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Skip Navigation LinksPlayHard > In English > King Arthur - The Role-playing Wargame Review for PC


Название: Король Артур
Зарубежное название: King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame
Разработчик: Neocore Games
Зарубежный издатель: Neocore Games
Издатель в России: Руссобит-М
Официальный сайт игры: перейти
Официальный русский сайт игры: перейти
Системные требования:
P4-3.4, 1 GB RAM, 256 MB 3D Card
Рекомендовано:
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4, 2 GB RAM, 512 MB 3D Card
MultiPlayer: LAN (2), Internet (2)
Жанр: Strategy, TBS
Игра вышла: 24.11.2009
Рейтинг: 8.5

Adventures of the Knights of the Round Table

   In 1994 the Simtex studio, responsible for the first two parts of Master of Orion (1993-1996), tried to implement some of the ideas of Civilization (1991) in a Fantasy universe. As a result, the game Master of Magic was released, that after a series of patches became a rather amusing turn-based strategy allowing to build a magic kingdom. After Simtex was closed in 1997, Master of Magic itself inspired Dutch developers from the Triumph Studios, which established the Age of Wonders (1999-2003) line-up. In 2009, designers from the Hungarian company, Neocore Games, gathered all the necessary ingredients to make a successful epic strategy game with the exciting Real-time battles. To all of this the authors added the elements of the RPG genre, creating an unique Role-playing Wargame mix and gave us a superb chance to experience nostalgia for the game hits from the distant past.

   Neocore Games includes several dozen experts, each of which has accumulated sufficient experience in the industry. It looks like the team was completely independent making its own decisions throughout the full development cycle, except that it used the services of a musical studio recording the cool soundtrack. Corporate Coretech 3D engine was first used in the project Crusaders: Thy Kingdom Come. At that time we noted some shortcomings of the project. Just for 1,5 years the authors succeeded in the almost impossible task, because they heavily modernized their first concept and turned a group of scenarios for battles during the First Crusade to the fascinating history of the Camelot’s foundation.

   King Arthur's character in XII-XV centuries was described by such writers as Geoffrey of Monmouth, Tomas Malory and Chretien de Troyes, the French medieval poet, but in their works it was not easy to distinguish the fiction from the truth. According to the famous legend, the wizard Merlin was the mentor of Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, the leader of the Britons. After extracting the sword Excalibur from the stone Arthur received the right to the crown of Britain. Then he invited the most famous heroes of that time to his retinue and to reduce the number of contradictions between them he made them sit around the magnificent Round table. The developers of Neocore Games spent considerable amount of time on studying the stories of the adventures of Arthur and his knights, but in addition to the English folklore, they did not forget to read Celtic mythology, and in the end the game world was generously filled with a great variety of whimsical fairy-tale creatures.

   At the heart of the in-game campaign is the story of Arthur's ascent to power and his desire to unite the disparate provinces of Britain in a single powerful kingdom.  The governor himself takes pride of place at the Round Table, but he, like other monarchs, is not represented in the game as an individual unit. Though he doesn’t just watch the scene from this place, but builds up his reputation through your decisions.

Feudal Division

   The Global map includes several dozen provinces, nearly half of which is distributed among all the kings of Britain and the rest territories are owned by such intriguing leaders as the Green Knight and the Lord of the Sidhe, who settled in the forests of Bedegraine and beyond. During your travels you will meet many knights from the Arthurian legends, including Percival, Gawain, Lancelot, and others, but your first friend will be Sir Kay, son of Sir Ector. 

   The Tutorial was integrated into the campaign. Each your action is accompanied by a hint, but all the features are introduced gradually without any rush. You will have to solve a couple of quests to be able to establish your first stronghold and get acquainted to the urban planning and research. Originally there were four levels of difficulty, with the highest one closed until you finish the story at least once. The number of challenges is reflected in privileges for the AI on the strategic map (experience, military strength, reserves and tactics on the battlefield). With the patch the authors added new simplified mode for Beginners and you can switch between the difficulty levels at any time. For example, you can significantly weaken the AI in all possible ways, and reduce the costs of maintaining your armies.

