Is Orcs Must Die! 3 Worth It? A PS4 Review

Slice, burn, toss, zap, grind and gib massive hordes of repugnant orcs in this long-awaited successor to the award-winning Orcs Must Die! series -- via Steam

Have you ever played a tower defence game and thought you could do a better job than the mechanical structures? Robot Entertainment heard your pleas as Orcs Must Die! 3 gameplay gives you free rein to do it yourself and ‘make a difference’ in orc bashing. 

As there’s a ‘3’ in the title, it’s no surprise that this game is part of a series. Alas, this website isn’t about the power of deduction and slants that 3 is the magic number. 69 is (Bill & Ted reference, fool). Is Orcs Must Die! 3 worth it? Yes, it’s a search term that I often use, but with search strings such as ‘is going outside worth it?’ and so on.

Tower defence games are the cat’s pyjamas in my digital book, and the thought of building some innovative towers to wipe out the hordes while culling the numbers manually with a broadsword or enchanted staff is everything a girl could wish for. I don’t know – ask one.

Orcs Must Die! 3 PS4 Review

There’s a story here, but we all know the relationship between man and orc, especially if you played the original Warcraft series. Here, the orcs are the traditional green-skinned berserker brutes, painted as the bad guys, but you never know; they could be the goodies. Right? Regardless, it’s a skewed perception as they’re invading your empty castles in search of your rift. No, they aren’t trying to get a glimpse of your abs but to jump through, crushing the rest of mankind. You are the last line of defence, armed with a colossal amount of traps. Orcs Must Die! 3 is wicked when it comes to death and creativity. 

Orcs Must Die! 3 PS4 Review - One man army
One man army. Source: PR

At the start of each wave, there’s a pause to set up the defences. Enemies will initially break down a door and storm through to the rift. Your job is to slow them down enough so you can pick them off one by one or using some devastating techniques that wipe them out before they say “Human scu-“. Foresight is on your side as you’ll get an indication from the minimap where they will come from, and a ghost-like trail will show which route they will take, allowing you to be uber-efficient with your traps at the start of each wave.

The traps on offer are fabulous. I’m not the type that burnt ants or pulled wings off flies but watching the orcs pulverised, mushed, burnt, electrocuted and chopped up, among other elegant ancient techniques, were morbidly entertaining. Specific structures will only work on walls, floors or the ceiling, with various upgrades that speed up cooldowns, damage, elemental modifiers and more, pending you complete each objective of killing so many enemies, inflicting a certain amount of damage, and so forth.

In theory, you could sit back and scratch your arse while this is all going on and hope for the best, but the volume of enemies is pretty damn high, and there’s never enough structures to finish the job. So, you take matters into your own hands with some third-person shooting, either with melee or ranged weapons. Like the structures, these can be upgraded too, using skulls that are awarded for ‘clean sheets’ (not letting any orcs through the rift), beating in the stage in a set time, and varying your actions.

Who’s That Trip-Trapping At My Door?

Orcs Must Die! 3 is massively repetitive, but the good kind. I can’t get enough of it. The variety on offer makes this a game worth playing for a loooooong time, whether that’s solo or online. Alas, there’s no local multiplayer, which would have been great in co-op. The final stage of the main campaign is awful – introducing two new units, and enemies teleporting into your base felt unfair. Sure, I could phone a friend or enlist a stranger, but…I’m shy. Enlisting someone in the room to take point while you flood the floor with spikes or archers would do wonders for your output.

Orcs Must Die! 3 PS4 Review - Large scale warfare
Large scale warfare. Source: PR

That said, it’s perfectly viable to solo the game in campaign, or tinker in Scramble mode, Endless waves and Weekly Challenges. There are three difficulty levels, and if you can ace the Rift Lord difficulty, I take my hat off to you. The sheer challenge is added replay value as I’m the type who’ll grind until ‘ready’; unlocking new gear and upgrades, working out what load-outs suit me best.

Interestingly, Orcs Must Die! 3 gameplay is much like my typical tower defence habit of sticking with the basic structures and upgrading, only rarely opting for the ‘ultimate weapons’ occasionally, as found on the large scale War Scenarios. These stages are where you have to fight back significantly large waves that start further away from your base, like a full-scale Lord of the Rings scene, only with one person fending off the invaders. Loner.

Melee weapons are almost always my go-to for most genres, but the default weapons that you start with with the two apprentice characters you select (more can be unlocked through story progression and the required skulls), can carry you through the whole campaign. By the time I tried out a broadsword, I was in awe at the one-hit-kills but quickly notes how flawed melee combat is. Sometimes your attacks don’t register – perhaps it’s the sheer scale or enemies on screen? Either way, when you’re up close, you’ll inevitably lose health and die, forcing a respawn, then sprinting back to the entry point to stop enemies from getting through. It’s a little off, so I recommend the ranged weapons, noting that some elemental effects only work on certain enemies.

Go Be A Hero

Not a factor for scoring and what-not, but the visuals in Orcs Must Die! 3 via a PS5 were pretty washed out. Menu screens were hard to read as HDR isn’t currently supported, but an update could be available by the time this review goes out. This was advised beforehand, and simply changing your TV settings or via the PlayStation’s system settings and switching off HDR rectifies it. For once, ‘Do not adjust your set’ is irrelevant, but it’s not much different than setting up the gamma at the start of a game.

Orcs Must Die! 3 PS4 - Swarms and hordes
Swarms and hordes. Source: PR

The actual character designs are wicked, and as mentioned, there’s a good variety of units here. Your base is pretty sparse and could do with an interior designer or a visit from the Castle Flipper team as there’s not much going on. It reminded me of Fortnite a little in the main character models; the stupid little victory dances after a win and the dorky dialogue from the characters weren’t for me. All minor stuff, though, as I couldn’t get enough of the game and in the short space of time I’ve had it, have managed to play each level at least ten times each. 

In short, Orcs Must Die! 3 is a must for tower defence fans who’d like the option to be a hero. Despite this being the third in the series, you needn’t have played any of the others to get the gist. Yes, it’s pretty repetitive, but there’s no one way to play a level and experimenting with the tools of the trade is just brilliant. A very enjoyable game and definitely worth a look.