Warlords: Battlecry III
|Genres:||Strategy / Real-Time Strategy|
|Release Date:||May 19, 2004|
|Game Modes:||Singlepalyer / Multiplayer|
There’s a lot of stuff in there…
So what happens when hardcore role-playing whimpers out of existence? A steady streak of strategy titles start playing more like RPGs than the actual games bearing that label. The Warlords series of real-time games has had a long reputation of providing engaging RTS action mixed with a hint of role-playing, and number three continues that trend whilst extending the availability of options considerably. The only problem is that outside of a new approach to the campaign, there really isn’t anything new bought to the original formula – just more stuff.
There’s a thin plot wrapping it all together. In the quest for more wealth, merchants have taken to conquering a race of lizard people known as the Ssrathi, who are backwards technologically but wealthy beyond measure. They’re not know-nothings as far as black magic however, which leads the leader of the Ssrathi to conjure up something truly nasty to deal with their invaders.
Possibly the best reason to pick up WBC 3 is the campaign mode, which abandons the predecessor’s RISK style gameplay for something more akin to a proper open-ended adventure centered around exploration. You sail and travel from various fixed points on the adventure map, complete optional and plot-centric quests, engage in raids and huge battles, hire mercenaries, ally with other races, scurry the lands for magical artifacts (which you can either sell or equip your avatar with), and generally take part in a very long and winded character building experience spanning several weeks on average. On the ground it plays and looks very similar to Warlords: Battlecry 2, with the most notable shift in gameplay allowing you to now Level Up in the middle of a mission, and not only at the end of it as before.
The only problem is that there’s a bit too much stuff to play around with. With the total figure of playable races now risen to a whopping sixteen, each with their individual units, buildings and playing styles, mixed with a range of 28 classes for each hero ( Warrior, Thief, Merchant, Runemaster, Rodeo Clown, etc.) with god-only-knows how many skillsets, spells and whatnot, and complete character chiseling freedom throughout the whole enterprise. results in a great deal of flexibility. But it’s at such a grandiose scale that some players – especially those new to Warlords: Battlecry – will find difficulty in considering their options.
The documentation for the game is particularly incomplete – How does armor work? Why is Morale so important? There’s a useful tutorial thrown in there, sure, but gone are those painstaking walkthroughs of each race and raw tables explaining every single stat and figure. It assumes that you’re familiar with WBC 2, and that you can recognize what is old and new. It’s perhaps because of this it might be wise that new players instead tackle the second or even first game of the series before embarking on Battlecry 3, but for seasoned players it’s a clear score.
System Requirements: Pentium II 450 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 1 GB HDD, Win98
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