   At first, it is unusual, that after the first significant battle losses can only filled at a temporary war camp, while even the division of troops into parts is not allowed, but it was all pre-planned by developers. To activate the control module for your armies you need to help the wounded knight in the Abbey and to find the Lady of the Lake as quickly as possible. After letting Arthur to fulfill an ancient prophecy, you will be able to capture your first castle laid the foundation of Camelot. 

   The economic model is based on two types of resources: food and gold (taxes, mining facilities, trade). In King Arthur you don't have to collect mana points since the usage of magic is closely connected with the characters and spells they cast on the battlefield. You can fill your money coffers through taxes, though at first you can not set them in a wide range. Each province donates a portion of its produced food and coins to the king, but the exorbitant demands of the monarch can have a negative impact on loyalty of your population. In addition, for the latter it will also be important to manage such indicators as health, public safety, and military potential in your provinces, while remembering the dominant culture and religion in that territory.  When you have enough resources, you can spend them on certain regional actions and re-populate cities, send healers to the people, conduct tournaments for the warriors, or even distribute the food to the poor, which, in turn, will lead to a temporary bonus to the performance of the area, and, for example, will increase the food income from there.

   Each year in King Arthur has four seasons. Spring is usually the best time for new mandatory and optional quests becoming available. In the summer the army can move quickly, but during the fall you should look for a good place, where you can wait out the cold. In winter, all troops get settled in their tents and can not move anywhere, but only at this time, the king gives his orders to the builders, the scientists, and also increases the stats of his leaders and soldiers according to the amount of the experience they got since the last winter.

Courtiers' duties

   In the vastness of Britain's hidden places Arthur can establish a new stronghold on the ruins of the majestic castles of the lords he defeated. Every city has 6 boroughs, where you can build individual estates. Within these areas, the positive effects can be strengthened with additional structures and monuments. The total number of buildings in the game reached 44, although in one castle you can construct only 24 of them, so the problem of choice is rapidly becoming urgent. At some point, you will come to the understanding that King Arthur is a unique game with lots of mutually exclusive alternatives, and actually you will need to walk the game through at least twice to be able to see a lot of additional content.

   All accessible urban infrastructure can be divided into different types: at the manor it is possible to increase food production, traders are happy to raise your income, the priests will promote the development of Christianity while the followers of the Old Faith will do the opposite. There is even a special monument available which will allow heroes to study deeper the nature of magic and get certain benefits. In addition, there is a blacksmith, a town council, a science academy, a Victorious Ward for fair rulers, which will open a shelter for the poor and wounded, and a dark keep with the prison for the tyrants. Some buildings reduce the costs of your construction or fasten the research. You can demolish the structures you don’t need and it is really useful when rebuilding captures enemy strongholds.

   In the Chancellery at first you will not find a favorable food-gold and vice versa exchange rate, but sometimes you just need some additional resources to stock up your royal reserves. The available research skillfully connects all the other aspects of management of your kingdom. 66 discoveries are divided into three categories. In the economic section, you can increase the collection of food and gold, improve the market’s exchange rate, the welfare of the provinces, open additional laws or regional options. In the area of administration there are exclusive spells, strategic bonuses and above all – the necessary technologies to stop such catastrophes as droughts, floods and epidemics once and for all. Military upgrades will allow to improve your units and get new opportunities for war-like leaders.

   Periodically, every province gets under a threat of natural, human or magical disaster. You will be notified about that with an indication on the negative effects provided by a delay with resolution of the problem.  Thus, a hermit with a pack of wolves will attack the peasantry reducing the military potential of the region; the Old Faith followers will start agitating for their religion, dividing the local population into two opposing camps.  In another case, a couple of your vassals can’t divide something, or a lord will beg you to save  something not be divided; vassal prompted to save her son from the robbers, the monk offered to send a beautifies son from the bandits. A monk will offer to rescue a beautiful lady from the Abbey located in the enemy’s territory, or one of the Lord, suddenly will stop paying taxes and declare himself a candidate for the role of the king. You have to react on most of that in a allowed number of turns. There are always some ways to interact with the events. If you choose to ignore such incidents, it will lead to real revolts, and offended province will hurry to withdraw from your kingdom.

