King Arthur 2 Review
King Arthur 2 is deceptive. Despite its moniker as “The Roleplaying Wargame”, it is actually a blend of RTS-style combat and classic adventure – no, not point-and-click but real adventuring, with text and a few choices to be made as to what to do next.
However, King Arthur 2’s real meat is in the tale it tells – despite some ebbs and flows in all areas of the gameplay, this intriguing tale covers everything from the Roman army in Britain, to dark creatures and magic of high fantasy – all of which generally romps along while holding your interest.
The major gameplay here is definitely the RTS combat, and lining up your army on the battlefield you’d be forgiven for thinking you were playing Total War – the interface is similar, with all units clearly selectable from a menu, or a simple drag interface for making groups on the playing field.
Your generic units have a few layout and tactic choices, but it all comes down to a simple bit of rock-paper-scissors; veteran commanders will find it lacking the options of the bigger titles, but it’s certainly accessible to the rest of us.
Battles can become large-scale events that require quick thinking.
Most battles revolve around thinking a few steps ahead – for example, archers are good at range but weak up close, so it’s generally a good idea to pair them up with footsoldiers as bodyguards, then work on splitting your entire army into groups for your main assault.
Flanking tactics tend to work well, although strict attention to the terrain is useful too – arrows don’t fly so well into or out of trees, for example, and high ground becomes a tactical commodity.
There’s also a nice magic layer to gameplay too, letting the hero cast spells for offensive and defensive purposes, although this can become overpowered at lower difficulty levels, turning tactics into simply running away and recharging power.
Magic can be enhanced by capturing and holding key locations on the map (often buildings) – serious consideration needs to be given to whether you lose a squad or two from the main fight to buff your magic defence, for example.
The fantasy setting gives rise to some beautifully-realised vistas.
The moments when it clicks are what make it all worthwhile – watching a carefully planned charge of horsemen smash into an enemy flank never gets old. The occasional boss battle is great fun too, although they usually descend into simply charging with all your troops and spamming the magic.
Between battles offers a seasonal turn-based affair, with some management and diplomacy bringing brief respite from the sword swinging.
Again, it’s simplified, but the non-combat text missions are surprisingly good – camp fantasy tales give you choices that have a real knock-on effect into other areas of gameplay, giving you extra resources or taking away an edge in a battle.
As a whole, however, your enjoyment comes down to your expectations – if you find titles such as Shogun 2 or Civilisation daunting, KA2 offers a nice alternative that gives a lighter feel to proceedings, but if you prefer the meaty aspect of these titles, King Arthur 2 may leave you wanting more. Despite this, however, there is some fun to be had here for everybody – in small doses, and by those who just don’t ask too much of it.