Of Orcs and Men is a role-playing game where the player controls Arkail, an elite Orc soldier from the Bloodjaws region. The legion is at war with the Goblins but at the same time also under the oppressive threat of the humans, who are allied with the elves and the dwarves. The war with the humans has been going on for ten years and the Northern force are now constructing a gigantic wall to shut off the South. The player has to lead the Orc in a mission to kill the human Emperor. The game puts a spin on traditional fantasy themes by having the player play and experience what is generally the villain side, and Arkail soon teams up with the lead goblin Styx and those become the two protagonists for most of the game.
For the combat the same real-time system as in Cyanide’s earlier Game of Thrones is used, where skills and actions are queued up by pausing the game (not entirely paused, but time slows down to a crawl) to enter the tactical menu, which are then executed automatically when the gameplay is resumed. Options include targeting specific enemies, stuns, buffs and general attacks. Because the game is based around two characters, their specific abilities have to be used. Styx has access to stealth skills that allow him to silently kill many opponents, before Arkail marches in and finishes off the remainder. The stealth system for discovery is based on line-of-sight and dogs can also detect him based on smell. Arkail can also pick up Styx and throw him towards a higher ledge he cannot reach himself. Most of the upgrades are based on weapon and attack improvements. Arkail has a rage meter that is filled up each time he is hit. Once full, he goes berserk and deals a lot of damage, but becomes largely uncontrollable, as he disregards defense and may even attack his allies. Once it runs out, he experiences Backlash which leaves him stunned and vulnerable for a short time.
A large part of the game is also spent exploring, completing smaller quests, and talking to other characters in hub arenas. Arkhail’s skills are based on an offensive and defensive combat stance, along with special skills. Styx uses hand-to-hand and ranged combat along with his special skills. Experience gained during the game can be used to improve the main characteristics: strength, agility, stamina and spirit, with different sub-characteristics for each. Items and gear collected along the way can be traded.