War of the Roses
AMD Radeon HD 5870
Two long years have passed since the gaming world had been blessed with Mount & Blade: Warband, that had not only brought one of the best Sandbox Single player experiences in my living memory, but also incorporated a Multiplayer system for those inclined to slice open their friends with an axe, spear and sword. Pixel Judge has been given access to the beta; so read on to see if War of the Roses, due to release on the 2nd of October this year, could deliver you the next generation of Medieval carnage.
For those of you who have, like me, enjoyed the battles in M&B:W and played some of its Multiplayer, War of the Roses will feel very much like home. Set in the late medieval period, depicting the dramatic clash between two great English Noble houses, the games background is as arbitrary as it is ingenious. Very much at the end of the time in which white knights in shining armour are said to have dominated the battlefield, the game allows you to play as a soldier of said period.
What do you mean: 'Smells of cheese?'
Basing itself on the experiences of M&B:W, the game has improved the combat and added a more refined hit detection system. Melee combat still has the same problem as the spiritual predecessor. It sometimes looks more like an exchange of hits until one of the combatants finally dies of his wounds, than a fluent combat between two soldiers. Yet, the developers have done a great job of making it appear more fluent and, when fighting on the battlefield, one can often spot a duel that makes for exciting spectating – if one had the time.
Other than M&B:W, War of the Roses introduces a progression system into the fray. While at first only the footman is available to the player, the first three levels will unlock all basic classes. The Crossbowman, Longbowman and Footknight together with the Footman will familiarize the player with the game mechanics and give him the option to try close and ranged combat; each in two different ways. Upon launch, the game will also come your way with an ‘engaging and immersive story driven‘ Singleplayer campaign, designed to prepare the player for the Multiplayer as well as giving him rewards that can be used during the online experience.
For the blood god!
Having bloodied himself/herself on the field of battle, the game unlocks the ability to create custom classes which can be outfitted in various ways. The progression system itself, sadly hampered by a few problems with the beta servers, is an excellent idea to reward the player continuously for his exploits on the battlefield. It hasn’t been fully developed yet which is obvious when you take a look at the editor, but beta is beta and the developers have announced that certain changes will be made.
The profile editor itself, once finished, will very likely be one of the main assets of the game. Unlocking items while gaining levels, the editor enables the player to field a more personalised collection of polygons on the field. Each weapon can be customised from the fighting style, blade, shaft, pommel to the ammunition and penetration power. As well as that, the player can choose various perks which in no way are giving unfair advantages. But instead, give the player a chance to focus his character in a particularly way. Armour will receive various different colour skins and last, but by no way least; each player can create his own heraldry with lots of different options to make it truly unique. Of course, in an environment where every and all combinations are possible, it becomes a hard job indeed to balance the game to make it a pleasant experience for all. My hopes are high though that changes will be made. The developers have thus far displayed a great willingness to listen to constructive feedback from the community and have announced various changes because of the concerns raised.
Get down! And stay down!
Naturally, each design choice in the profile editor has its advantages and disadvantages, thus opening itself up to the play style of each gamer. If you are the sort who wants to get into peoples faces and revel in the goringly brutal close combat, than a heavily armoured footknight might be your choice. If you fancy yourself being the noble type, aloft on his steed of battle, riding down his foes in charges of glory, then by all means, pick a steed and ride forth. Yet, if you have, like me, come to the obvious conclusion that hell hath no fury unlike a well-placed crossbow bolt, than perhaps you will join me and we shall rain death from afar.
War of the Roses sure looks promising and is one of those titles that I look greatly forward to. The beta has shown a great potential of this game and now it lies with the developers to make it truly so.