Thursday, 21 March 2013

King Arthur - The Collection Review

King Arthur reminds me of the Total War series but with a story and more RPG aspects. But enough about the game for a moment. The story of King Arthur was a legendary British leader from the late 5th and early 6th centuries. He has had many incarnations over the years including animated films, full features and video games (this basically).

Anyway now you have a bit of background (albeit very little) on with the game. King Arthur has you adventuring around Britannia in a turn based strategic overworld and engaging in battles in real-time strategy style. Like I said it draws many things from the Total War series. You begin the game as young Arthur's father has died and are being shunted forward to be King. The starting area has you dealing with some rebellious faction and brings in moral choices very early on (something that features heavily as it moulds how the story and your characters changed but more on that later) each with their benefits.

The battles have pitting your army against an enemy army. Something I learnt early on was not to rely on the 'autobattle' feature as it almost always end with you losing far too many units. And units are extremely costly to regain. Anyway, during the battles you often have victory points that are certain locations such as villages, towers or keeps that give you buffs and help you to control the battlefield. The more of these you control the more likely you'll win. The buffs can range from Ealing your units to causing your archers to fire faster. All in all they are useful and enrich the gameplay experience by making it really feel as if you are conquering (or liberating) a region.

King Arthur has RPG features and as such each unit levels up. This means for basic units like spearmen that get to increase their stats. These stats include: attack, defence, stamina and upkeep cost. Your knights of the round table a likewise upgradable with slightly more options. You get a stat point that you can upgrade their leadership or fighting prowess but also you get a skill point for gaining new spells. All your hero units can use these spells in battle and certain units such as cavalry have abilities like dodge that make ranged attacks miss but reduces their defence.

King Arthur's quest system is reminiscent of old adventure books. Quests happen in a text bed adventure where you make decisions about what you elected knight does. This can alter your in game moral compass so make sure you choose the outcome you want. Quests can either result in a peaceful solution or a battle and the odds can end up stack in either favour depending upon what your choices were previously. This curious little throw back to gaming of years past is actually refreshing and helps to drive the story, build the world and give depth to the characters.

Right, onto the morality system. In King Arthur your moral choices are tracked from four points: Christianity and Old Faith, and Righteous and Tyrant. As you might of guess there are opposites. You can't be a Righteous Tyrant and neither can you be a Christian of the Old Faith. As is usual with moral choices in games it is best to choose what you want to be and stick with it. This is because as you progress down one of the moral pathways you gain new units, skills and general perks depending upon your choices. Being give more than just the 'good' and 'bad' choices adds a little more than usual to a moral choice system. However, it is sometimes necessary the you switch you're choices depending upon the situation. I both love and hate this. Firstly I find it annoying because when I'm close to unlocking a cool Old Faith unit I don't want to need to choose a Christian option to gain a cool item at the end of a quest. I do, however, love that it makes the world less black and white that sometimes it is necessary to compromise.

The RTS battles in King Arthur are what the game is all about. Pitting your legion against another. This is not always so easy though. For all the great ideas in this game there are so many bugs and bad gameplay choices. For starters, the user interface during RTS battles is so big that sometimes my units die because I can't see they are bring attacked. Another thing that really irritates me in the heat of battle is that I find it really hard to move the camera around. Zooming in and out of the action is a right pain. Sometimes it works and others it doesn't and his really breaks up the flow of the battle or gets me kill because I'm too busy fighting with the camera and not the undead hordes.

King Arthur has other strange choices. I don't understand why, for example, I have to hover over things for such a long time to know what they are and what they do. If trying to figure out the game for the first time this is not only very time consuming but a pain since it isn't always clear when it is going to show you the information.

On the whole I would say that King Arthur is a very good strategy game with RPG elements that actually enrich the gameplay. However, it has a number of questionable designs and bugs that frustrate and make the game harder to play. I would say that this is a game worth playing but be aware of some parts that are going to annoy you. However, don't let this minor blemishes put you off a well crafted and highly enjoyable strategy game.

Score - 83/100

General Information

Game Name - King Arthur - The Collection
Developer - Neocore Games
Genre - Strategy
Release Date -
Bundle -