How many of you have day dreamed what it would be like to be a knight or an archer back in the good old medieval days? What it would feel like to fight with a sword and shield, heavy armour wearing you down?
War of the Roses, developed by Fat Shark and published by Paradox, will place you in the boots of a soldier from either the House of Lancaster or the House of York as you duke it out in different historical battles. Unlike other Paradox games, history doesn’t take a big role here: the different historical battles just serve as different maps for you to play in multiplayer. It would have been nice to be able to play those battles in a single player campaign; however, the game is multiplayer-only.
What War of the Roses shares with other Paradox games is that the tutorial is about as useful and informative as the story line to a porno. It’s barely there, and it doesn’t do much to ease you into the world. In short, you are dropped in the middle of a battlefield as archer, everyone in the game is AI controlled, and you are told to kill 5 enemies and capture the three control points. Once you have completed these two tasks (which take a lot longer than they should because of the incompetent AI), the tutorial ends.
The real way to learn how to play War of the Roses is by actually playing it online against other players, which means that you will spend most of your time in the first couple of matches either watching your injured soldier on his knees begging for mercy, or seeing the world through his eyes in a first-person perspective as your killer brutally executes you. In all fairness, the executions are incredibly fun and satisfying to do!
Once you get the hang of the game’s combat mechanic, the begins to really pull you in. Combat in War of the Roses is deep and not easy to learn; however, once mastered, you will be unstoppable on the battlefield. If you are playing with a melee character, your sword strikes are controlled by your mouse; hold the left button and move the mouse right and your character will prepare a strike coming from his right hand side. Once you let go off the button, your character will strike. This means that if you move your mouse from left to right, your character will strike right to left. It takes some getting used to, but it feels accurate and is definitely more immersive than just hitting a button. Blocking works the same way. In order to successfully block an attack, you must read your opponent’s move and block in the correct direction.
Archery is a whole different beast to master. Arrows travel slowly and have a lot of drop. Crossbows have extremely long reload times but do a lot of damage. Bows fire much more rapidly but do less damage, and you can only draw your bow for a short amount of time before your archer needs to reposition the arrow. It’s not as complex as the melee system, but it’s just as deep.
When you hit level 4, the game really opens up. This is when you can create your own class. War if the Roses takes customisation to a whole new level, allowing you not only to choose your primary weapon, secondary weapon, and perks, but also what type of metal your sword and armour are made of, what kind of edge your sword has, the tip of your arrow…the combinations are endless. More options are unlocked as you level, and whilst the War of the Roses does a good job of balancing the upgrades, there are a few that are mandatory to survive and give you a noticeable advantage.
War of the Roses is a fun multiplayer game and unique in its genre. Once you get over the difficulty curve, you will find that the game has a lot to offer gameplay-wise, but lacks a bit in the content department. There are only two game modes, and a lot of the upgrades don’t feel like they add enough variety to the battlefield. Fat Shark has admitted that there will be additions coming to War of the Roses (whether they will be free or not has not yet been announced), but for now, the game starts to get stale after a while. Nevertheless, it still makes for an enjoyable online experience and will keep you entertained until something bigger and better comes along.
If you want to know more about the game, check out this behind-the-scenes video for War of the Roses.
Otherwise, you visit the War of the Roses official website.