   Trade quests make merchants appear on the Global map. You can buy grain with great discount (2 units of Food for just 1 Coin) or exchange ladies from your court and get some resources. In winter the monarch is allowed to enact new laws and decrees, each of which has both positive and negative points.  Will you pump out additional revenue from the kingdom for your new war campaign at the expense of the long-term development?  Do you want to declare a state monopoly and raise trade income while facing mining losses? Should you encourage dissemination of one religion and set yourself against all those who do not share such views? Everything is up to you to decide.

Following the footsteps of King Arthur

   The Campaign Storyline is presented in 4 Books of the Round Table. You will find dozens of major quests there. The one path you choose can block out all the optional choices you could make at the start of the adventure. You will determine yourself when to do any given storyline task, but be careful, since as the hero touches the magical scroll, it soon unfolds a subsequent chain of events. Those who like to try to do many things at once will be overwhelmed. Perhaps the authors could provide some hints to the gamers on the negative impact of the decisions made. For example, the capture of the fortress of Norfolk and deafeating the Saxons automatically leads to the failure of the “Visions” quest and immediately opens a portal in your territory, through which roaming armies of monsters like to arrive. In the other case, the alliance with the followers of the Old Faith in Wales will provoke a declaration of war by the Christian king living on the other side of the map. 

   Leaders should be cunning in their diplomacy. When you encounter your first powerful neighbors, then you will have a choice in how to build relationships with them. You can help the rebellious Prince to organize an uprising, or tell the tyrant about the traitor. If you want to clash two leaders in a war conflict, try to think of the consequences, since the winner of the struggle will be twice as strong for you to defeat. Periodically events themselves change the political map of the world, like when the two sons of the deceased father split the whole small kingdom into two new ones.

   Each quest is like a test and resembles the old text adventure games, but before starting it you have to select a knight who can handle the job and get all the awards. Some hero's abilities might have an impact on the successful implementation of the selected action. In most cases, you are allowed to solve any problems in a fair open battle or with peaceful means, with which you can perform certain assignments with minimal losses. During the negotiations, you are always able to bribe a companion with gold, food, artifacts, soldiers, knights and noble ladies, depending on what interests him or her. It is great, that the hints provided let us know about the preferences of our opponents. If you're willing to pay the assigned price, you will be able not only to annex a part of the enemy army, but in rare cases even to persuade their commander to join your Round Table.

   No less interesting are purely textual quests inviting you to participate in the most famous legends of the Arthur's knights. Special strong point of these tasks lies in the included simple puzzles, where you can find some verbal riddles and even a maze, which you will hardly pass without using a piece of paper and a pen to write down the names of the rooms you get into. 

   One time you will have to sneak into the wizards' tower. You can silently watch for a sorcerer passing by, try to fight him, or call for a duel with a weaker sentinel in the game to pick up his amulet-key. Inside you can go directly to the basement to reach your goal or spend some more time to study all the rooms, meet a mage, defeat him and reap some additional cool rewards like a valuable artifact. Sometimes these adventures may affect the conditions of the following next battle or the list of the trophies. Will you give out all your tax income from a province to be able to be protected from the magic of your foe? Or maybe you think that giving out a knight to the service of the mystical Ageless Child in exchange for some new units? You can do the first or the second, or both, or even deny all of the named options. If you let your knight go, you will surely miss him as well as your troops during the next few fights, but when he comes back he will be stronger, so it is worth taking the risk in the end if you are brave enough to do it.

