King Arthur - Review @ Gamespot
For those of you who have been wanting more information on King Arthur - The Roleplaying Wargame then this review should help. Gamespot took a long look at this game and gave a very detailed report on it. There is a lot of praise for the game as well as more than a few complaints, but the overall impression is positive with the hopes that many of the issues can be patched in the future. The final score was 7/10. Here are some snippets from the review:
In the beginning, however, King Arthur is one impressive game. Visuals strike you right away. The rolling green fields of the countryside and the sunshine glimmering off the sea really provide an old English atmosphere. The detailed soldier models and the ability to zoom in for close-ups of battles also lend wargame credibility. It's all a bit more grim than one would expect from a King Arthur game, with a Warhammer influence evident in the painted art seen on loading screens, although it still sets a great dark mood. Only the occasional typos in the onscreen text, along with the forgettable music and sparse voice samples detract from the otherwise immersive atmosphere. And even then, the game sometimes surprises you with some spooky sound effects during battles or when scrolling across the map screen of Britain.
Basic gameplay is at first reminiscent of the Total War series or even a more hardcore game of grand strategy, such as the Europa Universalis franchise. You take on the role of King Arthur himself in the single-player campaign (one-off skirmish scenarios and multiplayer battles are also offered, although the meat of the game is in the campaign) and must work to unite all of Britain by using turn-based tactical moves on a countrywide map screen consisting of numerous provinces. The strategic component of the game should be pretty familiar to most players. Most of your time is spent building up armies by recruiting in towns that you control, shuffling them around the map to attack rivals, and expanding your kingdom. Running your empire has been streamlined in a straightforward system that sees you advance through a season of the year in each turn. Recruiting new soldiers is handled by simply heading to a town with enough citizens to press into your service. Troop types are relatively standardized, with the expected mix of axemen, cavalry, spearmen, bowmen, and the like. All gain experience and level up, though, so you can customize your armies by buffing skills--such as attack, defense, or shooting accuracy--during the winter turn when attacks are halted while everybody hunkers down to wait out the snow. Managing the economy is also a snap because you only have to look after a pair of automatically collected resources in food and gold.
Role-playing aspects of King Arthur are sort of secondary to the strategic play, although they are actually the most well-realized aspect of the game. As the legendary monarch, you manage a team of knights of the round table who serve as heroes with set classes and special skills. Divine powers allow the casting of spells with varied effects that blast enemies with meteors, heal allies, or even send down a fog to obscure the view of archers. Base class skills and default abilities can be selected whenever knights level up. You can even acquire and equip magical weapons, as well as other artifacts, allowing you to treat these heroes like an extended adventure party as in a fantasy RPG. That fantasy angle is quite strong here, too, as you eventually take on magical faerie foes that provide some of the toughest opposition in the entire game. So you wind up with a quasi-historical D&D style of game when it comes to the role-playing side of things.
Even though King Arthur: The Role-playing Wargame can hook you for a great many hours in its present state, you can't escape the notion that the game could use a pretty comprehensive patch. This is a great concept but only a good execution, which leaves the end result sort of dissatisfying even while you find it hard to stop playing. Let's hope that NeoCore Games keeps at it until the game is brought to its full potential.
Edit: A patch bringing the game to version 1.02 has been released and is available on Steam.
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