Among strategy games Warlords Battlecry II is a
gem. SSG and Ubi Soft have come together to give us a deep, entertaining, and addictive
game. You can tell whether a strategy game is going to suck or shine in about two minutes.
By the time you send your first thrall off to work youll know if youre going
to be playing this game or moving on. Warlords had me hooked inside of a minute folks. So
lets count the reasons why I had to rip myself away from this game to write a
Warlords main quest comprises a campaign mode. Your objective is to
subjugate the land of Etheria one territory at a time. To lead your armies you choose a
hero from the 12 races available. Yes, thats 12 glorious choices. Races include
Humans, Dwarves, Minotaurs, Undead, High Elves, Dark Elves, Wood Elves, Barbarians, Orcs,
Fey, Dark Dwarves, and Daemons. Each race has its own strong and week attributes, which
are broken up into four areas: Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Charisma. Humans are
average in all four areas whereas Minotaurs are very strong and yet quite stupid. No two
races will handle exactly alike. As you gain battle experience, youll be able to
choose a one of four professions: Warrior, Priest, Wizard, or Rogue. As you progress
within a profession you can gain new skills unique to that job. Some races can do any job
while others can only choose certain ones. Not much sense in an Undead Priest, eh?
you take Etheria piece by piece you will have the opportunity to recruit new and unusual
troops. Sometimes all youll have to do is pay them to join, while others are offer a
greater challenge such as riddles or duels to test your worth. Each region is worth a
certain amount of gold and stat bonuses as well. For instance a region may be worth 25
gold crowns and add one point to your troops piercing armor. Right clicking on a territory
will give you this information. Conquering a territory with a races stronghold on it
grants you the ability to lead them into battle as well. Your opponents are not idle,
either. As you progress you will notice them acquiring territories in battle as well.
Along with a
map editor Warlords Battlecry II also offers a skirmish mode where you can tailor a single
battle to your own tastes. The catch is that Warlords tracks your progress from battle to
battle even in skirmish mode. Your victories and defeats are added onto your campaign
stats. This certainly adds more weight to these "exhibition" matches. Any whom
you recruit will also be available in campaign mode. Indeed this game seems hell bent on
not allowing gamers to abuse the system as easily. If a kick butt soldier youve
recruited dies, hes gone forever. Even if you quit that casualty will stand. This
will definitely make you a little bit more protective of your heroes. "How exactly do
you make a hero besides the one you start with?" you ask.
incorporates some great role playing elements into your units. Your troops gain experience
in battle just like your main hero/commander. If they gain enough by the end of the
battle, then they get their own name and become potential heroes that can compliment your
commander. Its pretty cool to see a lowly archer rise through the ranks to become a
heroic leader. Now youre starting to see why this game is so addictive. It
definitely offers a lot more depth than your average strategy title, but how smooth is the
Warlords offers a very attractive and functional interface that doesnt drown out
the action taking place in real time. The developers have really taken every opportunity
to make Warlords beautiful by infusing lots of artwork, even on the upgrade tabs. I would
have liked to see more detail put into the battle formation options, though. Being able to
create your own formation is par these days, but I only saw the option to rotate between
some generic ones. While that is not a problem to worry about, it is a surprising absence.
The interface is top notch, though, by all accounts.
Warlords is beautiful, but a bit dated. The animation is superb, though, and the units are
well detailed. The environments are inviting visually and nice touches like day/night
cycles and changing weather are included. The areas where you gather resources (gold
mines, rock quarries, crystal mines, and ore mines) are represented especially well. The
third dimension is knocking, though, and we better see some graphical overhauling for
One thing I really dont get is with this games rich isometric graphics, why
are the buildings so small? The architecture is very conservative. When I build a level
five stronghold I want it to be grand and fear inspiring, not a level one keep with some
extra towers sticking out of it. Games like Age of Empires let you build military
communities. While the buildings are quite pretty in Warlords, they do not look like they
always belong together. Its a small point, but hey that fifth star is really tough
to get. These small shortcomings may have been overlooked, though if one glaring error had
not been made. There is no naval activity in this game. There are no ships or water
monsters. It took awhile for the thought to register.
If that can
be made up for, though, Warlords Battlecry II should get a gold medal for trying. The
sound is great and the music is very impressive. Some of the rustic tracks made me feel
like I was swinging swords with Val Kilmer in Willow. The units are not static either. The
Barbarian commander is hilarious. Each time you click him you get a very Schwarzeneggerish
"Ill be back" or "Look at these biceps." I was cracking up.
Except for the lack of a navy, my gripes with Warlords are quite superficial. This is a
fun and extremely addictive title. When you talk about depth in a strategy game one would
assume youre talking about how many different units are at your disposal. Warlords
Battlecry II gives that term new meaning in the strategy genre. My hat is off to SSG and
Ubi Soft. This title is definitely worth your buck.