|Dev: Neocore Games|
|Pub: Paradox Interactive|
|Release: January 27, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Partial Nudity, Violence|
by Josh Wirtanen
King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame was a real-time strategy game that had players command massive armies across Britannia to help Arthur unite the land under his rule. It was well-received by strategy game enthusiasts. In fact, we here at Cheat Code Central praised it for its impressively detailed visuals and deeply satisfying strategy elements, giving it a score of 4.3/5. The sequel is due out later this year, and I was lucky enough to spend some time with the folks at Paradox Interactive and see King Arthur II: The Role-Playing Wargame in action.
At the end of the first game, Britannia was united under Arthur's banner and all was well with the world. However, this peace didn't last long. King Arthur II begins in a very dark version of Britannia, one in which the Holy Grail has been smashed by a witch and Arthur has been wounded, becoming the "Maimed King." Britannia sinks back into war.
Players will once again command massive amounts of troops across a fantasy version of early Britain. However, King Arthur II is running on a brand new engine developed in-house that allows for even larger armies. I was told by the good people at Paradox that the new engine can support 3,000-4,000 troops on a battlefield at a time. This makes for some very impressive battle scenes.
But even this vast amount of troops wouldn't be all that exciting if all the soldiers were all basically the same. The first game in the series had quite an impressive variety in troops, and King Arthur II adds flying units that can cross terrain much more quickly and are even able to fly over certain structures rather than being forced to go around them. I was shown a battle in which a swarm of dragons—literally hundreds of dragons—attacked King Arthur's army. It was fun to just look at, and I can only imagine it being incredibly satisfying to actually play through this scenario.
But you won't always have to flee in terror when you see a horde of dragons nearby. I was told that there will be some that fight on your side as well. I wasn't given a whole lot of information on this, but commanding a massive swarm of flying dragons in battle sounds awesome.
Of course, all this focus on dragons (and other mythological creatures) means that King Arthur II is even more heavily based in fantasy than its predecessor. Not only are you fighting against the Fomorians (a race of giants), but there are some pretty wild-looking monsters that you will be tasked with bringing down as well. I saw some pretty freaky-looking creatures roaming about that I can barely even begin to describe.
The campaign map is twice as large as that of the original King Arthur game. While the first game limited you to the southern portion of Britannia, King Arthur II includes the middle and some of the northern portion as well. And it's not just larger—it's darker as well. The witch's influence can be seen, and this is definitely a more foreboding place. But that doesn't mean this is a world without beauty. The new game engine allows for some incredibly detailed landscapes; some are dark and twisted while others are bright and beautiful.
King Arthur II will ask you to make moral choices, and these choices will determine your ultimate fate. The two major determining factors are which faith you will be loyal to—the Christian church or the "Old Ways"—and whether you are a tyrant or a benevolent king. This opens up four major paths your character can take: righteous Christian, tyrannical Christian, benevolent pagan, or wicked pagan, and your character's current status is displayed on a wheel diagram. I was told the game will play out differently based on these factors, making four complete playthroughs of the game worth your while.
Of course, the quest system from the first game has returned. Many players compared this quest system to a Choose Your Own Adventure book, and this is true of the second game as well. The path you choose will influence your morality rating, and can result in gaining or losing gold or even troops.
The original game in the King Arthur series exceeded all expectations. With even more massive armies, flying creatures, a larger campaign map, and darker storyline, King Arthur II just may surpass its predecessor when it launches this September.
CCC Editor/Contributing Writer