hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame

Preview: King Arthur II: The Role-Playing Wargame

5:00 PM on 11.25.2011 // Wesley Ruscher

If there is one piece of Western mythology that has stood the test of time, it would be that of the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round. Whether it is Disney’s Sword in the Stone, Sean Connery in First Knight, or the '90s cartoon King Arthur and the Knights of Justice -- perhaps my favorite adaptation -- Britain’s fabled warrior has had his fair time when it comes to movies and television.

Outside of Capcom’s Knights of the Round though, one of my favorite myths has yet to really lend itself to a satisfying videogame experience. I recently had a chance to play the upcoming King Arthur II: The Role-Playing Wargame and despite missing the first in the series, I walked away from my time feeling like I may have just found the game to satisfy my Camelot cravings.

King Arthur II: The Role-Playing Wargame (PC)
Developer: Neocore Games
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Release: January 10, 2012

"When the greatest tale of chivalry ends, the nightmare begins..." These are the words used by Paradox Interactive to sum up the theme behind King Arthur II. The first title in this series revolved its narrative heavily around the basics of Arthurian legend, albeit with a few more twists. Excalibur was unsheathed (releasing a great evil), the Knights of the Round were formed, and eventually peace and prosperity where brought to Camelot. Everything was going great, until the witch queen Morgawse sent an assassin to kill the mighty king. Arthur survives, but becomes cursed with a wound that will not heal. With his life mystically intertwined to Britannia, darkness begins to settle -- perfect for the long-banished Fomorians to resurface and ravage the lands.

As this new threat serves as the driving factor behind the main campaign in King Arthur II, it is not the only playable story. To accompany the threat of the Fomorians, a new Roman Empire has risen to vie for the lands of Britannia. A prologue campaign is available, letting players take this Roman threat to arms to gather a better understanding of just how they fit into the mix of the main story arc. From the time I spent watching part of the game's campaign unfold, there's a lot of twists, treachery, and blood to be shed with this added faction.

Regardless of which campaign one is playing, King Arthur II's story is shaped by the decisions that are made, similar to a Choose your own Adventure book; players are given the option to lay the path before them thanks to branching dialog paths. Early choices can and will grant different choices in the future which guarantees a unique experience from start to finish. Whether it’s from deciding the path of a skill tree, altering your influence and self perception in the morality chart, or striking alliances with some shrewd diplomacy, there’s always a decision to make around the corner.

Outside of the battles in King Arthur II -- which are all performed in real-time -- every other phase of the game is handled in a more role-playing-esque, turn-based procedure. Each turn consists of a season, with the appropriate seasonal effects, and allows for the management of troops, upgrading of establishments (including strongholds now) and the completion of quests amongst the myriad of other things one can do.

To say that this game is deep would be an understatement, but to say it is complicated would be doing it a disservice. I admit to struggling when it comes to fully understanding the many layers of strategy that befall most games in the real-time field, but King Arthur II feels different. Perhaps it’s the fact that only the battles are performed on the fly that makes this game a little easier to swallow.

When the call to arms finally arises, King Arthur II's improved engine lends itself to creating some truly impressive visual flairs. Rich textures, dynamic lighting, and atmospheric effects help create a believable fantasy world where men fight monsters. Battles typically unfold similarly to what one expects from a large-scale war game. The proper management of units to counterattack enemy transgression and the map manipulation -- to unearth strategic ambushes -- are the basics to combat. Maps also contain certain points of interest that, when captured, imbue beneficial enhancements to the captor's army.

To broaden the scope of each, battle flying units have also been introduced to combat. This adds a second level of combat to each battle and helps create a more strategic environment. Units like archers become even more important, as they are typically the only units that can take on the enemies flying units free of harm’s way. These flying units, along with the rest of the Fomorian race, are a sight to behold thanks to some fantastically dark fantasy art design. The mix between medieval knights and demons doesn’t get any more epic than in King Arthur II’s huge full-scale wars.

What sets King Arthur II apart from its competitors is its reliance on magic as a viable combat mechanic. Along with the game's other enhancements, magic has seen a drastic improvement in its implementation. The biggest change is in the ability to defend oneself against powerful enemy attacks. With magic attacks having casting and cool-down periods, the heroes that use these spells can be interrupted when in the process of summoning. It opens up a powerful risk-reward system that can help turn a battle quickly in either direction.

The first King Arthur was released to fairly positive critical response and King Arthur II looks to continue that lineage. While I’ve always admired Arthurian lore, I hadn’t heard of this series before my time with it -- as I’m not the biggest PC gamer out there -- but its tactical depth, rich dark-fantasy vibe, and role-playing roots should pique the interest of any mythology buff and diehard strategy fan when this game arrives early next year.

Photo Gallery: (16 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Wesley Ruscher, Former Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure wesleyruscher Tips
Former Dtoid Weekend News Editor / Mash Tactics Host. Current Game PR Monkey Twitter @wesleyruscher more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
If I was to play through the NES library, besides being madness, what order do I do it? Alphabetically or Release date-wise? Whats the Dtoid universe think?
Gundy avatarGundy
Maybe someday I'll finish Natural Doctrine AKA Natty Doc...
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
You've got guts, a powerful soul You've got guts, sweet and sour You've got guts, do the guts A man sweats, he really does, go!
Flegma avatarFlegma
Finished Xenoblade Chronicles for the first time in about 107 hours. Got tired of attempting to clear as many sidequests as there were left available. Maybe in NG+...
techsupport avatartechsupport
Woah. I consider myself a nerd and all, but the trophy hunting community is next level. Is there a biopic about the people at the top of these leaderboards? I'd find that very interesting.
Paul S avatarPaul S
GeoHolmes [img][/img]
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
I have no idea what this game is about but if this isn't the best goddamn cover art ever, I don't know what is. [url=][img][/img][/url]
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Shinta avatarShinta
Xenoblade X limited edition on Amaxon now. Will probably sell out very fast like usual.
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Just got a Vita with a 16GB card for super cheap. What games should I be looking out for?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
So the XCX Special Edition was marked as in stock for 20 seconds and I got a copy! I am disproportionately excited considering what it comes with. Hopefully the art book and packaging are high quality. WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Surprise, Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition has already sold out on Amazon.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Just a heads up, the Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition is up for preorder on Amazon. I think it'll be available elsewhere but you know. Nintendo. Love em but hard to find.
Clicks Clacks avatarClicks Clacks
Picked up Valkyria Chronicles for $5 in the Humble Store, figure I'd advertise that for anyone that doesn't have it yet. Sale ends in less than 42 hours after this post yo.
gajknight avatargajknight
My copy of National Geographic came today. Best subscription I've paid for, worth it for the lovely pictures alone. This one has a story about elephant poachers and ivory tusks with spy chips in 'em. James Bond shit man.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
If someone used the blog reply feature to just divide a somewhat long blog into easier-to-digest chapters that could be consumed at the leisure of readers, would that be kosher?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
@Barry Kelly It looks like it will get pretty difficult later on. It even has instafail stealth sections according to @Chris Carter #neededanexcuse to #tryouttheatfeature
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
I hope MGS V manages to have some sort of challenge to it. I just replayed MGS 4 for the first time since release and wow that game just practically plays itself. And that's outside of the long sections it is playing itself!
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Splatfest Decipticons, Let us crush the Autobot menace [img][/img]
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -