Doesn't Orcs Must Die contain enough ways to make Orcs die? No. Surely we can get a little more murderously creative than dissolving the brutes in acid or transmogrifying them into chickens. Fortunately, Orcs Must Die! 2 has now been bestowed with Steam Workshop support. Tweak those traps, figure out the most satisfying method of julienning the lumbering oafs, and then share proudly with your friends.
The details are over on Robot Entertainment's website, but the gist of it is that you'll be able to combine the models of pre-existing traps with new textures, stats, upgrade designs, and visual effects. Is your preferred method of orc removal currently unavailable in game? You can probably make it happen now. I've always wondered what it'd be like to boil somebody alive in soup.
You'll be able to mess around with creatures and wave timing in existing fortresses to create new arenas for your happy little bloodbaths, and re-texture the War Mage or Sorceress costumes to your heart's content. There's already a ton of player submissions on Orcs Must Die! 2's Workshop page including the Face-Melting Blunderbuss and a Rapid-Fire Crossbow. And because grinding meat isn't enough joy on its own, you'll "soon" be able to celebrate with Steam Trading Cards, too.
STEAM The magic of QuakeCon has cut a modest 25% off of Steam's Bethesda/id Software catalog for the weekend, with bigger deals rotating daily. At the time of writing, RAGE is 50% off. (Note: see below for possibly better deals.)
50% off RAGE - $9.99 25% off The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - $44.99 25% off Hunted: The Demon’s Forge - $14.99 25% off Fallout: New Vegas - $14.99 25% off Fallout 3: GOTY Edition - $14.99 25% off The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion GOTY Edition - $14.99 25% off The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind GOTY Edition - $14.99 75% off Titan Quest - $3.74 More Steam deals
GAMEFLY GameFly's QuakeCon sale is just like Steam's, except -- what's this? RAGE is cheaper on GameFly. And so is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Huh! Keep an eye on it.
GAMESTOP Again with the QuakeCon deals, and again with a couple better prices than Steam. (What's going on? I'm scared.) GameStop currently has RAGE for $6.79 and Skyrim for $40.19 (same as last week for that one). I've listed a few unrelated deals below:
75% off Orcs Must Die! GOTY - $3.24 50% off Quantum Conundrum - $7.49 66% off Supreme Commander 2 - $4.99 50% off Borderlands - $9.99
GET GAMES A new challenger! Instead of riding along on the QuakeCon bandwagon, Get Games is offering discounts on Take 2 and Batman games.
30% off Civilization V: Gods & Kings - $20.99 70% off Civilization V - $8.99 75% off Civilization III Complete - $1.25 75% off Civilization IV Complete - $7.49 70% off Mafia II - $8.99 60% off Bioshock 2 - $7.99 65% off Batman Arkham City - $6.99 45% off Batman Arkham Asylum GOTY - $10.99 50% off LEGO Batman - $9.99 75% off Stronghold 3 Gold - $9.99
AMAZON Though Amazon is usually a discount powerhouse, it's way down here this week because it's got a pretty stagnant rotation of deals lately. The only major new addition I could find this week is The Darkness II, and that's not very major.
Checking hardware, I did see that most GeForce GTX 670s and GTX 680s are at least a little discounted. Newegg's prices look to be about the same, though, so cross-reference.
75% off The Darkness II - $12.49 25% off Empire: Total War - $15.05 72% off Mount & Blade - $4.17 50% off Mount & Blade: Warband - $10.03 26% off Dragon Age 2 - $14.74 25% off Mass Effect 2 - $14.92 71% off Trine - $5.83 50% off Mount & Blade: Warband - $9.95 27% off Dungeon Siege 3 - $14.68 50% off Tropico 4 - $19.99 26% off Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 - $14.84 More Amazon PC game downloads
GOG This week's alliterative sale takes 50% off Tremendous TopWare Titles.
If you find any great deals I missed, please do share them in the comments. Additionally, I thought this might be a good space to start sharing what we'll be playing this weekend. I plan to leave Civilization V: Gods & Kings on the ground to conquer the stars in Endless Space. Probably some EVE Online too. Space: it's really, really great. What are you up to?
STEAM It's a sequel hype-up weekend on Steam: Borderlands and its GOTY edition are both 75% off, as is Orcs Must Die! (There's also an Orcs Must Die! 2 demo available now, so have some of that.)
75% off Borderlands: Game of the Year - $7.49 75% off Orcs Must Die! Game of the Year - $3.24 82% off Civilization Collection - $24.99 66% off Ys The Oath in Felghana - $5.09
AMAZON Amazon is running the same Borderlands deal as Steam, and many of the usuals are on sale as...usual.
