Are you desperate for a hard-core Real Time Strategy game? Well, I think I might have found the game you have been waiting for. King Arthur 2: The Role Playing Wargame is the sequel to last year’s RTS and RPG hybrid and takes an even stronger turn into the realm of fantasy. The story begins with a menacing witch upsetting the order of Britannia by smashing the Holy Grail and trying to assassinate our beloved Arthur. King Arthur 2 brings us a campaign map twice as big and now it even includes the vast wasteland region and areas in the far north of Britannia. In the last game we saw a mix of regular units and special hero characters that were extra powerful. We now have a new class of hero even more powerful than the standard heroes. Developer Neocore Games have really done a great job and bought us an apologetically deep RTS experience that is not for the faint hearted, this is a relentlessly complex strategy game.
This game has far too much involved for me to be able to explain fully all the details, but I will do my best and try and get the basics across so you can get an idea of what it is all about. If you have played the previous title however, then you will already have a reasonable understanding as to what to expect.
The game beginss with an intro movie that is like a comic book slideshow where at certain points you make decisions by responding to the dialogue using a multiple choice answering system. The graphical quality in King Arthur 2 looks beautiful and is fairly slick. It’s all really nice, detailed and look great. The battles are all very detailed and you get that true feeling of being amongst up to 4,000 units on the screen at any given moment (some of the best I have seen in a long time, although, obviously, you will need a high end system to enjoy these features to the full). You get that feeling of vast amounts of people all waving their swords in the air shouting freedom.
The controls for this game all use the keyboard and mouse, as you would expect from a game of this type. Many of the commands you will issue are all done using the mouse by selecting your units and issuing those orders and making those important decisions.
There are three different main areas to this game. We have Battles, which are pretty much as the name explains. Here you are faced with some pretty big and epic battles where you need to control individual units and defeat the enemy army’s as they try and beat you to a pulp. You need to have a constant eye on your units, and make the correct decisions to successfully win these battles, such as making sure your cavalry units are not all bunched together when they are under attack from archers and deciding which units to use against the enemy’s. It’s all pretty complicated, and if you are new to this style of gameit will take you a fair bit of time to learn how to manage your armies to their full potential. You will lose some battles and win others; this is all part of war. You also have magic available with the heroes in the game. These guys are hard nuts and can be the make or break of a battle. You have the standard abilities trees where you have the choice of magic powers to use as you see in a lot of games. The use of magic is great fun and adds that extra feature to the historic battles we are used to seeing. I can only imagine what Braveheart would be like with magic involved, it would be epic. Not all the enemies are human, we have strange looking creatures to fight, it’s pretty much like Lord of the Rings with some evil looking bad guys sneering at you as you try and work out how the hell you are going to win against them.
The second area you have control over is what they call Adventure Quests, these are like a story book where again you have some comic-style slideshows and multiple choice answers for your decisions on how to proceed. Here is where you really decide whether you are a nice guy or a hard faced person determined to be the ruler of everyone. Here we decide stuff like whether to help villages that have been under attack; also we can build diplomatic relationships here. All the decisions you make reward you with certain rewards like gold or an increase in how much you are liked. This leads us onto the Diplomatic Quests where, as the name suggests, you build good or bad relationships. This is how we expand the territory that you have control over on the main map. You obviously want to try and gain control over the entire map so your empire becomes vast and you feel like a king.
There is no multiplayer option available in King Arthur 2; I am not sure why they have not implemented one, however this may be for the better as it means they have been able to spend more time on the in-depth and highly detailed storyline and gameplay. Every aspect of this game shows some great attention to detail. We are left with a well thought out and fun game. This game isn’t for the faint hearted though, it is very overwhelming at first. It has one of the hardest learning curves I have seen in a long time. However, if you stick at it and really spend time on it, you will be rewarded with a fantastic game; great for all those hard-core RTS fans out there. King Arthur 2 has a massively detailed campaign that will take you hours to fully complete, so you will need a lot of Redbull. I hope I have managed to convey how the game looks and feels here, but as I said there is so much to learn and do the only way you will truly find out is to run out and purchase it for yourselves.
Rating: 8/10 (Review scores explained).
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