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Game Guys preview - War of the Roses

8:53 AM, Sep 3, 2012   |    comments
'War of the Roses', a medieval multiplayer combat title for the PC from Paradox Interactive.
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Fatshark, developer of games such as Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West and Bionic Commando Rearmed 2, is taking gamers back in time to a tmultuous period in England's history. War of the Roses, a PC title, is being released on October 2, and a number of people have gotten their hands on the beta version of the game. How is this game shaping up so far?

Right now, there are only two multiplayer modes available, and both of them are standard team-based modes. Upon joining a game, you choose between either the House of Lancaster or the House of York, the two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet in 15th century England. Once your team is locked in, you can pick what kind of soldier you will be. Right now, there are four pre-made classes (Footman, Crossbowman, Longbowman, and Footknight) and you are also able to assemble four custom-made soldiers with their own weapons, armor and perks. Initially, only Footman is available to you, and you can unlock more classes by playing the game and being victorious, which is a fun mechanic.

In Team Deathmatch, your team needs to rack up as many kills against the other team as possible in a certain amount of time. In Conquest mode, there are five points on the map to be captured by either team, and whoever gets sufficient control of the entire map is awarded the victory. Both modes essentially boil down to each side rushing at each other and stabbing wildly, but in Conquest mode everyone congregates in specific spots.

Your gameplay experience can differ depending on what class you choose. The footsoldiers need to be right next to their enemies to attack, so many people will be right in the middle of the fray, swinging away at enemies and shielding from attacks. Bowmen are better off keeping their distance, using the environment to their advantage to hide themselves while picking off enemies from afar. Certain advanced soldiers get access to a horse and lance, as well, which gives them a lot of speed and power.

The gameplay feels mostly balanced in its current state, though to be fair there are no real gameplay differences between the two houses. I played several matches in Conquest mode, and in every case each side would quickly take two of the five landmarks, then after a grand battle, whoever took the third landmark would inevitably win the match. I personally had more success as a bowman, though most of the players seemed to be footsoldiers, so it doesn't seem like one is significantly better than the other. There were complaints about the cavalrymen while I was playing; the player on the horse has instant-kill abilities at a certain speed, and one player contended that the required speed was achieved much too easily. Overall, though, the only gameplay complaints were my own, lamenting on how terrible I was.

Unfortunately, I had a good deal of trouble navigating my character from A to B, due to some significant lag issues. The game's framerate was consistently low and jittery, and even worse, there was a noticeable and significant button lag, which made attacking enemies very difficult for me. I wasn't too sure which of these things were due to the game or due to my PC; in at least one other game, Sonic Generations, I also have a bit of button lag, but the game runs a lot more smoothly even with lots happening on screen. Even as fast as that game moves, it felt much more playable than War of the Roses at this point, I'm very sorry to say. The game is currently in beta, of course, and undoubtedly being stressed by up to 32 players per server, so I don't assume the lag will persist in the final version. Of course, I might just need to upgrade my computer.

Overall, the game experience of War of the Roses seems to be one people are happy with. The gameplay is entertaining and competitive, and matches happen quickly enough to not be problematic, usually lasting between five and ten minutes. I experienced some serious lag issues, but I'm hoping that won't be a component of the final game. Anyone who's interested in purchasing beta access can do so at

- by Jim Avery for's Game Guys


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