Long before WarCraft 3 was plotted into this earth, there was this game that dared to combine storyline along with a 3D engine that would have caused RTS players to think about dropping their jaws down to the floor.
Battle Realms was the name, and success was its fame, I remember whopping in the Battle Realms CD and saying to myself: "Myself, this is one great game!" and continued to play it until my brain started asking for liquids to sustain itself.
I'll just introduce the concept behind Battle Realms; Battle Realms plays out in an Asian setting, pre-tanks and pre-super-commandos, playing it out with swords and style, it successfully captured the essence of the period, already illuminating the genre with a new fresh look and feel.
Storyline wise it had the perfect ingredients, compelling story through a setting that doesn't usually get a lot of exposure in today's' real-time strategy games, characters you could bond with and feel attached to and an engine that can materialize the story through.
Battle Realms, a game that in my opinion surpassed WarCraft 3 because of its much shorter development time, robust engine (that comes close to what WarCraft 3 achieved) and more original gameplay than what WarCraft 3 offered, did I mention the storyline was much more fresh and new than WarCraft 3? (Lord of the Rings anyone?)
Anyways, Winter of the Wolf is the official expansion pack for Battle Realms, offering a new campaign that is truly inspiring in terms of consistency, the game simply dozes itself with extra steroids and pushes the limits of its predecessor, putting behind the old destroy whatever moves levels, and giving way for a more tidy and complex mission structure.
Graphically the game builds on the same engine, same building blocks, moreover, some new units were introduced as well as new heroes (yes, it's not just a concept in WC3), they light up the overall feeling of the game and root down the elements that seem to have captured the hearts of many in recent strategy games.
The dynamics are splendid, animations, although not perfect, feel smooth and fluent all throughout the game, the textures remain to look crisp and vivid, more vivid than a lot of the more high profile games out there, making me wonder why you still don't own a copy.
Not much changed on the multiplayer frontier, as new maps were included and you can choose on whether you'd like to play the original BR (Battle Realms) or with the new Winter of the Wolf additions, still, the overall sensation remains the same, a fast paced, balanced and action-packed experience.
Winter of the Wolf pretty much pushes the envelop on all that had made Battle Realms a great title, it’s a definite two-thumbs up, very well polished expansion pack for a title that as I see it, deserves much more of the spotlights.