Has anyone stopped to consider why orcs must die? No? Well, okay then. As long as we're blindly following that statement, we can at least take advantage of new ways to dispatch the green-skinned irritants. Gameforge and Robot Entertainment have announced Orcs Must Die! Unchained, a multiplayer adaptation of the third-person tower defence game.
Judging from the announcement and its trailer, the game does look a bit MOBA-ish. That said, there is some of the old OMD DNA on show, leading to the hope that this will be an interesting angle on the idea, rather than another me-too grab at the genre's massive audience. For one thing, there's also a card-collecting element.
It's a 5 vs 5 game (naturally), in which you pick from a roster of varied heroes (naturally), escort your minions (naturally), and attempt to destroy your opponent's fortress (naturally). The addition of the Orcs Must Die! trap template provides the potential for more divergent tactics, but this is perhaps not the most exciting return for the series.
The game will be free-to-play when it launches later this year. As is the way of these things, a beta is currently running, but requires the purchase of a founders pack to access.
Humble Jumbo Bundle. That's quite a mouthful, and if you say it ten times fast it will summon both Beetlejuice and Candyman and open a portal to the underworld. So, y'know, it's probably best to avoid that. However, it's also the name of the Humble Bundle's latest pay-what-you-want sale, which this time discounts Sanctum 2, Magicka with two bits of DLC, and Natural Selection 2. Beat the average and you'll also get Orcs Must Die 2, Garry's Mod and Serious Sam 3: BFE throw in too. If your bank account wasn't summarily emptied during the course of the Steam sale, it might be worth a look.
That average, at the time of writing, stands at $4.10, so you won't have to fork out much of your pay packet/poker winnings/pocket money to get your hands on those six games. The charities receiving some or all or none of your money this time are Watsi and Child's Play, and there will of course be more games added to the deal over time.
The Humble Jumbo Bundle ends in a little over 13 days.
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.
Today's helping of news we didn't post includes a shiny Resident Evil 6 trailer and a quip montage from a truly deranged little girl in Borderlands 2, among others. Also, Gangnam Style synchronized Skyrim dance. Enough said.
The official Tokyo Game Show trailer for Resident Evil 6 how things went tentacled-pear-shape. At first glance, Tiny Tina seems like a displaced unfortunate in Borderlands 2's cutthroat world of Pandora. That's when she starts talking. Just Cause 2's mayhem-filled multiplayer mod helped along a "brighter future" for the franchise, according to developer Avalanche. Contrary to what dwarves tell you, orcs just don't pop out of the ground, and Orcs Must Die! 2's $5 Family Ties DLC (releasing tomorrow on Steam) proves it with the biggest orc matriarch wielding an even bigger spiked ball of death. Watch a cop-evading sportster slowly trade rubber for mud in Need for Speed: Most Wanted's latest trailer.
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?
Orcs must be shot, burnt, stabbed, crushed, impaled, frozen, catapaulted, dissolved in acid, turned into chickens, or forced to murder each other. They must die, and specifically they must die between leaving a large set of double doors and reaching a magical portal. You can cause this through a combination of placing traps and shooting them yourself. In fact, you must.
Orcs Must Die 2 is a cross between a tower defense game and a third person shooter, and like its predecessor, it is excellent. This is not a coincidence: it's a bunch of new enemies, traps, weapons and game modes for the same underlying game. The major change is what felt like Orcs Must Die's most obvious omission: 2-player co-op.
The challenge and the pleasure of the original was in constructing a perfect killzone: the exact combination of traps and barriers that inflict the maximum possible dying on the maximum possible orcs. In co-op, inevitably, that's tough: funds are split between the two of you, and you're usually going to have different ideas about how they should be spent. But the map design almost always gives you more than one stream of orcs to intercept, so you tackle half of them each.
My side of the map is lined with Acid Sprayers and guarded by Paladins, who keep the hordes busy while they get their flesh hosed off. My partner Matt's side hangs heavy with swinging maces, and the floor is a sea of debilitating gloop. Inevitably one of us gets overwhelmed, and the other falls back to help finish off the orcs that slip through.
That's great fun. But it's also the cause of the game's biggest problem: co-op isn't a separate campaign, and most of the later maps feel like they were designed for two players. Some have six entry points and two portals to protect, and orcs can come from a new route with only a few seconds' notice. Alone, it's a mad stress to try to divide your attention and resources between all of these, and some levels seem impossible to do well without help.
It exacerbates one of the first game's problems: too little information about what's coming. You're forewarned about enemy types, but not proportions or distribution, which leads to a painful amount of trial and error. I played one map perfectly for 40 minutes, then failed it outright when the final wave included a huge number of fire-proof enemies. A few of my traps were fire-based, and that dooms you on this particular map. Start again.
It's less frustrating once you've unlocked enough equipment to have the luxury of restrategising. All of the traps, weapons, perks and upgrades are now unlocked with a single unified system: earn skulls for good performance, spend skulls to unlock or improve things. It's much more compelling than the weird mix the first game used, and being able to earn better kit by grinding the new Endless mode or re-doing previous maps mitigates the balance problems.
The array of kit on offer is massive, the range of upgrades for each is exciting, and you'll be unlocking great new stuff long after you finish the campaign. My new favourite is the Polymorph weapon: it can permanently transform any enemy into something random. Sometimes that's an even tougher enemy, other times it's a chicken. So keep doing it until it's a chicken.
I'm itching to play again once I finish this. If you have someone to team up with, get it without hesitation. If you don't, hesitate slightly, then notice it's only £12/$15 and get it anyway.
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.