Lazy level design - check! Lazy mechanics - check! A leveling system that punishes more than rewards - check! Want more?

User Rating: 4 | Of Orcs and Men PC
I came to this game with low expectations. It started as a fun game, with decent visuals and sounds, plus an interesting take on an age old Man Vs Orc frame. I liked it in the beginning, it was fun. Playing on Extreme difficulty wasn't too bad, it was manageable. But then somewhere along the line, it all went downhill.

Suddenly the game pulls the rug from under you. It starts with the solo missions. Yes, there are sections where you are forced to play solo with either Arkail or Styx. There weren't any warnings/tutorials about this. The game never tell you to expect to be alone. So if you didn't spec your characters right, you're basically screwed and is forced to restart. Or better yet, better read the forums for tips on how to play the game even before you begin.

In addition, even though it's advertised as a RPG, the actual RPG elements are really lame. Drops are non-existent, trading system sucks because there's really nothing to trade, and you can only upgrade your items once, and the leveling system is too primitive, basically just your typical stat points.

Furthermore, on the hardest difficulty, Extreme, the game becomes really lame. You can't really ever go on the offensive with Arkail, since he'll either go berserk and die because of the defense penalty, or simply die because he's swarmed. There's realistically 0 crowd control abilities on both characters. Styx has an AoE stun, but it's practical usefulness is near 0, as enemies can easily stack up 3-4 stun resists in a row.

So you're forced to go full defense with Arkail just to have a shot at being alive, with all the attribute points stacked into stamina for survival, since stacking it anywhere else is pretty worthless. Did I mention the solo sections? You're also forced to stack plenty of stamina on Styx as well, to deal with these sections.

The gameplay then becomes a rather mundane list of steps you have to follow:
- kill all the people you can with stealth.
- run arkail up in defense mode and roar to generate threat.
- Park Arkail there while you nibble down enemies with Styx.

And Arkail can't really tank either. Even with 100% deflection, he'll skill get killed within 10 seconds if he's faced by more than 2 berserkers. There's no way to offset the damage, no way to regenerate health, so basically there's no point in even controlling Arkail.

There are many more frustrations to be found in this game as well, such as the stupid save system that forces you to rewatch and replay 10 minutes of the game just to continue to the boss battle. I thought BioShock was bad, but this is even worse. And then there are sections where the designers thought it'll be entertaining to make it so damn hard that you're forced to run around 10-15 minutes, trying to resurrect your partner to continue whittle down at the enemy's health. And in one section, your partner's naked!

TL;DR - This is a game that has promised, but is mired by stupid design decisions that takes away from the fun of the game and turn what should have been a 8.5 game to a 4.0 game.