King Arthur the Role Playing War Game PC Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 8.0
Graphics 8.0
Sound 8.5
Value 8.0
Developer: Neocore Games
Review Date:
November 2009
Reviewer:
Edwin Millheim
Classification: M15+

8.0


King Arthur the Role Playing War Game


Developer Neocore Games puts a larger twist on the King Arthur mythology. A game that can be viewed as a mix of elements. A war strategy game, a strategic sword and sorcery game, a war role playing game. When first playing the game and seeing some of the interaction with units and maps it most reminds me of the total war series. Fear not though, because this is not a watered down Total War wanna be. “King Arthur” throws its armored gauntlet into this game genre, with more than a few tricks and magical spells and a role playing element that make it a worthy opponent. Neocore Games, with sword raised we salute you.

As Arthur, it is the players destiny to unite the kingdoms under one banner. It's empire-building , strategy gaming at a grand scale. The hero characters in the game are your knights of the round table, they lead the players armies. These knights are more than just a few stats on the screen though, as the game progresses the characters can gain skills, and gain spells to aid in battle. Knights can also be leaders in provinces. The knights skills also assists in the over all improvements of the provinces that they over see. Better yet, how will you as the player rule? What lengths will you go to get to your goals? In this Arthurian mythological game, the player forges and perhaps even reshapes the tale. There is no set alignment for the King, so slipping away from the ways of a virtuous knight, and ruler can very well happen. Choices impact the game, and too the soldiers under command. Choices made shape Arthur's character. It's pretty cool concept and is pulled off well in this game.

During the game there are objectives, the objectives screen shows what choices can be made. Completing objectives will benefit the players cause. Now the interesting twist here is that the objectives screen gives more of a choice than simply, say.. defeat a king. No the designers give a choice of defeating the king or helping them. Either choice branches the adventure and outcomes in a different direction. And each choice has it's own rewards by way of loot or items such as a magical sword of the ancients. Or in assisting , you get to have re-enforcements as the character you helped, joins their army with yours. Such choices are a real test of the player characters knightly virtue. The inclusion of different choices in the game are part of where the role playing element really shines and makes for more re playability in the game. Have a care though, the campaign is split into chapters and it is possible to have several chapters unlocked at the same time. If those events hit all at once it can get over whelming, but oh so much more of a challenge.

At the start of battles there is a victory bar that keeps track of both armies. Blue marks the players army morale and the red the enemy army's. The whole gray bar itself represents the health of both the armies. As either side loses units the gray bar shrinks, as morale is lost the colored bar shrinks as well. At the center of the victory bar there is a gem, if either bar shrinks to the point of reaching the gem, then that side loses the battle. Now it's not all as simple as that, there are a few deciding factors that contribute to the bars size in the beginning. The morale of the army on the campaign map is effected by the players choices, as well as any active and or passive skills and traits that the hero leading the army has. During battle it's not entirely uncommon for the bar to shift in favor of one or the other until the final outcome is, well final.

In the upper right of the screen there is a switch that controls the strategic settings. It can display things like archers range, units behind rocks and trees, automatic attack ranges for the melee units. Unit flags. This feature really comes in handy when planning out the attacks and knowing where to send units, so they can be the most effective.

Like most games of this kind each unit and soldier in the unit has different arms and equipment, movement, and abilities. During game play learning what unit does best against certain other unit types is a road map to victory. Also knowing the units strengths and weakness's will assist the player with sound choices on the field of battle. The skills a unit has can either be passive or active skills. Each gives different benefits. The active skill grant an effect only for a timed period and is symbolized by a timer around the skill icon. The skills are balanced in game play which means there is a little give and take depending on the skill in use. For instance cavalry using the dodge skill against in coming archer attack, are weaker when it comes to melee attacks.

Topography plays a role in the battles as well, having a unit hide in waiting in a woodland to spring a surprise attack is always an option. Also using the high crest of a hill to hide an advance or flanking maneuver is a sound strategy. Open plain is of course perfect for your horseman to more easily ride down opponents.

The controls and menus are pretty straight forward, clicking on a unit on the map and then double clicking a point on the maps moves them, holding the mouse down and drawling it over several units picks them all to command. The lay out and where to find other controls and information is also very simple. But it's what's hidden under the hood that you will want to make sure to use the in game tutorial, thankfully the tutorial is in place and part of the over all campaign, while it can be turned off...I would strongly suggest using the tutorial for maximum benefits of learning all the nuances of the game.

Sound in the game is superbly done, the music sound track fits the look and feel of the game. With sweeping grand music and drumming beats fit for the grand epic adventure that the game is. So too is the voice acting, with flair and conviction and an earnest truth ringing in the words.

Graphics in the game are a pleasing mix of cut scenes, static and epic paintings of knights, the land and other characters. Fully enveloping the player into this mystical realm of Britannia. Some of the character and army animation are a bit repetitive with little difference between the soldiers in a unit. Though this is not really an issue at all. As most of the playing will be in a zoomed out mode to better keep track of units and the whole army in general.


Features in the game run as follows;

  • Single player (story-based) campaign with 6 dynamically changing episodes

  • Open-ended campaign with opposite factions

  • Strong storyline

  • Turn-based empire building on a 3D map

  • Thousands of soldiers in real-time epic battles

  • Dozens of different unit types with unique appearance

  • LAN and On-line multiplayer: Tactical fight on various battle-maps.

King Arthur is a worthy addition to any ones gaming library with a few role playing twists on the traditional strategy and kingdom building gaming world.

Have fun, play games.

Edwin Millheim






 
 



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