75% off Borderlands Game of the Year Edition - $7.49 80% off Burning Hot Bundle - $7.99 72% off Mount & Blade - $4.17 50% off Mount & Blade: Warband - $10.03 61% off Dragon Age 2 - $7.81 25% off Mass Effect 2 - $14.92 71% off Trine - $5.83 50% off Mount & Blade: Warband - $9.95 27% off Dungeon Siege 3 - $14.68 52% off Tropico 4 - $19.17 26% off Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 - $14.84 More Amazon PC game downloads
GAMEFLY GameFly returns to the list this week with 50% off Max Payne 3 and 75% off Mirror's Edge. Nice!
50% off Max Payne 3 - $29.99 75% off Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction - $5.00 75% off Mirror's Edge - $5.00 50% off Nexuiz - $5.00 More GameFly deals
GAMESTOP Bethesda games are up to 50% off this weekend on GameStop.
33% off The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - $40.19 50% off RAGE - $9.99 50% off Hunted: The Demon's Forge - $9.99 50% off The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind GOTY Edition - $9.99 50% off The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion GOTY Deluxe Edition - $12.49
GOG "Awesome Adventure Games" are 50% off on GOG this weekend. The list includes some personal favorites: The 11th Hour, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, and Little Big Adventure (a.k.a Twinsen's Odyssey).
More game deals
Green Man Gaming's Summ...oh wait, Winter Sale Update: I don't usually add pre-order deals, but it has come to my attention (thanks commenters!) that Green Man is offering Borderlands 2 pre-orders for $40 with the voucher: PARTP-ALCNO-TIESU.
If you find any great deals we missed, the comments are a lovely place to share them.
Some, but not too many Orcs Must Die! A demo is now available for Orcs Must Die! 2, through Steam. It offers two levels of solo and co-op Orc melting that'll introduce a few new traps and let you run around as new character, The Sorceress. The game will be properly released next week. To celebrate, the original Orcs Must Die! is available now for a quarter of its usual price. Buying it will unlock "10 classic maps" in the sequel.
For more, have a look at our Orcs Must Die! 2 preview and check out the trailer below.
Orcs Must Die! 2 is out at the end of the month. If you're already sold on the idea of Orcs Must Die! with new traps, a new sorceress character and co-op, then you might want to take advantage of the pre-purchase deal on Steam at the moment, which lets you buy the game early at 10% off, which makes it £10.79 / $13.49 or £17.99 / $22.49 for a double pack. Andrew went hands-on with the sequel at Pax earlier this year, and it sounds as though it's shaping up rather nicely, though part of me still feels slightly sorry for all the Orcs I mushed last time around.
Have I told you how brilliant Orcs Must Die! is recently? I probably have, I say it a lot. Did you know the developers, Robot Entertainment also made an IOS turn based battle game called Hero Academy? Well if you didn't, now you do, and you should also know that Eurogamer are reporting that it's coming to Steam.
The Steam version of the game will allow for cross platform play with the iOS version, letting you show those trendy Apple folk just who knows more about turn based combat. Oh, and if you own the game on both formats, they'll sync up too. Also, getting the PC version gives you a new squad of heroes based on adorable big headed versions of Team Fortress 2 characters. There's nothing about this announcement that isn't brilliant.
Hero Academy has been out on IOS for several months now, and has gotten a lot of praise so far. Even PC Gamer's own Chris Thursten has spent many a lunchtime furiously tapping away as his iPhone because of it. The game is simple, two teams face each other across a battle grid trying to destroy each others crystals. Each turn lets you re-arrange your troops, bring in new ones or use abilities, then you send it off. When the other player has figured out his move, the game proceeds. Like Frozen Synapse, you're free to have as many games as you want on the go at once, so you're never just sitting around waiting for your opponent to log in.
Hero Academy will arrive on PC on the 8th of August.
Warm up your war-magery! The sequel to Robot Entertainment's 3rd-person tower defense/hack and slash hit will be landing with the splat of many orc corpses on July 30th.
The dev press release proclaims: "Orcs Must Die! 2 thrusts players and their friends back into battle against a terrifying mob of orcs and other monsters. With a redesigned spellbook, players will have a broader range of options to build a deadly arsenal of defenses. Investing hard-earned skulls in an enormous new upgrade system will allow players to cater to their favorite methods of burning, grinding, tossing, or dismembering orcs."
In addition to being able to play the entire game co-op (courtesy of the new Sorceress character, who is described as focusing more on finesse than the classic War Mage), the upgrade system has been overhauled so that you can replay the same level for skulls as many times as you want. As opposed to the original, which only awarded you skulls for performing better on a level than you had previously. We're also promised more traps, weapons, spells, and enemies.
As a final note, the release reveals, "As a special bonus, players who own the original Orcs Must Die! on PC will unlock exclusive content in the sequel." So if you haven't yet checked out the original, now may be the time to immerse yourself up the the waist in goblin-based carnage.
