ORC: Vengeance review (iOS / Universal)

July 30, 2012

“Ain’t no feeble bastard, no f***ing scapegoat”

10 word description: Action RPG / dungeon crawl. Loot, upgrades, boss fights, IAPs, Game Center.

10 word review: Looks and sounds very nice. Needs some additional control options.

You will like this if you enjoy: Action RPGs, of which this is (one of) the best on iOS.

The good news: Very good graphics, if a little dark in some areas. Appropriate and rather epic sounds and music. iCloud progress saving seems to work! Good attempt at avoiding on-screen buttons, however…

The bad news: While the attempt is admirable, the tap-to-move and gesture based skills don’t feel like the best control method for this game. Some areas are very dark – with graphics this good, they don’t need to be hidden by low light levels. Pay-to-win IAPs and Game Center – always a great combination. Fairly frequent crashes on 1st gen iPad. Power attacks occasionally seem to completely miss enemies standing right in front of the player character.

Arcadelife verdict: As an iOS action RPG it stands up very well against the competition, particularly the recent Gameloft competition and anything from the Orient that is purely a vehicle for selling IAPs. Graphically it’s excellent, particularly the environments, and the sounds and music are also very effective.

Orc’s shortcomings are not specifically related to hardware limitations of the devices it runs on but the curious choices made by the developers. The tap-to-move control system does a great job of removing an on-screen directional pad, but the same effect could have been achieved with a relative touch method which would have given precise and direct control and a far better connection between the player and the character. The gesture based skills, again a good idea in principle, conflict with the movement tapping, particularly any skill you assign to “double tap”, and end up feeling far more cumbersome than they need to be. A row of buttons at the bottom or side of the screen – let the player choose where – could have the skills and potions assigned to them. This would work well and would eliminate all the accidental or missed skill deployments caused by movement/gesture fumbles.

I ended up completely ignoring potions as assigning them to a gesture just wasn’t going to work for me. Anyway, the best tactic in fights is to run around in circles while your health and armour regenerate – yes, your armour regenerates, much like an energy shield in a totally different game.

As for loot, as soon as you buy the best item that you can afford from the vendor (and this is completely without going anywhere near IAPs), anything that drops or comes out of a chest after that is only worth picking up to sell because the decent vendor items, at least as far as I have seen, are far better than anything you are going to get from loot.

Overall, Orc: Vengeance is a great looking action RPG with a different kind of hero. It does a lot of things very well but could seriously benefit from some fundamental changes to improve the experience.

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 9.5/10
Audio – 9/10
Controls – 4.5/10
Content – 9/10
Fun – 7.5/10
Final rating – 79/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0
iTunes link

Chillingo / ORC: Vengeance website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 5.1.1)
iPad (iOS 5.1.1)

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