Traditional role-playing games have always contrasted from the fantasy era of literature with goblins and orcs. Some of the greatest stories ever told have been through that medieval fantasy of a world riddled with wars between human, orcs, goblins & elves but Of Orcs and Men just stands as another title in the genre.
CLASSIC FANTASY RPG
Real-Time & Turn-Based Gameplay - I was surprised to see someone implement both live-action & turn-based combat together in one game... at the same time. I was even more surprised at how well it worked. One of the problems that I’ve had with turn-based combat is that it seems to give me just too much time to make a decision but the fact that players can decide combat options while the battle still continues very slowly opens an idea that both can work functionally together.
With allowing gamers to use shortcut buttons (the back two triggers) to map certain combos between the two characters, it opens completely new possibilities to the video game role-playing genre. Despite having a problem with only having a few options, I was happy with this functionality of the core gameplay.
Music to My Ears...Almost - The music made the experience enjoyable as the composer kept a nice balance between missions and just hanging out in a hideout. During the ending, I enjoyed the music immensely. The audio for combat, however, is completely forgettable as I didn’t really notice any sounds that popped or sounded like it would work in such a setting.
BORING GAME PROBLEMS
Believable World? - While the world is obviously setup to function as a video game, it also functions pretty well for what would be considered a medieval war between multiple fantasy races however believable it maybe. Other than some of the environments, I just feel like it’s become a modernization of what would happen back then while the characters use modern phrases and use contemporary swear words that wouldn’t be very appreciated by anyone back then.
During cut scenes, the characters perform their dialog but their lips don’t match the motion that well as the articulation is one fluid animation for however the animators would have been able to manipulate thus animations to the best of their ability. With those cut scenes and sometimes picture-based cinematics, I just didn’t feel like Of Orcs and Men was in a believable world.
Loading Issues - Despite enjoying the music, some of the audio queues weren’t always ready after a checkpoint was saving or after a cut scene. There would be a good one or two seconds of utter silence while your character either continued on or was stuck frozen where he stood when loading a new environment. I even came across a checkpoint that briefly cut to black screen for a few frames which was completely unexpected.
After playing through the first few minutes of the game, I could feel like I just didn’t enjoy the game. With poor presentation that including bad graphics & audio issues, Of Orcs and Men is a forgettable role-playing game that will only be remembered for the hybrid combination of turn-based & live action gameplay. Along with loading issues that took away from gameplay immersion, I just can’t suggest the game other than those RPG fans that are looking for a different experience.
*This review was based on the PS3 version of the game with a review code provided by the publisher.*