Warrior Kings: Battles Review

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Graphics: 9.0
Sound : 7.0
Gameplay : 8.0
Multiplayer : 9.0
Overall : 8.0
Review by Dustin “Malachi” Gardner

If ever there was an original idea for an RTS, Warrior Kings is it. This is one of the most in depth RTS games I have ever played. You have your usual strategy games formulas; resources, economics, upgrades, etc. But what really separates this game from the rest is the free choosing of what role you will fight for. As you play the game, you get free choosing of either to go towards the side of good or the side of chaos. Your units and skills adapt with which path you choose. This is the perfect blend of Warcraft meets Black & White.

Sound/Music
The sound effects in this game are pretty dam sweet compared to most RTS games. You can hear people praying in your church, the creaks of windmills, even the call of crows picking at corpses on the ground left from battle. An added bonus is the surround sound this game produces. Listening to the world go by around you puts you more into this game than you can imagine. Then there’s the sounds coming from your enemies and allies too. This is a feature every RTS from here on out should incorporate into their game. The music in Warrior Kings is basically what you would most expect from a medieval time, trumpets and drums going off, little harmony here and there, nothing too special. Voices are very well done, both female and male. Sometimes there are surprising comments and complaining after you have told the same peasant to do the same thing over and over again.

Graphics
The engine on this game is nothing short of amazing. It can compete with ease to those of Warcraft 3 and C&C Generals. The terrain is just detailed exactly like you could expect from the landscape, with the trees swaying and cloud shadows going by. The entire world is complete 3D and is just beautiful all the time. You can zoom so close to ground level it feels like your in a third person game. The lighting effects of fire arrows and burning buildings is such a nice bonus of eye candy. The models of each unit are very well done, including the cool animations they do too. You can see the legs of the horses pulling trading carts, the spy swaying his torch back and forth across a building to burn it down; the process of building is even nice to just watch. The buildings themselves are very well detailed, with some new ones I never thought would be in a RTS. The tavern and shop are just a few of the surprises that just grab you when you get them. The tavern houses spies and mercenaries while the shop is where you send peasants to spend their whole time trading for gold.

Gameplay
This game is very simple to jump into, with a few twists that required you to go into the tutorial to find out what the hell they were. The main part of the game is that you don’t really upgrade any buildings, except for your walls and watch towers. Most of the main buildings must be built within a garrison while the farms and villages sit outside of the walls. One of the nicest time savers is with your village. You have 3 options with your village, create peasant, create trading cart, and create peasant farmer. The create peasant farmer option is the same as create peasant, but it tells them to go and build a farm and work it at same time. You don’t even have to tell them where to build; they just walk out and pick the closest open spot for it. As you progress through the single player, you get more options in buildings, skills, and just plain bonuses for your towns. Each mission does have quite the time span as it takes a lot of guys to take down such things as walls. The hit points for buildings and walls is really high, with your attack levels weaker than normal, you really got to have patience when playing. A very nice feature is some of your military units can build certain items like battering rams or siege tower ladders. This comes in handy during large battles. As well there is a cart that is sent with your army to resupply ammo and health while fighting. These additions and more have made this RTS a lot more fun to play. My only complaint is the speed of your ground units during a fight. They take a really long time to get anywhere and usually don’t end up helping in time.

Multiplayer
This is where the game really shines. First, every player starts off neutral, no one is good or evil at the beginning. As you play, how you treat your enemies and allies leads you to which side of good and evil you will fight for. As most RTS games, max player support is 8 players, which is to be expected. Never experienced any lag during a big 6 player battle with about 500 units on the screen at once.

Conclusion
This is one of the sleeper hits of this year. Excellent gameplay, unique additions to the usual RTS style, sound that makes you want to turn up your speakers, and multiplayer mode that has major replay options. Warrior Kings has everything needed for a fine RTS game and still offers several fresh new ideas that expand the genre into new lengths.