King Arthur II captures the spirit of the legend, but it's weighed down by an inferior wargame.
- Storytelling evokes Arthurian legend in grand fashion
- Morality system that's a step above good/evil scale
- Great artwork and character design.
- Too many technical hiccups and frame rate issues
- AI has a poor grasp of tactics
- Combat is boring and tedious.
What happens when half of your game is flawed, but the other half is so good that you can sometimes overlook those flaws? That's the predicament in which King Arthur II: The Role-Playing Wargame finds itself. The role-playing aspect shines, presenting players with a good story and interesting decisions, but the wargame stumbles, suffering from technical issues and an AI with a poor grasp of tactics.
King Arthur II nails story and setting. Britannia faces many threats: a stricken King Arthur lies at death's door; the Round Table is scattered; the evil Fomorians, the demonlike beings of Celtic legend, are wreaking havoc; and the Holy Grail is in shatters. As Arthur's son, it's your job to put Britannia to rights. You make allies (or enemies) through diplomacy, engage in Choose Your Own Adventure-style missions, craft artifacts, and level up your leaders and your units. As you advance though the game's five chapters, you weave your way between adventure missions and combat missions while your forces march across Britannia. And your armies actually do march, with the sound of nailed boots clacking and crunching as you travel from one point to the next.
The adventures are where King Arthur II is at its best. Often, the decisions you make affect the game's morality scale, which exists on two axes: Rightful/Tyrant and Christian/Old Faith (the religion of the druids). The decisions you make not only affect each of these adventures but also determine your army's available bonuses. Should your decisions land you on the side of Rightful and the Old Faith, you gain combat bonuses against Fomorians and access to powerful units from the Seelie Court, which are the good fairy folk that stand against the Fomorians. If you take the Tyrant and Christian path, you get abilities that grant poison attacks and units such as Dark Angels. This is one of the many aspects of the role-playing side of the game that developer Neocore Games does right, showing that with just a little effort and thought, you can expand on the typical good/bad morality system (in a wargame, no less).
The design of characters, maps, units, and weapons captures the spirit of Arthurian legend. Even the voice acting (which deviates from the written script that appears in each text box) fits. The hand-drawn art that appears with each adventure screen is marvelous to behold, and at times, you feel more like you're reading a book than playing a game. The units look tough, menacing, and, in the case of Fomorians, quite demonic. The main map of Britannia is dotted with villages, castles, hills, and forests, as well as the imposing Hadrian's Wall, which is the structure the Romans built to keep out the barbarian hordes from their part of the island.
You lead your armies as King Arthur's son, as well as the mighty figures of Arthurian legend, such as Morgana Le Fay and Sir Lancelot. Some of these characters have their own motivations; Le Fay is searching for her mentor, Merlin. But is it to help you and Britannia or is it to increase her power? Other characters join you as the game progresses; each of your armies may have up to three of these special characters, who have abilities and magic that contribute to your efforts on the battlefield (most of them are pretty strong fighters, too). You may also equip these characters with a range of items, such as amulets, armor, rings, and weapons that give you bonuses for combat, defense, or magic.
The progression of your forces works well, too. As you defeat foes, not only do your characters advance, boosting their hit points, magic power, or mana and giving points that they can spend on their skill trees, but your units also advance. Your units gain points you can use to increase their damage, their defense, or their health (among others), and as they level up, they can gain abilities (including powers that you get based on your morality, such as a bonus against Fomorians).
king arthur 2 is more streamline and had a stronger RPG feel like Might & Magic as compared to the first king arthur which is more of a strategy game. I m particularly disappointed by the change. Archers are STILL overpowered.
Now I can't say this for sure, but I have a feeling by SW: Rebellion he actually meant SW: Empire At War. Otherwise that's a horrible analogy.
A correction: A retreat is a tactical maneuver ordered by the commander of the army. A rout, however, is when troops panic and run away from the battle, which would happen when their morale is low.
Too underrated :/ King Arthur 2 is more than an average game, according to me. I rate the game 7.5/10
I am playing this game now and I think the game is very good. I like the story and game play as it is. The graphics are pretty good as well. Worth a buy and play.
Does it stutters alot to you? I mean in comparison with the machine you have is it packing a punch? I have GTX560 TI and i still have to lower alot of settings... it pisses me off @burnettaj
It seems there's a fix for that. Video settings made no difference. The fix is to open up the KA2 folder from steam/common/apps and launch "CoreTech2_x64_10" instead of the Steam desktop shortcut. Why this works...no clue. But it does. And I am super grateful for it.
This is thanks to Gamespot member: Rat_King
It's weird that the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is such a classic, but (apparently) every game based on the tale winds up being so mediocre. ...But then again, King Arthur never did find the Holy Grail -- he was instead killed by his own son Mordred (in the most popular versions of the tale). Perhaps the fail is simply inherent in the legend and unavoidable when applied to video games!
"SW:Rebellion"...takes me back. While I enjoyed "SW: Rebellion" for my own reasons, I have to agree that it was pretty much a botched job. I am disappointed with the launch of "KAII", but then the comments pertaining to the prologue pre-order access weren't promising. I hope it gets better with updates and patches and not left to wither and die as "The King's Crusade" was.
Reviewer, you cite "far better games" and name Star Wars Rebellion? Which got a 4.5 and was released in 1998? That's just odd.
This is the problem with today games! Day-dream ambition, but lack almost all basic foundation, :( I prefer games like StarCraft II, less grandiose, but much much better basics and gameplay...