King Arthur: Fallen Champions Review
As the title would suggest, the game sets itself deeply within Arthurian Legend. You control the fates of three hero characters with varying goals. Sir Lionel is on a quest, the classic tale of a damsel in distress that we know all too well in games.
Drest the chosen is a Shaman and Lady Corrigan of the Sidhe is journeying in the hope of reaching her home, a realm slowly detaching from ours. Eventually their stories will converge at a final battle.
Gameplay is divided up into roughly three phases. There’s a multiple choice story segment which plays out rather like a fighting fantasy book or text-based adventure game such as The Hobbit.
This then leads to a pre-battle phase in which you assign equipment to your currently chosen character before embarking on the third phase. Once you’ve fought a battle the game loops back around to a story phase.
Though I expect that some people may take issue with having a story phase that acts as a barrier between one fight and the next, I actually found this was my favourite part of the game. It seemed far preferable to a cut scene in that it’s actually interactive and I think these might have been too successful – I found myself wishing that I could play just the story elements, saddened by their interruption by the strategy.
The battles are where you strategise your way to victory, sometimes it’ll be a straight up fight, othertimes you might be trying to hold off waves of attacking The strategy phase can be quite difficult and you may find yourself making several attempts on each battle. Victory may feel more like a matter of luck rather than skill.
You’ll generally have control of one or more hero units in the game, some of which have to survive a battle for you to continue to the next story segment. You’ll find the usual mix of ranged and close quarters units, on foot and on horseback with different armor and armaments. You can hide your army in a forest and get an ambush bonus as well and each battle may have its own specialties such as statues that allow you to cast lightning bolts, or bridges that can be destroyed as an enemy army marches across it.
The game has a loading tip that suggests you can change the difficulty at any time, but when I looked for the option to do this I couldn’t find it. Nor was I able to switch character at any time – Once you’re in the pre-battle character upgrade stage you’re locked into that character.
If you’re looking for a strategy warfare game that does away with the (sometimes tiresome, frankly) building & managing of empires and training of units then this may be worth your time. If you hate the idea of reading text in a game (For instance, you’re one of the people who would skip all flavour text in a quest in any MMO) then you should perhaps look elsewhere because the story segments may frustrate you.
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