Paradox are spending more on War of the Roses than any other game - and we jumped in to see why.
By Joe Robinson on September 7, 2012 at 10:57 am
With the beta test for War of the Roses now in full swing, we’ve been getting a lot of hands-on time with it – it’s Paradox’s flagship product for this year and the game that they’ve spent the most resources on, ever, and we’re beginning to see why.
If you’ve played Mount & Blade (another third-party Paradox product), you may have a general idea of what’s in store here, but it’s more apt to call it a medieval Battlefield game (it even has a former DICE producer on board, Gordon Van Dyke).
The basic gameplay involves you choosing a team (York or Lancaster, Red or White), then choosing your class (Footman, Bowman, Knight, etc) and then just getting stuck in, literally. Combat is directional, so if you move your mouse right when clicking, you attack with a right swing, left swing with left, and then over hand with up and a straight thrust with down.
Defending works the exact same way (unless you have a shield, which just blocks everything), and you need to keep an eye on what your opponent is doing so you can block from the right direction.
Combat gets more complicated though, when you start using different weapons. Take bows for example: easy to load and fire, but relatively weak (although someone with enough skill and aim can do serious damage). Crossbows have more base power, but trade off in that they take a while to load. You also have spears, polearms, two-handed swords, axes and maces.
In terms of dealing damage though, the effect is always the same – barring a headshot with a bow, take enough damage and you get knocked down. You can either surrender, or wait to be revived by a teammate… although wait too long and an enemy might chance upon you and perform an execution, in which case you re-spawn anyway.
Beyond combat, the main draw of War of the Roses is in its progressive unlock and customization elements. You earn experience and money for successful hits, kills, executions and so on — and once you get to level 4 you can create your own custom load-outs, which is where it really gets intense.
Make no mistake, this is no simple choosing of primary and secondary weapon stuff you’d find elsewhere. When you choose a weapon in War of the Roses, you then need to choose the hilt, what metal the blade is, how sharp it is, what fighting style you’re using, and a whole host of subtle options that affect how the weapon performs… and that’s just on one weapon. You’ve also got a secondary weapon and a dagger you can take with you.
At the moment, it’s easy to be impressed by what War of the Roses has to offer. The combat mechanics are challenging, which means that you feel like you’ve really earned all those kills, and visually it looks stunning, as well as very atmospheric.
I’m not entirely sold on the customisation thing right now – there’s really not a lot available to you at the early levels, means you’re stuck with the pre-sets for far longer than perhaps you should be. Additionally, earning money for upgrades feels like a bit of a grind right now. Still, it’s early days yet, and constant balancing tweaks mean it is only going to get better as time goes on.
Beta signups to War of the Roses are now closed, but customers who pre-order the game can continue to play.