   While completing the quests knights can get injured and will have to heal wounds. Or they might get a cursed artifact. Don’t be afraid of such things, since you will surely get a new task to remove the bad magic from a good item. The text in green color during a test shows actions, where the chance of success are higher than average, and in red risky and dangerous ventures are markes.  Of course, if you do not want to deal with negative consequences or lose rewards you have to use the method of trial, error and load a saved game. However, just be more attentive to the to the descriptions and stories and you will surely benefit from it when asked about the name of one of the spiritual leaders of the Shi trying to avoid a new huge battle.

Individual approach

   For his king all the great deeds are done by his knights. Completion of the third book of the Round Table will even require to 12 faithful companions in your court. The easiest way to find new commanders is in the completion of quests, where often there is option to recruit the hero, and sometimes you'll be able to take a pre-cursory glance at its characteristics and level of experience. At one time you will need to make a moral choice between a father of the family who is ready to immediately join your army, and a promising son, doomed to spend his life in the forest. If you side with a young man, you will have to defeat the mighty army of his ancestor.

   RPG-component is neat, intriguing and skillfully balanced. Each character has five main characteristics: leadership (influences the costs of maintaining an army), adventurism (additional experience for completing adventure quests, and the movement points on the global map), reign (income growth of the provinces under control), fighting ability (points of life and strength of the attacks) and magical abilities (available mana points). Although there is no Level Cap, hardly you will advance much further, than the Level 25, since you will have to enlist different armies and quests will have to be solved by different knights to be able to be everywhere on time. The duration of the campaign itself also affects this as well. The maximum limit for any base skill is 20 points, excluding bonuses from the artifacts.

   Depending on the class of the character (Warlord, Sage or a Champion) you will receive a nice specific bonus, and will also be able to master the 12 skills, chosen from among several dozen. The skills are divided into active ones (used in battle by pressing a button), and passive ones, that are always in effect.  The total number of abilities for all classes of characters, including spells, reaches one hundred, which is truly a lot considering how cool they were designed. Some skills strengthen the effect of a certain spell, attacking or defensive performance of the hero and his bodyguards appointed from any military unit of the army, while others provide benefits on a global map in the management of the kingdom. In the battles the hero is allowed to use only 4 active skill, you can select prior to the battle, unless, of course, you were attacked. Then you will have to stick to options selected in your previous turn. In one battle you can place a bet on the "Curse of Shadows" to neutralize the enemy's arches, and the next time it might be easier to choose "Fog of Avalon" in order to safely get close to the enemy infantry.

   Each skill has 4 levels, but the effect of its use can be improved further through the magical objects.  The developers added 150 artifacts to the game, but every hero has only 4 slots: a sword, an armor or a shield, as well as two amulets, so you always have to choose the things that will prove to be the most useful for a particular knight. Relics are extracted after finishing quests, and capturing enemy heroes in battles.

   It is a good decision to sell some unnecessary items or clones that you've collected. For that to happen you can visit a local merchant, which appear on the map from time to time. What is great, the trader has some food and gold reserves, as well as their magical relics. With equalization of weights you can quickly concoct the most suitable deal, although the price tag on the artifact isn't always the one your companion is ready to pay for it. The best Relics have additional powers which have to be unlocked by completing necessary objectives, like winning a certain number of battles, defeating some hostile heroes, doing a few quests or regularly using named spells.

   Just like in Crusaders: Thy Kingdom Come, the previous project of Neocore Games, every unit has several options: attack power, defense, archery, endurance (fresh soldiers always fight better and move faster, upkeep cost and so on. Your units become more experienced by killing their enemies. You can not only increase their basic stats at each new Level but twice on the way to Level 10, you can choose the additional skills for the units, which vary depending on the types of units. The total number of such abilities has reached 61. Thus, almost anyone can get magical weapons which make their bearer deadlier. Light Cavalry will be able to teach to Dodge, receiving less damage from enemy arrows while lowering own melee damage.

   Sometimes the choice is extremely difficult to make. For example, some archers can inflict triple damage when make the first shot from an ambush, while others are able to ignite arrows for the price of their firing rate. Individual units can be specifically trained for fights with armored enemies, while you might find the attack rate of others more useful than the power of each single hit.

