Monday, December 31, 2007

Game Review: Orcs and Elves

Holiday blogging . . . ugh.  I'm waiting for the people I'm going to spend New Year's eve with to finish sleeping off their drinks last night, so I thought I'd throw a quick post up while I had the chance.
I received Orcs and Elves for Christmas for the DS.  It's a fairly interesting game.  Made by id software, the game is a first-person RPG, the likes of which I haven't seen in ages.  Think Doom, but with swords and a magic wand instead of guns and a chainsaw.

Like most RPGs, the main character doesn't speak . . . ever.  You're guided around by your talking magic wand, who speaks to the ghosts of dwarves for you.  If that sounds strange, then you may not enjoy the story.  It's pretty simple, but the draw is the gameplay, not the tale.  

The game mechanics are decent.  It seemed a tad easy, but I played it on the easiest setting to get a feel for it.  Like the older games by id, you can only look straight ahead, in one of four directions.  Each time you perform an action, either moving, attacking, opening a door, or drinking a potion, you use a turn.  Then all the monsters in the vicinity get to take a turn.  It's an interesting way of dealing with the awkward movement scheme, although it can prove frustrating when some monsters get more turns than you.

It's fun to play in a "throw-away" kind of way, but the game is short.  I'd say I put it to rest after somewhere around 5 hours of play.  I guess that's not terrible for a portable game, but I've come to expect a longer lifespan out of my RPGs.  

Gamespot didn't give it an official review, despite all their hype leading to its release.  If you wanted my opinion, I would give the game a 6.5/10.  There's no music during the game, the graphics don't take advantage of the DS (which is saying something), and the game is far too short.  However, it is redeemed by being fun and accessible, so I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good adventure game.

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