You’re welcome, teammates
You wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but I’ve played a video game or two in my day. No, my life isn’t all pining over closed Wendy’s and listening to Fastball. I’ve been known to “get down” with the interactive entertainment from time to time.
That’s why, while it may have been a surprise to everyone else in the meeting, I was not at all amazed by my Orcs Must Die! Unchained proficiency. I was expecting it. Dead tired from days and miles of GDCing, I still mustered the energy to put on a clinic. I was Steph Curry if Steph’s teammates all had the athletic acumen of your average games journalist. Now, I’m not saying I’m a national hero, but I am saying that I don’t know how everyone restrained themselves from throwing me up on their shoulders and parading me around the room.
Let’s rewind a bit. What I was playing was Orcs Must Die! Unchained, the new five-player cooperative mode. I’ve had slight exposure to the game before, having also previewed it in Boston a few years back. It has changed since then, developer Robot Entertainment tweaking it along the way to be a better free-to-play experience.
This five-player co-op is new for the franchise. It takes that tower defense aspect that made the original Orcs Must Dies popular and adds a handful of friends to the mix. Orcs are hellbent on getting through to your rift, and you’re of the mindset that orcs must die. Classic conflict material.
I — for all intents and purposes completely unfamiliar with the game — took to it like a pro. Within minutes I was throwing down traps, flinging orcs off the side of the map, and building my unchained meter at an unthinkably quick clip. Playing as a little Gimli-lookin’ dwarf dude, I murdered so many orcs — most of them on a modest-sized floor pad that exponentially increased the amount of gold I earned. The rich get richer.
Over the course of ten waves, we (this is my humility showing; the correct pronoun here is “I”) flawlessly handled every orc sent our way. Not a single one made it through to the rift. The post-game stats screen confirmed what I already knew: I am very good at Orcs Must Die! Unchained. I dealt more than double the damage of anyone else on the team. It was like that movie The Natural except with video games instead of baseball. (For what it’s worth, I am also very good at baseball.)
The most surprising part? I enjoyed it. I felt like Steven when he had fun playing Paragon. A MOBA?! And it’s fun? My parents raised me better than this! (Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be games journalists.)
If those seven paragraphs of very obvious self-stroking don’t have you convinced, it’s easy enough for you to determine for yourself if Orcs Must Die! Unchained in its newest form is your jam. The game’s going into open beta tomorrow, March 29. It’s free, available to everyone — all that jazz. Just pray you get matched up with me. I’m unbeaten in my Orcs Must Die! career, and I don’t plan on losin’ anytime soon.