In the name of the Faith

   At the beginning King Arthur is an atheist, but your decisions will slowly change this. Views of the monarch can be shifted along two crossed, but very different and independent scales. At the borders of the first one you can find such points as a "Fair Ruler" and "Tyrant". The other one offers to become a Christian or a Pagan king. Preferred Religion and Righteousness will affect not only the attitude towards you from some neighbors that would result in a profitable alliance or a bloody war, but also in turn changes the loyalty of the Knights of the Round Table.

   If one of your commanders supports the Sidhe side and respects the Druids, the Christian views of Arthur sooner or later will lead to the fact that he will leave your service if you do not dismiss him sooner. Changing Morality will lead you into one of four zones, where you will be provide with unique advantages in the field of kingdom management, get new units and spells. The tyrant has easy ways to maintain his large armies due to oppressing his subordinated. A Fair king will make the economy run smoother and people be happier. The Christian leader will get access to powerful new units and spells protecting those who believe in the same God, while the Old Faith follower will employ less, but stronger magical warriors and be able to cast a variety of destructive spells during battles.

   If the commander is particularly dear to you, his loyalty can be improved with certain methods. Give him a Fiefdom (up to three provinces for one knights), rings and amulets of Loyalty or select the appropriate wife.  During the adventure will have to save a lot of beautiful ladies, some others ones you can buy from merchants giving them enough money. A building in the Citadel increases the chances of a new Lady joining your court. The one and only wife for a knight should be chosen carefully and not according to its portrait, but by her character’s traits. Some women present their husbands with unique bonuses like invulnerability, while others will will cause a severe blow to the economy of her knight’s lands. 

   All the defeated enemy heroes will get to the King's prison, where you can torture them, wanting to know all about the location and composition of the armies of their King in the current season. You can release the prisoners and improve your reputation or you can find for a ransom. If you don’t like the fee, you can wait a bit longer for a new offer from your enemy, but there are high chances that you will never hear from him again, so it is better to give captured heroes away in exchange for new artifacts and amount of food and gold allowing to maintain one army for one season. You will soon see a character you got rid of on the border's of the closest enemy’s province with a small army. If you march quickly, you can attack the enemy’s hero again and return it to the basement of your castle. While wasting too much time deciding a fate of a prisoner, he might die or even escape though we wish to be notified when the latter action takes place.

   At any given time, the hero's army can include up to 16 units, in the list of which you will find several dozen types. Basic units are opened by researching appropriate technologies. These include archers (4 species), crossbowmen (smaller range and a straight trajectory for fired projectiles), light cavalry (3), heavy cavalry (4), armored infantry (3), light infantry (4), pikemen (3).  Each of them is unique not only because of their attacking and defensive traits, but with endurance and upkeep cost as well. In addition, more expensive units have complementary skills and know how to use certain formations in the battle. 

   Better units within the branches of the same type are upgraded automatically when you get the appropriate knowledge. In villages and towns you can always replace any lost soldiers with experiences veterans, while being at a war camp requires additional payment for saving the experience of a damaged unit. If you got some unique regiments, you can replenish its numbers at any town even without the technology to build more such warriors.

   Some diplomatic alliances will add to the barracks unique units like the fast Saxon horsemen or Welsh Bowmen. You can even recruit a few Giants which won't get a warm welcome from other soldiers. Advancements on the Morality scale will let you hire Raven Guards and Marauders or Crusaders, Knights of the Grail. If you are Rightful enough, a pack of "Golden Gryphon" heavy infantry will come in handy. There are also mighty good and evil warriors, created by magic for the believers in the Old Faith.

Divide and Conquer

   Conquest of the new province is concluded by securing its key locations, which are both towns and monuments. However, the local attractions are also useful objects that give strategic and tactical bonuses.  Each turn spent at the arena makes more experienced all the soldiers stationed there, while there is an Abbey with the similar function on the map that does the same thing for your knights. If you send a general out to a monastery, he will bring in 5 additional Research points each season. Stonehenge doubles mana points for the defending side in the battle on the spot; the inn increases the probability of a trade quest by 50% and the keep does the same for adventure with an emphasis on combat.

