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The Guild 2 (Post-E3 2006)

Developer: 4Head Studios | Publisher: Aspyr
Players: | Genre: Real Time Strategy

Release Date: 10/12/06

The Guild 2The Guild 2 is the sequel to Europa 1400: The Guild. It shares the same setting as its predecessor, taking place in medieval Europe. Several features of the game have been redesigned or expanded for the sequel. Guild 2 mixes RPG, sim, and strategy gameplay.

You begin by creating a character. As you might expect you can specialize your character's strengths in different ways with opportunities to further his or her abilities as you play the game. The basic goal in the game is to amass wealth and power. However, the way you arrive at success is up to you. You can endeavor to control as many businesses as possible, become involved with politics and lord over towns, or become more specialized in certain professions, even criminal pursuits. So whether you want to become a respected craftsman, start a thievery ring, or both, it's up to you.

It's not going to be easy though. 4 Head Studios is promising challenging AI, and whether you attempt to work with and for all of the NPC's (Non-Player Characters) or try to tyrannize them, you're going to have to put in some effort before you rise to the top of the food chain. There are several things to consider, like your dynasty for instance. NPC's will remember you and forming relationships becomes important to much of your dealings. In fact, you'll want to marry and start a family to pass on your assets and delegate control. You will be able to control multiple family members at once when you get to that point. The towns' justice systems will attempt to keep you in check as well. Before you become some kind of medieval mafioso, you'll have to deal with (or avoid) fines and jail time –at least until you're the one making the laws that is.

One of the five towns. The Guild 2 features wilderness as well as developed areas.

Guild 2 features a much larger map than Europa 1400 did. Whereas the previous game only had one town, Guild 2 has five. This will become very important to the economic, political, and other systems of the game.

Much of the game plays like an RPG in that you move about as your character and can interact with the environment and characters directly. Everything happens in real-time. You'll control your character by using on-screen icons that change depending on the context. When you move near another character, you'll see Talk and Attack icons for example. In this way, the gameplay is easy to pick up and there isn't a lot to memorize about the controls. You'll also control certain aspects of the game like you would a sim/strategy game. For instance, if you own a tavern, you'll be able to view it from the outside, or even zoom right into the building and see the workers and patrons milling about. Again, giving commands should be pretty painless as you mostly interact with on-screen icons rather than plodding through menu trees.

All gameplay happens in real-time. You can see an indoor view of every building.

There is a story-driven single player campaign which will teach all you need to know to play. Though as a single player, you'll probably spend the bulk of your time with the open-ended mode. Guild 2 will also feature interesting multiplayer for up to eight people. The online gameplay will place you into Player vs Player, Team vs Team, and cooperative scenarios. It's interesting because the players will all be set into the same world as different characters, and they'll all have different objectives to attain victory conditions. For instance, one player might need to earn a certain amount of money and another player might have to gain a certain amount of political power. The catch is that you won't know what goals your opponents need to accomplish to win. An online match is supposed to take an hour or so. It's completely separate from your single player game. Your status in your single player world won't affect what happens in a multiplayer match and visa-versa.

The coolest thing about Guild 2 is the ability to play your own way. You can murder, bribe, steal, fight, befriend, craft, farm, and sell your way to the top. There are so many different ways to accomplish a goal and interact with the characters. One of the key features is that all of the game's characters form opinions about you based on your reputation and any personal interaction you've had with them.

If you're already a fan of Europa 1400 you're probably excited enough already. Along with the new gameplay features, the new, more intuitive interface could draw new players to the series. The Guild 2 is set to hit US shelves this fall.

By Andrew Thivyanathan - 06/01/06
ESRB Details: Blood, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence
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Screenshots for The Guild 2 (Post-E3 2006)

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