Review: Orcs Must Die! 2 – Booster Pack Fire & Water

The smoking hot Orcs Must Die! 2 co-op revolution has barely cooled off, and now we are treated to the first Booster Pack!  As if adding co-op to the already fantastic OMD! formula wasn’t enough, this nominally priced Booster Pack will add new maps, new monsters and new traps, but will it be a raging inferno, or just all wet?

What Is Fire & Water?

In favor of the term ‘DLC’, Robot Entertainment has taken to calling the add-ons for Orcs Must Die! 2 ‘Booster Packs’.  I prefer to call them ‘value-priced awesomeness in downloadable form’.  Fire & Water adds three new maps, for use in both single-player and Co-op, and also adds three maps to the game’s awesome “Endless Mode”.  If that wasn’t enough, you will get three new traps-the Floor Portal, the Dart Spitter and the Web Spinner-to use against all new fire and water elemental enemies, of varying size and difficulty.  Still want more?  Well, ask and ye shall receive!   You may now earn an extra skull, per level, should you show enough prowess and skill to finish a level without using a single trap!  Good luck with that, it’s not as easy as it may sound!  Considering other franchises like to charge $10-15 for four new maps, I would say that for $4.99, giving you 3 maps and a host of other content, the Fire & Water Booster Pack is certainly a steal!  By the way, that’s actually FOUR maps, if you count the new map, The Library, which is available only in Endless Mode, but not Single-Player or Co-op.

Gameplay

If you are already familiar with the Orcs Must Die! franchise, than you are well aware of it’s third-person, action, trap-based style of gameplay.  Basically, your character can lay traps, and use ranged attacks, spells and melee skills to help keep a set number of Orcs and other enemies from reaching one or more Rifts at the end of a level.  For a more in-depth focus on OMD!2, you may read our review here, but I wanted to take a moment to focus on the new elements added by the Fire & Water Booster Pack.  The new Web Spinner trap is a wall-based trap that fire webs to slow the enemies.  It’s a little pricey at 900 per trap, but when upgraded, it can be placed on ceilings and fires burning webs(pun intended).  The Dart Spitter is a ceiling trap that fires poisonous darts in a 360-degree radius, it’s useful for flying enemies and low-ceiling hallways.  When upgraded, the darts may Chram or Freeze your enemies, depending on which unique upgrade you take.  The real firecracker of the bunch-and an expensive one at 1200 per trap-is the Floor Portal.  This trap will teleport enemies that step on it back to the starting area, meaning they will have to traverse your death traps all over again, only now with less health!  It’s an expensive addition to your arsenal, but a valuable one, if used wisely.  The new enemies are tough!  Fire Elementals and Fire Lords will spawn Firelings, when defeated.  Waterlings will combine with other Waterlings and Water Elementals to form Water Lords, if you don’t deal with them quickly enough.  All told, you will probably end up resetting your skulls and reallocating them at least once after starting this Booster Pack.  You’ll certainly want to be sure to equip Flame and Ice spells, and the very least, to help deal with these new threats to the Rifts!

The Verdict

I cannot possibly find a single reason why you would not want to plunk down $5 on this expansion, if you are already a fan of the franchise.  I would even say that it behooves you to spend the extra $5 and purchase the Booster Pack with a copy of OMD!2, if you are new to the franchise(after all, that’s still only a $20 price tag for the whole Orc slaying shabang!).  Co-op is fantastically fun and the new maps, enemies and traps simply supplement an already excellent gaming experience.  Now, you may notice that I rated this Booster Pack a ’10’, and yet, I listed above that I would have liked to see a new trap specifically designed to combat the new Fire & Water enemies.  If that’s the case, why did I not alter the score to reflect that?  Well, the simple truth is that by not giving you a ‘Hail Mary’ weapon to combat the new elementals, Fire & Water makes you rethink your strategies, reevaluate how you spend your skulls and what traps you choose to add to your arsenal.  By doing that, it forces you out of your comfort zone, and probably pushes you make some new choices and purchase some new traps that you may not have used before(it certainly did for me!).  In my opinion, that is the mark of a well thought out and worthwhile addition to a game I already enjoy.  For that reason, I cannot possibly dock any points from this expansion, I tip my hat to Robot Entertainment for making quality DLC that is both fun and thought-provoking.

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