   The only drawback of the enemy AI on the global map is his obedience to the story triggers. Free diplomacy outside of quests here, unfortunately, is absent, but a "sandbox" mode could be a nice addition. Once you interact with one of your neighbors and get a declaration of war, the computer opponent immediately turns into a dangerous aggressor, attacking your armies and capturing your towns until you stop him with triumphant march of your forces entering his capital city. It looks like the enemies always have enough resources and a pack of loyal strong knights. Somehow if a prisoner dies, it makes AI lose the hero from his pool, because we have never encountered those who didn’t manage to escape or wasn't bought out. Experience of the enemy armies is always one step ahead of your own if your difficulty mode isn't lower than Normal.

   We found interesting the common templates AI uses to build his armies. If one king prefers lots of cavalry units, the other one can stick to archers or a more balanced force, or even to including up to 4 knights in one stack. When you get acquainted with these AI play styles, you'll realize that often opponents clearly follow them. Sometimes you'll face tough situations. After the invasion of the enemy territory, get ready to battle any enemy knight that can only reach you in one turn. It leads to a series of clashes, where you’ll lose some of your soldiers each time and won’t be able to save your game until your next turn.

   One of the main advantages of the game is the tactical battles. If the creators of the Total War (2000-2009) series usually have to release heavy pack with patches to fix battle AI, to make him more competent and less predictable, Neocore Games greatly succeeded at its second attempt. AI triggers from Crusaders: Thy Kingdom Come passed away, and some sudden and stunning decisions of computer commanders are able to easily pull the nerves even of some experienced strategists, revealing a truly limitless possibilities for experiments on the battlefields.

Master and Commander

   Basic fighting principles also undergone several changes since the days of Crusaders: Thy Kingdom Come.  The concept of dynamic Morality for both sides of the conflict reduces the impact of the factor of numerical superiority. If the average Morale of your faction wasn't spoiled by global events such as delaying wages to your soldiers, then both sides begin fighting almost on equal terms. By the way, if the battle is not associated with a quest and a unique battleground design, you'll even be asked to choose the desired landscape out of several options (3-4 for each province).  So, you may prefer swampy or hilly terrain with dense forests and less plains, if you have a lot of infantry and a few riders. While the enemy cavalry is crossing one of the rivers, it would be the most vulnerable to archers shooting from the opposite shore.

   The limit for the morale of the conflicting parties is reduced when one of the squads diminishes completely, but the main driving factor is in capturing Victory Locations on the map.  They can represent the surrounding villages and architectural monuments. In order to establish control over them it is enough to clear the nearby area and capture the appropriate flag. Therefore, you will get your own Victory Location, which can give various bonuses for you during or after the battle (food and gold). While fighting you can use free powerful spells, extra mana points, depending on the chosen faith, or reduced fatigue levels. You can enjoy these advantages in a small radius around the VL, and another element of balance is the cooldown time, which has to elapse, before you use the VL power again. 

   If the enemy possesses a larger number of control points, then the Morality of your army will tend to diminish towards the zero point, where you can lose, until you change the situation. Weak and mobile troops while being supported by certain skills and spells may be able to defeat a large and unwieldy army with the help of clever tactics and ambushes. It would be good to see more depth during the sieges though, since now it looks like running around the narrow city street trying to occupy more Guard towers.

   The landscape greatly influences the performance of your units. It is better to position your archers on the hill or at the fort. You just have to carefully study your surroundings all the time to find out all the intriguing defensive spots, the developers have added to each map. In dense forests your archers will feel uncomfortable just as your heavy infantry while crossing the river is risking much, whereas the cavalry is the king in the open field. Great importance for the success is in choosing the most suitable formations. Horde of bowmen will suffer less damage from enemy arrows while being relatively weak in any melee encounter. Your spearmen can form a "Diamond" for stopping any cavalry charges, but it will be hard for them to stand against AI shooting units.

