|Publisher: Feral Interactive Genre: Strategy & War|
|Min OS X: 10.1.3 CPU: G3 @ 500 MHz RAM: 128 MB Graphics: 8 MB VRAM|
September 8, 2003 | Michael Yanovich
Having said that, multiplayer games are played through Gameranger. Unfortunately, as of this writing Warrior Kings has just started shipping to the public and there were no available opponents just yet. The multiplayer portion of the game LOOKS like it will be a blast -- stories from the PC side of the world of sprawling keeps supported by multiple villages and complicated supply line routes sound exciting. But it’s going to be a trial by fire without a computer opponent to learn against first.
My guess as to why there is no custom game option vs the computer is that there doesn’t seem to be much AI present in the game. That is to say, if you approach enemy troops, they will all run out and attack you. Sometimes they will even send a few raiding parties into your town, but this appears to be a scripted event (once event X happens, send these warriors into this village to attack). I honestly don’t think the AI is there to allow the computer to build, forage and attack. Once, I noticed it was sending an unguarded cart full of materials along a certain path, so I simply set up a handful of archers nearby to attack it, which they did. And the computer sent out another cart. And another one. Every time my archers destroyed one cart, it simply built a new one and sent it along its way, unguarded and undeterred.
Luckily though, you can give units orders. Like when I’d ask my spearmen and archers to patrol my town’s border to prevent raids on my peasants. They performed their task admirably -- marching back and forth until the enemy hordes stormed into town, at which point my patrolling troops attacked and annihilated them.
And once the fight was over... they stayed where they were, all patrol instructions seemingly forgotten. When I went back to check on them, barbarians had snuck up behind them and were attacking my villagers just outside the far end of my patrol route. Had my soldiers continued with their vigilance, the town would have been safe. But since the fight occurred at the OTHER end of the route -- the end where my troops were now standing idly -- they appeared content to figure it was someone else’s job to protect the peasants.
Other times it’s difficult to get units to do anything at all, especially when you try to mass select a large group of varying units. Several times I’d select a large army (you’re not limited to groupings of 10 units) and order them to attack nearby units. Some would, others -- especially those out of range -- wouldn’t. They wouldn’t even begin to move towards the skirmishes and had to frequently be selected individually and told to attack before they would respond.
Once you get the fighting to begin, it’s pretty impressive to watch. Much like in Myth, terrain is crucial to the physics of war. Archers on high ground will do more damage and have longer range than those below. And terrain slope (as well as type of terrain) affects movement speed significantly.
In ShortIn short, this game is a lot of fun but is in need some serious tweaking. I just hope it’s successful enough to warrant a sequel (and that they use the second chance to solve the game’s problems).
Pros:• Large armies
• Strong graphics
• Unique and original RTS concepts
Cons:• Weak AI and multiplayer features
• No Mac vs PC games
• Some buggy interface problems