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Game Info:

King Arthur 2: The Role Playing Wargame
Developed by: Neocore
Published By: Paradox Interactive
Release Date: January 27th 2012
Available on: PC
Genre: Role Playing, Strategy
Modes: Single Player
ESRB Rating: T for blood, violence, partial nudity
MSRP: $40 

Thank you Gamers Gate for sending us this game to review!

Those of you who are familiar with the King Arthur series will be right at home with this title since much of the gameplay mechanics are the same.  King Arthur games have RPG elements with the hero attributes and adjustable skills, strategic gameplay in the battles and text adventure quests where you must make decisions on how you want to interact with people and environments. There are consequences for each choice you make.  King Arthur 2 offers three difficulty levels and you can change them at any time during the game.  Even though I played at the casual level, I got whopped in the Prologue quests but I found the main storyline more balanced. The pre-order version included a separate campaign that takes place before the main storyline.  You can buy the Dead Legions DLC separately for $9.99. 

The main storyline campaign puts you in the place of William, the son of King Arthur, who is gravely wounded and needs your help to regain his health and kingdom from the evil hordes that are taking over Britannia.  You must gather the fragments of the holy grail and choose which faith you’ll follow: either Christianity or the old druid faith.  Each faith has their own unique benefits and powers to offer your knights and soldiers.  Powerful relics are scattered across the lands, and if you can earn them in battles or forge your own, you’ll have an advantage in the upcoming battles.  

The battles are done in a 3D real time strategy view where you select and give orders to your units.  The units have different strengths and weaknesses.  For example, cavalry units are slow in wooded areas, and archers are weak to getting trampled by horses.   If you miscalculate a weakness, you’ll suffer heavy losses.  Winning a battle typically consists of defeating all enemy units or securing and holding all of the victory locations.   

Highlights:

Strong Points: Fun combination of text adventure, role playing, and strategy.
Weak Points: This game is unstable: I’m two battles away from beating the game but I cannot do so since one of these battles causes the game to stop responding.  Numerous patches have been released but the issue still remains.
Moral Warnings: Heavy magic use with pentacle symbols and necromancy.  Violence is a given and some cleavage is shown on female characters.

The soldiers and the heroes (knights) that lead them gain experience by winning battles.  When the soldiers level up, you can increase their attack, defense, stamina, and willingness to fight.  They can also learn abilities, but they are limited compared to the ones available to the heroes. The heroes can gain and use various powers depending on their personality and religious views.  Some of the abilities they can learn are healing, magic resistance, rage, resurrect fallen soldiers, lightning and fire spells, and more.  Some abilities allow you to change the environment to more favorable conditions, including the ability to summon a fog to make it difficult for archers.  

All of this strategizing and excitement can easily be skipped by letting the computer decide the outcome using the auto battle button.  This feature is only available for non-storyline related battles.  If the odds are greatly in your favor this feature can save time, but if the enemy is close in strength you can probably salvage units by fighting the battles manually.  While the units can be replenished in your provinces, totally wiped out units lose all of the experience and upgrades that you put into them.

Fortunately, I don’t think hero units can be completely killed off.  The first King Arther had the ability to create multiple armies with hero units to complete the various objectives across the map.  That ability is missing in this game.  The storyline will grant you a couple of armies in due time, though.  To raise the loyalty of the army leaders, you can grant fiefs and offer them maidens to marry.  The maidens have various attribute modifiers that can add either positive or negative effects.  Most maidens have one bad attribute, but I did have a girl with no negative side effects.  I’m not sure if this is a glitch or was done on purpose, but one of the heroes available to you is a female and I was able to give her a maiden to marry.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 70%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 0/5
Controls -5/5

Morality Score - 63%
Violence - 6/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 7/10
Occult/Supernatural - 0/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8.5/10

Other moral issues include heavy magic use and necromancy.  In battle you can raise your troops from the dead.  If you do this often enough, you'll earn a Steam achievement for it.  The druids heavily use magic, and pentagrams are used to represent their magic abilities.  With wargame in the title, violence is a given, but it can be skipped most of the time by using the auto battle feature. I don’t recall seeing much blood and gore, but the text adventures go into gory details.  Lastly, some of the female character artwork shows off some cleavage.

The hand drawn artwork adds a nice touch to the text adventures.  The voice acting for the most part was fitting with the exception of the male voice actors doing the female roles as well.  Graphically, I found the overview of Britannia much prettier than the actual battle scenes.  The battle scenes seem bland in comparison to the rippling waters and sun beaming down across the land.  When starting a battle, you’ll see a flyby of all of the victory locations.  Once the battle starts, you can zoom in and out to see all of the detail and fighting going on.  You can see blades of grass or swarms of units attacking each other.  I don’t recall seeing any blood or bodies in battle.  The units themselves all look the same, but the movement animations look believable.  The knights for the most part are unique in appearance, and to keep track of them, they have a beam of light shining on them at all times.

My biggest complaint with this game is the stability.  As of this review I'm two battles from beating the game, but I cannot do so since one of the battles causes the game to stop responding every single time.  There are 32 bit and 64 bit executables for Direct X 9, 10, and 11.  I have tried them all with no success.  When King Arthur II first came out, I could not run it in 64 bit mode and that was because I had a corrupt Direct X 9 installation.  After I manually deleted my DX9 files and reinstalled it, the game ran for me.  The developers are still patching the game and as of this review are up to version 1.1.06.  I wish they would test out the patches a bit more since they have sometimes brought on new problems like missing textures.  

With these stability and moral issues in mind, I cannot recommend this game at this time.  I would wait for a sale or for more patches before buying this game.  That is, of course, if the magic, necromancy, or symbols do not bother you.  

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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