Warrior Kings Review
developer: Black Cactus
PII 350, 128MB RAM, 8MB Video Card, 500MB HD
|ESRB rating: T
release date: n/a
|» All About Warrior Kings on ActionTrip|
The developer Black Cactus and Microids have joined to bring you their latest fantasy-spiced strategy game. After a good deal of struggling with the game's bug-galore, I actually sat down and began to enjoy a classic and elegant real-time strategy. What does a player need to avoid these bugs? Well, not much. Perhaps just a patch for the game and a whole lot of patience. To put it simply, before you even begin the game you'll have to set all of these hitches straight. This especially goes for users of GeForce and ATi graphic cards - if you do not install the appropriate drivers the intolerable slideshow of a frame-rate will make it impossible for you to continue playing the game. Once you overcome these glitches you will be "ecstatic" to know that there are even more of them in terms of gameplay. But, we will come to these issues a bit later. OK now, here's a small presentation of things that await you in Warrior kings.
One of the most appealing things about Warrior Kings is its gripping plot presenting many unanticipated quests and epic battles for you to engage in. However, the scenarios and the basic story should be something left for all players to discover for themselves, so I'll just throw you a few important tidbits. Warrior Kings puts you in the shoes of a young noble lord who's banished from his hometown and country, which are both subjected to the ruthless reign of the evil Empire. These evil dudes have proclaimed you a heretic and have also summoned deadly demons and powerful monsters to help them conquer other kingdoms. Nonetheless, there are a few realms that still keep on fighting the forces of the Empire and are ready to aid you in your quests. Your chances are slim against the might of the Empire, but with the right strategy and proper leadership, peace and harmony can be restored to your homeland.
The game has enough levels and quests to entangle you for quite some time. As you carry out each task, more and more options will be available to you in terms of warfare. There's a commendable system of technology advancement, which slowly evolves throughout the missions (tech-tree - ed). This effective system allows you to develop a wide range of destructive siege weaponry and different types of infantry, cavalry, and archer units. At this point you'll realize that the game has a great variety of units to offer, some of which are going to be the key to your economic progress (like sappers and peasants), while others represent your military strength (knights, pikemen, mercenaries, archers, and many others). Additionally, there's an agreeable array of enemy units, so there's no chance of you being bored during battles.
Ah, the battles. There's nothing like a good Braveheart kind of atmosphere to get your juices flowing. However, there are a few problems that need tending. First of all, in some missions the dreadful AI causes enemy units to simply refuse fighting - basically, they'll just be sitting and waiting for your archers to kick their butt. Now, that's really sad. But, what also comes as a drawback in gameplay is the fact that your units occasionally won't respond to orders. Instead of that, they will continue attacking the closest enemy unit and therefore walk blindly into death. In short, throughout most of the missions you'll have trouble from persuading your units to avoid stronger opponents.
In contrast to all of that, a few details make the game cool and exciting to play. For example, the imaginative story takes you to a whole new and fascinating world, filled with surprising events and challenging quests. Moreover, the scenarios are all unique and they won't be repetitive throughout the entire game. Also, like I said earlier the game's tech-tree is pretty long and thorough. And the game was supplemented with a straightforward economy system that will help you speed-up your food and material production. Aside from the standard supplies pilling up from the work of your villagers, you can also get food and materials by plundering enemy transport carts. All of these issues make the game interesting to play and they cast out the boredom entirely.
Naturally, in such a game you can expect that proper tactics and efficient unit-management are crucial elements of ending a battle successfully. Like in the real world, your archers should be placed on higher ground and your heavy troops and cavalry should be in mid-field or flanking enemy formations. You can also form-up your own troops to make a more effective blow to the opposing forces. Once your units establish the appropriate formation, you'll instantly realize that they will be more lethal in skirmishes and it will even be easier for your hero-character to heal them. Another important aspect of the game that contributes greatly to the value of gameplay, is that your units gain experience after battles, which makes them less expendable than in most strategy games out there. Experience can also be attained if you train your units by building dummy racks for them to practice on (nice idea).
Great basic storyline and scenarios that will keep you on your toes. Nice music and sound effects, lovely model animations, straightforward economic system, the realistic warfare evolution... In-game physics;
Why the lower score then? Clearly, because of the tragic textures and a few evident shortcomings in terms of gameplay, AI, and pathfinding... Sometimes enemy units ignore being attacked.