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Warlords Battlecry II

Score: 80%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Developer: SSG
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

The emphasis on Warlords Battlecry II obviously was not graphics. Utilizing two-dimensional backgrounds and 3D-''like'' units, the game looks much like any other RTS around. In general, the in-game animations lack randomness, and units seldom move except in the heat of battle. However, particle effects such as blood splats, fire, and magic spells are piled into Warlords Battlecry II which provides some visual stimulation to an otherwise mediocre graphical game.

Depending on this game's longevity in your game collection, the sounds in Warlords Battlecry II take on different attributes. This definitely is not a welcomed ''feature'' of the game. Each unit is supplied with only a limited number of comments, which they say randomly after commanded. Eventually the cycle becomes tedious and the initially giggle-worthy character sounds become annoying. The musical soundtrack, however, is riveting, taking you straight into an imaginary medieval world with echoed chants and eerie imagery.


Gameplay:

True to its turn-based ancestors, Warlords Battlecry II lacks any existence of a storyline or plot. The goal is to take control of Etheria through a series of skirmish missions and a few random tasks. Lacking a true story, your Campaign to rule the mythical land may seem a little trivial, but the heightened sense of strategy and combat with enemies shines, giving Warlords Battlecry II its credibility as an excellent addition to the Warlords series of games.

The inclusion of an RPG-like Hero character that follows your progression through the Campaign building experience serves as an excellent entity to link your campaigns progress. The hero can be one of twelve races: Human, Undead, Dwarf, Barbarian, Minotaur, Orc, High Elf, Wood Elf, Dark Elf, Fey or Daemon. Each race has its own set of strengths, weaknesses, building sets, and unit choices. As your Hero gains levels, you will choose his career and specialty. You will also gain special units who can join your ''retinue'', or team.

In some maps, the Hero can attempt a number of Quests, which are sidetracks from the main goal of the skirmish. The quest may involve reaching a certain location, killing a specific character, or something similar. Completion of a quest gives the Hero special gifts he can use to increase his experience level.

The remaining game details in Warlords Battlecry II mimics that of the RTS genre. The most important key to victory is proper control of resource control and management, since unit production relies heavily on the availability of resources. Resources are mined from four basic ores, which are located in mines placed on the game screen.

The game also includes a multiplayer option that take lets you use your Hero against real people via internet or LAN. You can also choose to play a single skirmish mission against the computer.


Difficulty:

Early skirmishes in the campaign feel trivial, as they serve merely as a way to let you get used to the environment of the game. However, difficulty does not slowly build. It jumps entire levels. Encountering resistance from enemy units may come as a shock as their forces multiply unannounced. The enemy AI in Warlords Battlecry II outstandingly generates tough competition. These men are tough and make for decent struggles within battles. Their ability to seek out your weaknesses and run away after you find theirs makes each character interesting to battle. A good idea would be to gain enough resources to summon more devastating and resource heavy units. But beware; enemies may plan an ambush of your buildings if high profile unit production is not leveled with your own defenses.

Game Mechanics:

There is a lot to remember in Warlords Battlecry II. Managing unit production, stockpiling resources, casting spells, researching skills, and Hero statistics are only the skin-level of this huge strategic world. Thankfully, the mechanical design provides simple and friendly ways to remedy each task. Easy to use menus allow you to choose from building commands, unit formations, etc. In general, this allows for less time worrying about getting your army to follow your orders and gives you more time to devise that foolproof strategy to clobber your enemy to the ground.

Newcomers to the RTS genre will appreciate Warlords Battlecry II for its easy use and innovations. Those in search of lavish stories should look elsewhere, but if tough competition and an almost never-ending strategic skirmish style campaign is your desire Warlords Battlecry II will provide your bloodthirst.


-==Boy, GameVortex Communications
AKA Kyle Prestenback

Minimum System Requirements:



Pentium II 350, 64MB RAM, DirectX 8.0a, 8MB video card, 845MB Hard disk space, Sound Card, 56K modem (for internet play), Windows OS.
 

Test System:



HP Pavilion 8776C, AMD Athlon 1Ghz CPU, 512MB RAM, 12X DVD, 16MB 3D graphics, Windows XP

Windows Ultra Assault Windows Larry Ragland 4X4 Challenge

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated