PSX 2016 – Orcs Must Die! Unchained Preview – Prepare Your Traps (PS4)

If you like tower defense games, but want a little bit more to do while waves of enemies are coming at you, Orcs Must Die! Unchained might be the game for you. We took a look at the tower defense action game while at Sony’s annual PlayStation Experience event, and have a hands-on preview ready for you.

New for PlayStation

Orcs Must Die! Unchained is the first entry in the series to be released on a PlayStation console. The first game released on the Xbox 360 and Windows, while Orcs Must Die! 2 released on Windows only. A shift in graphical engines may account for the sudden inclusion of the PS4 – it’s now running on the Unreal Engine 3. While this isn’t the latest-and-greatest version of the graphical engine, for the game’s smaller, focused maps, it is more than adequate. Dozens of enemies would fill up a room, and the game hardly broke a sweat.

For our demo, I was placed in a melee character’s role, and a team of three was formed. Our goal was to defend our base’s core against ever more difficult waves of enemies. Prior to most waves, we were given ample time to set up defenses. These defenses could include spiked floors, incinerators, springboards, and more, along with barriers which could be used to funnel enemies in a certain direction. Each structure cost a certain amount of money, earned by killing enemies.

Controlling my character took a little bit of getting used to. A plethora of abilities and traps could be chosen by pressing L1 and R1, which seemed a bit overwhelming at first. However, once I realized that offensive attacks only occupied the first two or three slots, and the rest were for structures to be placed between waves, things became much more manageable. My offensive abilities included various swipes, biting enemies to regain health, and summoning minions of my own to attack. Other players included archers and mages, who suited more ranged play styles. Of course, if I earned enough money, I could place a trap or obstacle during a wave of enemies, which added to my strategic options a bit.

Fun Art Style

The art of Orcs Must Die! Unchained is highly stylized, with intense colors and plenty of bright, flashy effects to go around once the action starts. Think World of Warcraft, but with brighter hues and friendlier-looking orcs. Note I said friendlier-looking – they’ll most certainly try to kill you as soon as you get within striking distance.

Orcs Must Die! Unchained is destined to be on the playlist of many a tower defense fan. Since the game is going to be free-to-play, it really should end up on every gamer’s playlist at some point in time. While true PvP has been dropped in the most recent update to the game’s launch plans, the co-op on offer appears to play each character off one another, and should encourage fun teamwork. Robot Entertainment is hard at work getting Orcs Must Die! Unchained ready for release, but in the meantime, the game is in open beta on PC here.