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Review: Swords and Soldiers

Posted by on October 19th, 2010 | 0 Comments | Tags: ,

Developer: Ronimo Games
Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Release Date: September 28th 2010 | October 20 2010
Availability:
Price: $9.99 | £x.xx | €x.xx
Demo: Yes (248 MB)
Players: 1-2 (Local & Online)
Rating: E10+

What I Liked:
Great online multiplayer system
2D HD visuals
Console RTS that works

What I Disliked:
Some balancing issues
Hard to select a unit in a crowd

RTS games and home consoles seem to never get along together. Most of the time these RTS games are just throw onto a console with the controls and user interface still having been made with a keyboard and mouse in mind. This almost always translates into a disaster and the player is left asking, “Will there ever be a decent console RTS game?” Swords and Soldiers is the answer to that question.

There are a few things that I believe make this game work on a console. First off, instead of having the huge map you have to manage, Swords and Soldiers keeps everything in a line. The levels are set up in a 2D scrolling view, where your goal is to march your units from the left to the right. This simplifies the way you have to control them. You won’t have to worry about grouping them too, since they will always be moving to the right. Another thing that really works in the game’s favor is that all unit and magic selection is done with the shoulder buttons and analog sticks. Putting unit building on the sticks makes for a quick and easy way to get what you need without have to dig down through multiple menus. The ability to quickly make your troops really helps when progressing though the story in later levels.

The main campaign has you working through ten missions for each of the three factions (Viking, Aztec, and Chinese). Much like other games in the RTS genre, each of the different factions plays completely differently. I really enjoyed this because it keeps the game fresh. After playing with the Vikings for ten levels, it is really a breath of fresh air to have new gameplay mechanics introduced when you first start using the Aztecs. Although I do think that some classes seem more powerful than others. The Aztecs in my mind and what seems like everyone online’s mind as well are the most powerful. They have an ability to raise the dead and an ability to take enemy units over, which while costing lots of magic points can still turn the tide in a battle. I would call them the “zerg” class, as the jaguar soldier units are cheap to make and are fast moving.

The best thing about this game hands down is the online multiplayer. The way Ronimo decided to handle searching is something more game developers need to look into doing. At any time while playing single player you can open up the options menu and start searching for a game. You just continue playing your single player stuff and whenever it finds a match, the game will ask if you want to play. Then it just jumps you right into the multiplayer match and after you are done, you can either play with them again or go back to you single player game. I can’t think of a game with a better multiplayer system.
For everything the game does right, there are a few minor hiccups. Selecting a particular unit in a crowd can be difficult at times. I have healed the wrong person too many times to keep count. The difficulty also seems to be a little off as I didn’t have any trouble with the game until the final two missions on the Chinese campaign. It was a real bummer when I had to turn the game on easy mode just to see the ending :(. As I mentioned above too, the Aztecs seem like they are just a little bit overpowered. But really none of these things really take away from the great time you will have with the game.

The developers over a Ronimo Games are like master chefs. They have taken two ingredients that usually are not to be mixed together and made a 4 star meal out of them. Definitly be sure to check this game out.

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