We've been covering the Orcs Must Die! series since its inception -- actually, it was one of our very first camera interviews ever -- and have followed it through the second iteration. The first OMD shipped as a single-player, traps-oriented game that encouraged Rube Goldberg-lite combos to pulverize orcs. The idea centered on tower defense mechanics (prevent the bad guys from getting to the end) mixed with on-the-ground action-RPG mechanics. The second game -- cleverly named "Orcs Must Die! 2" -- introduced co-operative play between two players. It was a much-needed refresh that we largely enjoyed within our team.
I suppose I'll take the opportunity to mention that OMD! is made by Robot Entertainment, a studio that's largely formed of refugees from Microsoft's now-dissolved Ensemble Studios - the makers of Age of Empires and other RTS games.
The newest game was unveiled at PAX East 2014 this weekend and brings F2P 5v5 combat to the series. In playing Unchained on-site, the game felt like one part MOBA, one part action-RPG, and many parts Orcs Must Die! (that is to say: blood, giblets, and gratuitous amounts of cartoon death). Let's do the interview thing before we jump to further details:
When I was first given the game Echo Prime by Robot Entertainment, I have to admit it looked slightly amusing but limited in overall entertainment value. I am pleased to say that I could not have been more wrong. Echo Prime has become one of my all-time favorite small studio games after playing it for the past few weeks. Every single battle feels fluid, every movement consistent, and every choice meaningful. That is not to say the game is perfect or without flaws—some of them glaring—but overall the experience was highly enjoyable and required very little concerted effort to find interesting new ways to slaughter aliens and robots alike.
In Echo Prime, you play as our space-venturing hero, traveling the galaxy to fight off the Slivers - a little-known alien race hell-bent on destroying the rest of the galaxy. Sort of like AT&T. The Hero is equipped with energy swords and heavy-duty firearms, because disemboweling them isn't enough -- but disemboweling and head-shotting seems, oh, ample.
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