack and sometimes even killing Styx! Arkail's defensive stance slows the rage buildup, but he also does less damage.
Arkail and Styx are a duo and they function best when they work together. The best strategy I found was to use Arkail in his defensive stance to group taunt everyone and then stun them while Styx would go around debuffing/poisoning and finishing them off one by one. As you level up each character gets an addition point that can be used to either buy a new ability or upgrade one with the addition of a choice of effect. Later in the game each character can choose an “advanced” class adding 3 further abilities to their special stance tree. There is an impressive number of skills and strategies to use and at higher difficulty levels you will need them!
Maybe the most important strategy is using Styx's stealth ability. Large groups of enemies can be thinned out before a fight by having Styx go into stealth mode and assassinate enemies at the edges. But watch out for dogs, they can smell Styx coming!
The game isn't particularly loot heavy. While each character has a weapon, gloves, top, pants and accessory slot, there are at most 6 or so different armor sets and weapons for each character in the game. You are also able to buy an upgrade for each item and you should do this as early as possible. This is not an easy game and a full set of upgraded gear will provide a noticeable lift in you damage output and survivability.
The graphics are very decent, though maybe not as sharp as they could be, but the character models of the two mains are fantastic, Styx especially. The voice acting is patchy, Arkail and Styx are great so are most of the Orc's but some of the humans are pretty average. The game also has a very nice classical score though at times the mood of the music seemed a little out with what was going on on screen.
While not particularly long, 12 hours give or take, the ambition and new experience it offers makes this a very worthy addition to the Action RPG genre and Styx apparently has his own spin-off game coming soon!