King Arthur Collection

More than just war.

By Daavpuke, Posted 21 Oct 2011

Paradox Interactive really likes strategy, that’s why when they created a roleplaying game like King Arthur, they made sure it revolved around strategy first. And since they hadn’t done a lot of real-time war games yet, why not add some of that as well? King Arthur Collection is the game’s bundled core and DLC into one neat package of roleplay and stratagems.

NoobFeed Review - King Arthur Collection
Welcome to the magical land of Britain. When's the last time you saw the sun shine, lads?

What makes King Arthur more than just war is not the fact that it implements RPG, though there’s that too; it’s that they try to make the game as enveloping and magical as possible. On a fantasy map of medieval England, players take command of the King’s army. Starting off small, territories and their settlements need to be conquered to reap the land’s benefits of money and food. Along the way, other lords will try and defend the lands and many battles will take place. A slew of quests, special events and other scenarios will randomly unfold, as King Arthur gains commanders, lands, fiefs, ladies in waiting and much more.

The great thing about this story driven game is that a bunch of quests and objectives make heavy use of decision based actions, more so than just the friend versus foe mechanic of war games. Random quests appear that can be completed in a time limit; some adventures are even purely text based, but all will affect the commander alignment. And the fact that they’re random makes every playthrough as unique as the game concept.

NoobFeed Review - King Arthur Collection
What? You never saw a Pegasus with vorpal sword fight before? Play more D&D, now.

It doesn’t stop there, because the fantasy lore of Arthur and his round table also uses magic in the course of the game. Commanders and their surviving armies can gain experience and levels, after which leaders can be upgraded in stats and gain magical skill; both passive and active. In battles, these skills can affect the playing field considerably, as magic can be used to buff armies or decimate opponents; but beware, because the enemy leaders are granted the same courtesy. Certainly when fighting magical creatures later on; making good use of magic, but also location points that grant local modifiers, are vital to victory as much choosing the right units and tactics.

The good thing about this roleplaying war game is that it’s accessible enough to dive into, complete with a set of tutorials, even if there’s still a ton of text. The basics of stamina, morale and strength are easy enough to at least grasp and the diversity in-game makes sure not to get bogged down in blocks of texts or micromanagement. Heraldic music gets filtered throughout the game, which really catches the heroic vibe and keeps a drive going. Also, difficulty can be adjusted at any point to try and overtake that one rough spot, that can’t be taken by recruiting more units in towns or by defending areas that grant additional bonuses to heroes. The game also offers multiplayer possibilities where players can have armies take on each other in battle, which is a nice plus.

NoobFeed Review - King Arthur Collection
You sir, are boned.

Sadly, even with adaptable difficulty and additional aid from quests, artifacts and more, King Arthur hits a wall at a certain point. When armies have risen up and settled into their respective locations, a stalemate seems to occur that is insurmountable. This not only puts a strain on gameplay longevity, but also angers, as it will take incredible amounts of cunning and tactics to try and expand any which way. As this event happens well before reaching the end game, the accessibility portion of King Arthur fades away halfway through.

Now, collection wise, King Arthur Collection offers 3 different campaigns. The first is from the main game and follows the King’s quest. The two additional DLC packages follow the Saxons or the Druids, which are omnipresent tribes in those lands. This gives Collection the edge when wanting to get even more differentials into gameplay. The 2 separate clans have different backgrounds and religions, which makes playing with them more unique than simply branding a name on an army. It’s also a good way to gain a different and more complete perspective from the play board. Additionally, the DLC campaigns are run by a set of choice victory conditions, which can be combined to one’s liking. Lest it be redundant, this also creates more individuality.

NoobFeed Review - King Arthur Collection
Definitely royally boned.

The fact remains though that King Arthur, try as it might, will not be a game for just anyone. Sure, it does much more than any other war game to appeal to everyone, which makes it a prime choice. But as it eventually boxes back into a hardcore experience, complete with its magical experience, more casual players might want to try before a buy. Anyone else though would be wise to take on this incredibly diverse and compelling title, mixing all the best elements from strategy, RPG and decision based gameplay into a broad and immersive whole.

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Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed. (@Daavpuke)

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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Paradox Interactive
Developer(s): NeocoreGames
Genres: Real-Time Strategy
Themes: Role-Playing
Release Date: 2011-05-06

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