The sequel to the fairly well received King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame was released January 27th 2012, and i've spent the last few days in it's beautiful world taking in all that the game has to offer. But let me begin in saying i havn't played a huge amount of the first game, something about it just didn't draw me in.
The first thing i noticed about the sequel is just how breathtaking the visuals are, especially considering this is a strategy title, i'd go as far as to say it leaves Shogun 2 in the dust in this department.
I'm not the most orthodox of reviewers and will tend to ramble like i was having a conversation with you. So things may seem scattered and i may not balance things well like your regular review, just thought i'd get that out there!
Anyway, i'll continue. First impressions can often count for everything, and in this respect King Arthur II
gives off very mixed signals. Like i said, this game is undoubtedly a gorgeous one. Both the turn based map and the battle map impress. It really adds to the immersion and feel of the game world and it's obvious a lot of work has gone into making this one a looker. However it has come at a cost, at time of review the game is very poorly optimised for many of it's players. I havn't even tried turning up all the graphics settings as the frame-rate is bad enough as it is. I've been told the developers are hard a work on fixing this issue along with the list of bugs which is commendable in this day and age as many larger developers leave their play-base waiting weeks or months to even begin seeing fixes. So i'm sure in the very near future i'll be seeing the 60fps i expect from than the 15-20 fps i'm getting. While it is a little frustrating, it's not as game-breaking as it would be if this was a FPS or Driving game.
Luckily i can see past this, this game does alot of things right. The story is magnificent, given how deep and mature the content is, i was left feeling like a little kid watching the giant battles take place and mass slaughter. Every quest has it's own voice-over which i believe the first game was missing and it really adds a special feeling to the game, making everything more epic. The narrative has a lot going on and the audio narration made it easier to digest. There's not much use in me in explaining the story, there's a lot of it and it's well executed, there's even a difficulty level especially for those that don't want to worry about losing battles and just want to concentrate on the story. But of course it's awesome, there's witches, dragons and medieval politics. Also adding to the story are the role-playing elements, which allow you to advance and gain new abilities, and along with the deep morality system developing your character makes the whole experience much more personal and you get a real feel that it's YOU sending these men/creatures into certain death to face other men/creatures in a battle to the death.
The detail of every element of the game is brilliant, zooming right in on the battle shows great detail on both the terrain and every single unit, this may be a lot to do with the current poor optimisation. So can you really blame them for these issues when it looks this stunning? If you've played the previous King Arthur title or one of the Total War game you'll feel right at home. While more accessible than it's predecessor, it manages to be deeper and more feature packed. There's a ton to see and do and the best part is you don't have to do most of it if you don't want to, and you won't be punished. This is all part of making King Arthur 2 more accessible all while giving the player the option to delve deeper into the experience. Oh and didn't i mention, this separates itself from other large scale battle strategy games in other ways, namely the fantasy elements. You're given the ability to use magic, that's right...fucking magic. And if there's anything Skyrim has taught us, magic isn't gay anymore, it's accepted in society as being just as mean and effective as brute force. This isn't your Harry Potter Wingardium Leviosa making things float and what-not, i'm talking striking the enemy troops with lightning burning dozens at a time to a crisp, that kind of thing. More can be unlocked as you progress and you, as part of the role-playing elements choose the type of magic you want to learn, both offensive and defensive. I heard someone else mention in their impressions something i'll have to steal, as they said it best. On the harder difficulties, if you do not effectively use magic you are screwed, as your opponents LOVE to use magic to wipe out your troops all while healing and making their units more powerful.
I did say i ramble, i like keeping my reviews on the shorter side and this is already turning into a drawn out essay. There's alot of things i'll forget to cover i know, i'm typing what i'm thinking, as i think it so it will read oddly, professional aye? There's just so much to this game and i'm never going to be able to do it justice, i should stick to reviews of games like Pong where i can really make it sound like i know what i'm talking about and can cover everything without a doubt. But hey, it's unique isn't it to review games like
this right? Right? Probably not, it's just a bit wrong isn't it. Anyway what else is there to say? Let's summarise.
There is plenty here for Strategy fans and those interested in getting into the genre, and even with the games current issues, it's clear the development team have improved on the the first title and created a very worthy alternative to the Total War games and given it a twist. And for a team of 30 to create something on this scale it goes without saying it doesn't take a team of 300 to create a game worthy of being a full-priced title.
Things that can be mentioned with the help of points? Yeah
- PC exclusive, a Steamworks title.
- Buy it here - http://store.steampowered.com/app/24480/
- I'm going back to play more in a minute.
- Developers hard at work fixing performance and bugs
- Looking forward to experiencing the awesome battles at 60fps
- My girlfriend would leave me if she saw the shit-eating grin on
my face as i watch the armies collide. Honestly she should be impressed
with some of the tactics this hunk has put into play...
- Thankyou Neocore for adding in the audio narration, hurts my brain less
and it all sounds epic and important.
Rating - 7.4/10
Who knows, once the game is fixed and i've played for longer i can go deeper into my thoughts.
Well done if you managed to read it all, i did warn you.