Warlords Battlecry II Review

ScreenshotsAs mentioned previously, the game can be played in campaign, skirmish, or multiplayer modes.  The goal of the campaign game is to capture 47 of the 67 territories, at which point all remaining factions will surrender to the player.  Needless to say, the campaign game can take quite some time to finish, and since the game plays differently depending on the race selected, players can get a lot of mileage out of the game.  Most of the territories require the player to eliminate all of the other forces to win, but some occasionally have special rules, such as the elimination of an enemy hero.  The maps provide a diversity of environments, and also often have special features such as temples or shrines.  The temples allow their owner to create special units such as demons or earth elementals, while the shrine provide heroes with special quests that offer a reward or bonus upon completion. 

The skirmish and multiplayer games provide no less than 13 different types of games.  These range from the standard last man standing games to races to do the most destruction within a given time limit.  There is also an interesting "Against The Horde" variant in which one player starts with a lot more units than the others, but all other players are allied to each other.  Heroes are available in the game's skirmish and multiplayer modes as well.  This gives the player the opportunity to gain some experience for his/her hero outside of the campaign game, or to bring a finely honed warrior into a multiplayer battle..

The AI in Warlords Battlecry 2 is pretty good, and will often provide a challenge to the player.  Veteran strategy gamers will make steady progress through the campaign, but will face their share of setbacks along the way.  The computer is good at harassing the player early on, and then later in the game following these with concentrated, combined-arms assaults.  Enemy heroes are a bit too gung-ho, though, and can often be trapped too far from home with too small an escort.

The game's graphics are nice enough, although a bit dated in their 2D, 3/4 perspective world.  The maps feature terrain features, wandering creatures, and some interesting embellishments that give them a little character, but for the most part they are pretty static.  More background and environment animations would have gone a long way towards bringing the maps to life.  The diversity of environments is a good touch; there are maps set in deserts, arctic wastes, forests, islands, and other environments.

In contrast to the straightforward, the sound and music are really good.  The game's soundtrack features the same sort of new age-like fantasy music heard in the The Lord of the Rings movie.  Unit acknowledgements are all well-done, and are unique for each race and unit.  The various heroes are also given a lot of personality by their sound bites, from the self-righteous high elf heroes to the Schwarzenegger-esque barbarians.

Overall, the game has a lot of nice little features that help it stand out above the RTS also-rans.  Titan super-units, unit morale and psychological state, a plethora of spells, sheep-throwing trolls, cow-eating minotaurs,... the list goes on.  There's a lot to Warlords Battlecry II, and strategy fans will probably find that it will hold their interest for quite a while.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 86%.  The heroes are a great touch that allows players to gain a feeling of personal attachment to their faction, and to enjoy the character improvement aspect of RPGs.  There is a lot of gameplay here, and strategy game enthusiasts should certainly have a close look at Warlords Battlecry II.

System Requirements:  Pentium II 350;  64 MB RAM;  8 MB Video RAM; 8x CD-ROM;  830 MB Hard Drive Space;  Mouse.

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