Orcs Must Die finally returns to PC after 8 years absence and one year of Stadia exclusivity. I am happy to report that the wait was indeed worth it. My memory of the old games may be hazy, but it feels just as good as I remember, in fact in ways it is better.
Our hero Maximillian has gone missing after the events of the first game and as the second showed the fight with the orcs is far from over. There is surprisingly a lot of world building in the game that consists of 2 campaigns, I will not say much more about the story, as it is nothing special but a solid surprising addition. My only disappointment is there are 2 characters in the new full-length campaign. The problem with that is you have 2 options a ranged black male with a bow with a cruddy character, or a female white chick with a blunderbuss whose character is not much better, it reeks of pandering.
The white male protag is gone and now you are forced to choose between a white woman and a black male it could not be more pandering, quite frankly I would have liked to see a custom char maker. There is nothing wrong with being a black male or a white female, but there is nothing deep about their characters and could have easily been replaced by a custom avatar, so the player is free to play who they want rather than having an agenda forced onto them with generic replaceable characters.
ORCS MUST DIE 3 is surprisingly decent visually, it is by no means nothing special, but the textures look great that unique goofy art style is still there, effects look very decent, the package overall is very solid. It is by far the best looking OMD and clearly had a higher budget than the other games. I have absolutely 0 complaints about the visual package.
The one thing I would say however is the AA solution adds a lot of blur, so I would strongly advise downloading reshade (https://reshade.me/) and installing it into OMD3 with the standard config so you can enable AMD CAS sharpening, do not change any values, the default setting clears up the image nicely, eliminating the blur.
If you were hoping for traditional OMD gameplay you got it. This is the OMD we all know and love with 2 new characters with decent unique abilities such as gliding at the cost of mana. The usual mechanics are here co op up to two players, 3 difficulty levels and the usual strategy tower defence gameplay.
There are a lot of new additions to the games such as new traps, weapons, trinkets and so on. There is more variety than ever before, each item regardless of trap, trinket, weapon and so on has multiple upgrade paths, 2 traits (where one can be active at the same time) and a special trait one fully upgraded.
The level design is top quality OMD, and there is a lot of enemy variety from the get go, in fact it has been quite impressive how quick new enemies were introduced, the game is not shy of throwing new things at you constantly rather than maintaining a status quo for multiple missions before giving you a new challenge. This is one of the games many strong points.
There is a lot of replay value in here due to the upgrades and difficulties and the wealth of modes. The main campaign consists of 18 missions, majority utilizing our new heroes but some being war scenarios, which show the great mage and his past battles. There is also a 2nd campaign where you get to play as Maximillian, there are 5 missions, this was previously additional DLC for the Stadia release.
There is also an endless mode, weekly challenges and it has launched with a new mode that has just been released, scramble. In scramble you battle orcs across 5 random levels as both sides escalate in power. In Scramble Mode, you have just one enhanced pool of rift points across all 5 levels, so you will need to carefully choose your buffs, debuffs, and loadouts to survive. A wealth of content and ways to keep the formula interesting have clearly been a key objective for Robot Entertainment, it has paid off in spades, making this the strongest entry in the OMD franchise. The only weak point is the weapons lack visual feedback.
OMD 3’s sound package is a mixed bag, the sound effects and so on are average and merely serviceable, and I would like to see more audio feedback on weapons. However, the soundtrack, while nothing special is great to listen to has a lot of energy and brilliant riffs. It absolutely fits the game and elevates the mood; in fact, I am quite tempted to buy the soundtrack as it’s that fun rock and metal vibe that’s great to have in the background when studying or doing other things. The game overall delivers on this front too.
I7 8700K @4.7GHz on all cores
ASUS TUF Z370 Z370-PRO GAMING MOBO
ASUS RTX 3080 TUF OC
16GB LL DDR4 @3600MHz
Now performance from a layman’s perspective is fine. I do however have some issues, even though frame times have been locked with RTSS to 140, and I never dip below it there is a 0.2ms frame time fluctuation, when there should be none, it is tiny and not really noticeable. In addition to that, on the GPU side, the usage seems quite high at 1440p, maxed out the game does run at a locked 140 on alot of levels, however it does dip below on later levels to the 120 range.GPU usage can go as high as 95% and the load is almost always above 60, for what the game is doing visually, such as the basic geometry and effects and the tiny areas mission take place, using this much of a 3080 is absurd. The game will run well on many rigs depending on the frame rate you are targeting but the usage could be much lower.
At 30 USD, OMD3 is a no brainer purchase for me. If you like tower defence games where you have a playable character on the field, you can do no better from my experience. If you enjoyed the old games, you will absolutely love this entry, as it is genuinely the best in the franchise. It is brimming with content, has a lot of replayabillity a with a lot of thought put into player experience. I could not be happier to see this franchise return, especially when it is better than ever.