Warlords Battlecry III Review
Bases in WB3 tend to be larger and more spread out than in most RTS games due to the number of buildings for each race. Each building will generate only a couple of unit types and there are a lot of building and research prerequisites to satisfy before you can start building the higher level units. In addition, buildings and units take some time to build in WB3 – quite slowly in fact when compared to many other strategy games out there. Because of this and the need to push out into the map to capture resource sites, games will of often end before you even get the chance to bring your highest level units onto the field of battle.
The diversity of units and unique gameplay elements make WB3 enjoyable to play, but there are some pathfinding and AI issues that prevent it from being a top game in the genre. Unit pathfinding can best be described as impatient because as soon as a group of units hits a choke point or experiences any kind of delay in the front ranks, the rear guard will take off in another direction in an attempt to reach the destination as quickly as possible. You can be leading an army down a forest road only to find that half of your force has turned around and is making their way back the way you came looking for an alternate route. Group cohesion is also an issue when a group of units is attacked. Units near the edge of the group will break ranks to pursue while the rest of the group stands idly by. If you’re not careful about giving stand ground orders every time you jump around the map from one group to another you can quickly find your groups dispersed piecemeal around the countryside.
The lackluster AI also extends to computer-controlled enemies. The computer prefers to attack at random points with small groups of units, periodically sending over a mere handful of units for you to slaughter. Enemy heroes like to convert a resource site or two on the periphery of your empire and then hightail it away without guarding the new acquisition or pressing on with the attack.
If you played the previous games in the series you’ll find that the WB3 provides a different style of campaign game. Where before you would play games to fight for territories on the strategic map, you now have a traditional RTS campaign in which you play a series of goal-based missions that string together to form a story. Personally I wish that the game’s developers had just stuck with the old conquest-style mode. Traditional RTS campaign missions such as escorting units from one point on a map to another just don’t work as well in WB3 and doubly so because of the pathfinding issues.
If you enjoyed the previous games, then WB3 will provide you with the same gameplay that you liked before. However, the level of innovation and updating is minimal to the point where you will recognize many of the graphic elements from previous games. It would have been great to see the game get a facelift in the graphics department – if not a move to 3D graphics then at least an update to the game’s graphics engine to bring it up to par with other recent releases. If you’ve never played a Warlords Battlecry game before and are looking for an old school style strategy game, the WB3 is certainly worth a look.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 75%. AI and pathfinding issues along with dated graphics prevent Warlords Battlecry III from being a top-tier strategy game. If you can put up with these shortcomings, then you’ll find a lot to like with the game.
System Requirements: Pentium II 450; 128 MB RAM; 16 MB Video RAM; 8x CD-ROM; 1 GB Hard Drive Space.