The Lord of Orcs: Online Strategy and Tactics Review
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The Lord of Orcs: Online Strategy and Tactics Review

Our Review by Rob Thomas on June 17th, 2014
Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar :: GENERIC GREENSKINS
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Orcs. You know them. You love (to kill) them. But it's hard to get excited about playing as them in this uninspired RTS.

Developer: RagCat Games
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.8.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar
Playtime Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar

In almost every fantasy setting they’ve appeared in, orcs are the go-to generic enemy. Need a massive rampaging horde to raid the countryside? Or how about a faceless humanoid enemy player characters can feel relatively conscience-free about slaughtering wholesale? Orcs always fit the bill quite nicely. But that same generic-ness that makes them so plug-and-play ready also tends to make them dreadfully boring. Would that I could say RagCat Games’ The Lord of Orcs bucks that trend and makes them into compelling protagonists. But sadly, I cannot.

It’s not that RagCat doesn’t do their best to dress these orcs up with an attempt at a storyline of sorts. The problem is that the story isn’t interesting enough to prop up the equally weak RTS effort that underlies it all. The Lord of Orcs is divided into a series of chapters, further subdivided into goal-oriented missions. All the missions further the goal of raising the player’s clan to a position of strength and power, theoretically becoming the titular Lord. But really, the problem is that the game never stops feeling like an extended tutorial.

The process of building and upgrading your base, since it’s tied into the story mission progression, is so heavily guided and directed that there’s little-to-no reason to care about it. Sure there’s a degree of base layout strategy if you’re truly worried about PVP attacks from rival clans, but even that is a relatively toothless threat for the most part. Instead I just found myself sleepwalking through the game, waiting for upgrade timers to finish counting down so the next mission could be unlocked or for troops to train so I could take on yet another enemy camp that only requires the eventual death of several dozen troops to brute force through.

For such a warlike race, the combat in The Lord of Orcs is ridiculously unrefined. One could make a case that orcs aren’t exactly tactical geniuses, but these greenskins are less swamp-dwelling savages and something more akin to Warhammer’s gun-wielders by way of Mad Max’s post-apocalyptic tribal wasteland. I mean they have laboratories and technology, so they’re clearly far from stupid. Still, micro-management of troops is almost nonexistent and their unit pathing is abysmally poor. As I stated before, most fights consist of throwing piles of orcs at the enemy’s camp (you may as well throw them all, as even surviving orcs are considered lost at the end of combat) until they wear the structures down. Didn’t get it in one go? No worries. Fights can be resumed where they were left off, so just go train another battalion or three and continue washing that camp in a green tide until it falls.

I didn’t expect nuance and subtlety in a game called The Lord of Orcs, but other than the quite well-done artwork on the character portraits everything on display here is simple, basic, and crude. And while crude may be synonymous with orcs, most will be hard pressed to find enough redeeming qualities under the grime to really care.

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