Surprisingly Good AI

   Archers in this game right from the start are very deadly, but not everything is so simple. First of all, you can visit the options screen and making them weaker. Secondly, this unusual balance is cool, because some good arrows volleys from 4-5 such units are able to destroy any single one enemy unit till it even reaches your line. However, enemy often has not least than 16 units in the armies, so you won’t avoid melee combat during epic battles. 

   Towards the middle of the game you will feel that with the appearance of armored infantry and powerful spells archers lose their dominant role in the battles. Thus, the Longshields can form "Turtle" which is almost immune to arrows. Some artifacts will provide you with higher ranged defense values for both the hero and sometimes for his bodyguards. Also you can you defensive spells to get protection from distant attacks. Maybe you would like to change the time of day or the weather to reduce enemy range of fire. There is also destructive spells so you can kill enemy bowmen in a variety of deadly. One unique spell even allows you to create a short-term unilateral portal for instant teleportation to any place on the battlefield. It sounds like a good opportunity for your knights to get behind the enemy lines and make them fear you.

   AI often behaves unpredictably, and made decisions depend on the chosen difficulty level and the composition of a participating army. We experienced a lot of cases, where weaker generals pulled their forces back to forests to make an ambush or escape our arrows. AI knows what guerrilla tactics is and actively grabs Victory Locations, trying to make your movements on the map chaotic. You won’t even notice how suddenly he gets the reinforcements in from reserves. AI actually feels that if it can't win by force, it will try to by controlling more VL's or making you split your big force into small groups. If AI is on par in the strength with your army, it will wait till you make your first step to be able to unleash the power of his magic on your forces. AI eliminates your archers by whole regiments while using his favorite "Curse of Shadows" spell. If you attack with a knight, whose bodyguards are stronger and have more HP’s, AI will switch to the "Dragon’s Breath" which takes a chance of killing 25% of all the soldiers in a stack. We especially liked outflanking maneuvers. AI always select his best forces to strike behind your lines, it can even change formations on the fly to be able to go through the first row of your infantry and scare your archers away. Enemy archers enjoy provoking your bowmen to fire when the friendly targets are mixed with the enemy ones.

Over time, your characters will gain such power that can single-handedly destroy the entire enemy units.  It is the Knights of the Round Table, accompanied by the heavy cavalry, who would have to take the field and force opponents to spend mana on spells, but take care of your military leaders, because it is sad to lose it and see leaving your services. No matter how strong your heroes are, enemies will not be easy to defeat. They have "Whirlwind" spell, which slowly washes away soldiers one by one. So you need to develop all the skills that can protect you from enemy magic.

A Fairytale Beauty

   Interface of the game is quite convenient and easy to master once you get used to the presence of the context menu on the objects, using your right-button mouse-click. On the global map we would like to see more detailed budget reports since the Chancellery balance isn’t detailed enough and studying the provinces' information screens can take a lot of time each year. 

   In the world of King Arthur you will find plenty of tips that would not allow you to get lost in this Fantasy world. There is also a kind of Diary filled with the history of the events taking place. You’ll read background of your quests and everything that is important in the lift of in-game Britain. Double click on any task shows you where you need to go to complete it. Before the battle the camera flies over all the spectacular victory points. The most critical bugs have been fixed in a few days after the release of small patches, which are automatically installed when you run the game through Steam.

Perhaps, the most significant problem is the desire of your warriors to rush to meet the enemy. Although there are commands that regulate the aggressive and defensive behavior, any subsequent movement of the detachment will cancel this order, and the approach of enemy units makes your soldiers to move out immediately in their direction to intercept and start fighting. For archers there are very useful instructions for keeping the distance to the enemy. Also you can order them to hold fire to protect friendly targets. In Crusaders: Thy Kingdom Come a duel between any two confronted troops continued until the last drop of blood, what many have criticized. At this time in the game you will find a button which tries to make your regiment disengage. You can regroup and attack from the other side or retreat, but, of course, you won't get anywhere if you are surrounded from all sides. Though it is still important to save the lives of your best units. Sometimes we tried to cast a spell, but managed to do it only the second time while during the first one no changes were made to the game.

