During E3, I sat in on a brief demo for Of Orcs and Men. It was a relatively short demo, but I managed to walk away with the basic premise of the game and what to expect from the final product. The game focuses on two main characters, an orc and a goblin. It is set in a very dark world where the battle between orcs and humans is over, and the orcs have lost. The humans, now in charge, have decided that the other races of the world, orcs and goblins, are too dangerous to have around and have decided to eradicate them. The currently nameless orc and goblin are on a quest to stop the genocide by going into human held territory to find and kill the emperor. Even though they are trying to stop a genocide, their motivations arenít entirely selfless. At the start of the game, the orcís family has been brutally slaughtered and his quest for revenge is what drives him through the story. The goblinís motivations are more mysterious and will be revealed over the course of the game.
The game is a single-player action-RPG that allows you to switch between the orc and the goblin on the fly. Both characters have unique abilities that you need to take advantage of to progress through the game. The orc is a large melee focused character who will do most of the fighting during the game. He also has a rage meter that fills up during combat, allowing him to go into a fury and unleash powerful attacks. You do have to be careful during rages as you could potentially hurt your goblin companion. The goblin is a much smaller, stealth-focused character. Since he is much smaller than the orc, he can get into areas that would be a tight fit for the orc. He can also sneak around undetected and stealth kill enemies. While the goblin is sneaking around, the orc stays back until you enter combat or are detected. There is also some interactivity between the orc and goblin during gameplay. The orc, for example, can pick up the goblin and use him as a projectile to find hidden places or progress through the level.
The orc and goblin are fully voiced, set characters, so you wonít be able to change their face, name, or anything like that. You will have full control over their weapons, armor, and most importantly, their skill tree. The game is still early in development, so I didn't really see much of the skill tree or how your characters grow over the course game. Itís story structure is a rather focused and linear affair broken up into chapters. However, the choices you make during dialog sequences will have an impact on the course the story takes. While there is a fixed ending to the story, how you get there is determined by the player. The developers are estimating that the game will last 20 hours for the main story and an additional 10 hours if you tackle all of the side quests.
The game still has a long way to go. Graphically, the game looks decent, but there is still plenty of room to improve the character models and environments. I like the twist of having orcs and goblins as the heroes of the story and having humans as the villains. The focused nature of the game could be a good thing in the end if they deliver a highly polished game with a tight story. If this tale Of Orcs and Men sounds appealing to you, look for it on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 sometime in 2012.