In contrast, Styx is weak in toe-to-toe melee against bigger foes, but his long-range throwing daggers and status-afflicting attacks make him perfect for weakening foes for Arkail to finish off. Equally useful outside of battle, Styx can also turn invisible and sneak up on foes for stealth kills to reduce the crowd of enemies you'll face off against when they notice you. Figuring out the best way to use both characters effectively for each combat situation you're thrown into is satisfying.
You're given a lot of leeway to tinker with both warriors beyond their inherent strengths and weaknesses, as they level up and earn skill points to spend on stat boosts and new abilities. Tactical variety gets further expanded by the great assortment of attacks and custom abilities unique to each character. But what's puzzling, given the game's strong RPG trappings, is that weapons and items are terribly downplayed. New gear pops up at disappointingly infrequent intervals, and half of the time the items you find aren't much of an improvement over your current gear. Sure, there's a rudimentary crafting system to upgrade the stuff you've grabbed so far, but it's minimal and doesn't do much to compensate for the weak supply of killing accoutrements.
Other areas aspects of the game suffer from similar design hiccups. Despite some branching areas to explore and side missions to tackle, much of the game feels painfully linear. You slog from one area to the next killing most of the troops you encounter. The beautifully-detailed battlefields pair well with plot twists and maintain a steady momentum, but the map layouts aren't nearly as complex or interesting. Visual glitches crop up too. During a large stretch of the game, Arkail might carry around and wield a blunt stick on his back instead of the barbed axe he has equipped in the inventory menu. It also could appear to be hovering behind him rather than being attached to the big guy.
Minor issues such as that, coupled with the jarring foul language at times, detract from the game's potent atmosphere. The overall visual design is very sharp and nuanced--except when it comes to the human characters, who are sometimes awkwardly animated (not to mention, poorly voiced). None of this kills the mood entirely, but it makes the experience feel half-baked during times when you should be awash in the thrill of the conflict.
Of Orcs and Men hits a lot of sweet spots. The dynamic dual protagonists, flip-flopped bad-guys-are-the-good-guys story, and deep strategic combat system all do a stellar job of grabbing and maintaining interest throughout the lengthy campaign. It's not hard to get caught up in the violent quest to topple the empire, but there are still quite a few little blips along the way that break up the game's momentum. Though Of Orcs and Men struggles at times, its absorbing moments are enough to keep you in the fight for the long haul.