The tower defense genre was dying off quickly by 2011. After some huge successes like Plants vs Zombies, the genre had been marred by a slew of cheap tie-ins (particularly on iPhone) and a gameplay paradigm that never seemed to evolve. Then came Orcs Must Die, a wildly original and incredibly fun take on the same-old formula. It turned the world's slowest, most boring genre into a fresh and exciting new hit that was extremely popular with fans.
The Apprentice's incessantly snarky comments may not have won over our hearts, but gameplay that revolved around finding new ways to kill thousands of orcs certainly did. Now, just 6 months later there's a sequel in the works, and we had a chance to try it out this weekend at PAX East.
So far it seems like Robot Entertainment knows that they had a great title on their hands with the original OMD. The general gameplay remains mostly unchanged except for a few key tweaks and additions. First and foremost is cooperative play, the one thing that fans of the original had been clamoring for since first laying hands on the original.
We're happy to report that cooperative play is utterly seamless, and it's a revelation to be able to rely on a partner to help take care of things. In the original title, the more difficult maps could get downright stressful as the hordes mounted and you lost control of the mob. Being able to coordinate with a teammate cuts down on that substantially...if you coordinate.
Fortunately, it's much less essential to communicate during waves. The level my partner and I played consisted of two routes and a ramp in the middle. So it was fairly simple to block off the ramp then both of us could focus on one side independently. Only when things got especially hairy did we have to chat and strategize.
There are some tools that facilitate cooperation though. Players can bring a healing tool that restores their health at all times when it's equipped, but can heal their partner with its alternate fire. The developer leading our demo session said there are fewer ways to get healed now (though he didn't elaborate on what was cut out) so cooperation can be important.
We were also told that the weavers are gone this time. In the previous game they served as a leveling system, allowing you to select new powers and buffs in each level. They're being replaced by the ability to level up traps even more than before. Each trap and ability will have multiple levels to buy, adding more customization to the meta-game, but possibly less for each level.
You'll also notice some changes to the main weapon carried by the main character. It's now a much slower-paced shotgun-esque weapon, though our demo lead said that the original crossbow can be acquired later in the game. The sorceress co-op companion carries a much faster shooting staff that has four separate firing modes. The quick fire will be familiar to fans of the original orcs. It's bolts shoot at a similar rate as the old crossbow if you're rapidly clicking.
Holding the mouse will get you two different stages of power. The final stage becomes something of a magic missile that explodes enemies on contact and hits nearby orcs with splash damage. The alternate fire is the most interesting though. One click gives you a ranged charm spell which forces any enemy to fight for you for a few seconds.
Orcs Must Die 2 doesn't seem to be taking any risks at all. That said, most fans of the original will probably be extremely pleased to hear that. So while it's not exactly the most exciting new game on the horizon, it's a retread of a formula we're already love.
Deus Ex: a game so good it gave us actual neuroses about its sequels. Invisible War, a shonky but interesting and sometimes hilarious shooter, became reviled as a crime against gaming for declaring itself to be Deus Ex 2. And when Human Revolution started looking seriously, seriously good, none of us could quite believe it.
But it happened. This third game has the wealth of alternate routes and versatile tools that made Deus Ex great, and expands it with huge city hubs, packed with more sidequests and background story than the original ever had. It reworks the system for augmenting yourself to give you trickier choices between more powerful abilities. And all of those abilities are more slickly designed and satisfying to use. It’s not better in every way, by any means, but nothing else comes this close.
It’s an action game, which our neuroses tell us is automatically bad, but most of the concessions to blockbuster accessibility are genuinely, and surprisingly positive. Melee was almost comically unconvincing in Deus Ex 1: now it’s jaw-droppingly brutal and consistently satisfying. A cover system seemed like a frightening departure, but it ended up making for a much more developed and complex stealth option.
Mainly, though, it’s just so good to have it back. It’s Deus Ex! But shinier! And we haven’t played it through 26 times yet! And DLC is coming out for it! And everyone’s sharing stories about the incredible things that happened to them, and all the ways the quests can play out, and all the people they punched in the face, and what aug builds they want next. Deus Ex 4 is bound to be shit, though.
Read our Deus Ex: Human Revolution review for more.
Orcs Must Die! was super cheap in the recent Steam Autumn Sale. If you missed it then, you've got another chance to pick it up for just £2.99 / $3.74 as part of this week's midweek deal on Steam. That's a quarter of the price you'd normally pay, for a game that scooped 90% in our Orcs Must Die! review. The deal lasts for another five hours or so.
It's a tower defence game with a twist. You play an arrogant wizard's apprentice tasked with holding back the green tide. The Orcs charge in huge hordes towards a portal that you must defend with inventive traps, deployable minions and your trusty rapid firing magical crossbow. Once you complete a level, your score is posted to a leaderboard automatically populated the scores your Steam friends earned. Things can get very competitive, very fast and the Orcs' enthusiasm for running headfirst into terrible danger never falters. We can't stop playing it.