Of Orcs and Men is a fantasy RPG developed by French game studios Cyanide Studios (Blood Bowl, Game of Thrones) and Spiders Studios (Sherlock Holmes vs Jack The Ripper, Mars: War Logs) which was published by Focus Home Interactive (Trackmania, Wargame, Cities XL) back in 2012.
The game is more or less your bog standard RPG game along the same lines as Divinity and Mass Effect's mechanics but not as long or as expansive in it's story telling. That however, is made up for in it's rather "unique" approach to fantasy tropes when it comes to the main plot.
Despite it's flaws, and it's rather mixed reviews, Of Orcs & Men has a bit of charm that's hard to ignore. You can tell the devs put some love and care into the game, and while it didn't come out as perfect or polished as other games in the genre it still stands out on it's own for trying to do things just a bit differently.
The title of the game is clearly a nod to John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men, and while you may think it's a re-imagination of the story in a fantasy setting, you'd be mistaken. While there are some similarities, such as a George & Lennie type duo as the main characters, the game went a different direction. There is an attempt to tell the story in a rather different way than what we've become accustomed to with RPGs, but overall the game just couldn't pull off the lofty ideas the devs had. It's a shame really because with some more development time it could have pulled it off and been more successful.
About two years after its release, Of Orcs and Men got a prequel called Styx: Master of Shadows which was more of an action stealth game that went over Styx's backstory. That was better received than Of Orcs and Men.
Of Orcs and Men puts the player in control of an Orc and a Goblin who are on a rather harrowing journey. The land they find themselves is is openly hostile to them due to their species, as the Human ran empire has gotten into the habit of exterminating or enslaving all Orcs they can find. The goblins are a different story which we'll find out a bit more details of as the story progresses.
Orcs & Goblins are, traditionally, viewed as the evil horde of creatures that humans, typically the good guys, have to fight against. This trope of fantasy writing is, however, being flipped onto it's head in Of Orcs and Men. It's rather rare that we get to play as a "villain" in any game, let alone a monstrous creature that is perceived to be the bad guy by the rest of the game's universe. This, initially, is why the game is somewhat charming and can stand out just a bit and why I originally purchased it. Who doesn't want to be a big ass Orc slaying Humans after years of the reverse?
The two main characters are Arkail and Styx.
Arkail is a member of the Orc tribe the Blood Jaws who are a rather well known group of dangerous Orcish warriors. He's also referred to as the Butcher of Bay Harbor due to his actions at the battle of Bay Harbor between the Orcs and the Humans.
Styx is a smart ass Goblin who has gotten by due to his wits, his propensity to not piss off anyone too much, and his rather unique abilities. He's a well connected guy who uses his connections to help Arkail out along the plot.
This is going to be a video Let's Play, which is a bit different than other RPG LPs out there which tend to be screenshot LPs. Part of this decision is that this game's, albeit flawed, charm is the voice acting of the characters and the inflection & tone of them. This will help you grow to appreciate what the devs were going for in terms of the story.
Updates will be every Tuesday. Since there are difference choices to be made I'll be polling the thread every now and then to find out what we want to do when presented with a choice.
There are also minor dialogue choices that, for the sake of convenience, I'll control as they can help add some backstory and fluff that aren't necessarily plot changing.
As usual, there's going to be a rule about not spoiling the story for others.