   Stability of the application is also very pleasing. After several dozen hours of play, we had just two crashes. Regular autosaving each season won't let you lose your progress. One battle, at average, takes about 20 minutes of real time. Unlike the Total War series, here you won't get a single reason for using autobattles, since the perfect combination of a decent enemy AI with the ability to see how your knights turn into deadly warriors using all the options you gave them will make you want to participate in each and every battle personally. If you still decide to rely on the immediate outcome of any fight and get all the experience shared equally among the winners, don't forget to select up to 4 units which will get maximum possible protection during an autobattle. Sometimes it really can provide better results, than you can achieve, if you're significantly weaker than the enemy, for example.

   In addition to the campaign, there is a quick battle mode with the settings you can define before the start. You can choose one of three dozen maps, determine the morality of the combatants, allocate the budget and acquire the units you want. The multiplayer over LAN and Internet works similarly but with more options which let password protect your party, use chat functions and ranking ladder, which saves your time from battling gamers who are much less experienced than youhave become.

   Three-dimensional graphics pleases the eyes with a very colorful strategic map that shows the change of seasons, and the sunny rays dance on the waters surrounding the territory of Britain. In battles, the quality of the units and heroes models can be praised. They look different from each other (height and faces). Also the game features varied landscapes, nearly perfect horses' movements, cool weather and spells effects with lightning bolts, thunderstorms, fog and night darkness. Very beautiful art is displayed at the loading screens and the pictures are always accompanied by useful game tips. It is a pity that the unique frames of animation for the majority of units are few in numbers. We'd enjoy seeing more detailed fighting animation, though on the good side we experienced some ragdoll physics implemented with soldiers dying in different postures releasing some bloody sprays.

   For the voices in the English version good actors were picked. There are a lot of great sound effects both in the strategic and tactical modes. After applying the patch you can hear battle sounds even from the birds-eye view which is the most comfortable one for managing your army on the battlefield. Among the 15 musical tracks to be found, at least 5 songs can be listened to endlessly, as the tones of harp, strings, woodwind and ethnic instruments enrich sthe perfect atmosphere of this medieval fantasy world.

Conclusion

   King Arthur - The Role-playing Wargame in a fair competition can easily defeat boring and problematic Warhammer: Mark of Chaos. The unique decisions of Hungarian designers of Neocore Games, truly addictive gameplay, non-traditional balance of power, extremely high replayability and smart AI tactics comprise a significant set of advantages for this epic strategy game built in a fantasy setting. Especially by today's standards, when some developers are releasing products, which require many months of fixing the bugs with a lot of patches. In the second quarter of 2010 Neocore Games will present to the public its new game, Lionheart: Kings' Crusade. Please, Neocore Games, keep on surprising us with such high-quality games in future!

PlayHard Score: 85

19.12.2009 13:42, Unicorn

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Новости: 20.01.2010 Вся королевская рать
28.10.2009 Ход королем
17.09.2008 Анонс (RU): King Arthur
08.04.2008 Анонс: King Arthur
Обзоры: King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame
Читы: King Arthur: The Role-playing Wargame
Ролики: King Arthur Collection [Launch Trailer 1m9s 1280x720]
King Arthur Collection [Announcement Trailer 1m31s 1280x720]
King Arthur [Dev Diary #2 - Heroes, Extended version for HC gamers, 7:55, wmv, HD 720p]
King Arthur [Dev Diary #3 - Spells, 6:00, wmv, HD 720p]
King Arthur [Dev Diary #2 - Heroes, 5:35, wmv, HD 720p]
King Arthur [Dev Diary #1, 5:21, wmv, HD 720p]
King Arthur [trailer, 1:08, wmv, 1280x960]
Демо-версии: King Arthur
Патчи: Король Артур [v1.04, Ru]
Король Артур [v1.03, Ru]
Программы: King Arthur [wallpapers]
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