Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 04/13/02 | Genre: RTS
The fine line between strategy and RPG has always been a delicate one. Although some games have merged the two with moderate success, this has always been a difficult goal for any developer. Warrior Kings is a driven by a plot, but drops out to a strategy environment. In a way, it gives us the best of both worlds in a well defined world. It does lack the flair of a game specific to each genre.
My largest complaint with the system is a lack of a well defined skirmish mode. I find it amazing that such a creative 3-D RTS environment would pass on the opportunity to let us fully enjoy their efforts. The battle field immediately conjured images of Shogun, as the environment is remarkable similar in scope. The AI is lacking, once you learn how the enemy fights, you will have no trouble over coming this in future battle. The multiplayer environment turns into a saving grace on this point.
With that being said, Warrior Kings is inventive and creative. They begin the character in a neutral alignment. As the story develops, the choices made by the player determine how the character evolves. This is extremely important down the road as you create your army. A character aligned "good" will evolve very different troops and equipment than the "evil" player. The army differences will become vast and extremely fun to explore.
The storyline drives all of the developments and battles that the character will face. The game created a medieval world in appearance and incorporates many magical creatures. The sights and sounds of the game are very, very well done. There is good attention to detail. For example, charges are more successful if launched uphill as the horses build speed running downhill. The battle field controls are well done (which makes the lack of a full skirmish mode frustrating).
I found that more online documentation would have been helpful but their tech support staff was very professional when I had a problem. In general, all of the pieces are there for a superb game system. With a better AI and skirmish mode, the game could take advantage of non-RPG elements. It is definitely worth a look, and Warrior Kings could easily addict you with its driving story. The RTS part of the game will certainly captivate the average player.