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Review: Warlords

Posted by on October 23rd, 2012 | 1 Comment | Tags:

Based on the arcade game of the same name Warlords is an updated version for HD consoles. While also offering a vanilla gameplay mode for those who enjoy the original, Warlords now features new gameplay mechanics as well as the capability for online play.

For those unfamiliar Warlords, it is an arcade game that plays similar to PONG or Breakout. Up to four players guard fortresses with a paddle as they block balls of fire from slowly destroying their defenses. Once a fireball breaks through the defense that player is eliminated from the match. The last player remaining wins. This updated version now features what can best be described as a very simplistic RTS. As you’re controlling your paddle you’ll also have control over a small army of “Snoots” that you can use to do one of three things. Attack an enemy fortress, repair your fortress walls or you can try to capture power-up nodes. (Power-ups range from reversing paddle direction, shield, slowing the paddle speed, etc.) This is done either with direct control using the right analog stick or with the d-pad. (Left for repair, right for attack, etc.) In addition to this you can also catch oncoming fireballs and create a charge shot which will do more damage to the fortress walls. All of this happens while a dragon occasionally swoops down bringing up to five fire balls into the field at a time.

I understand the desire to update the gameplay of Warlords. The problem is, even after playing through the game’s campaign, I feel like there’s eventually too much going on at once. You have to pay attention to anywhere from 1-5 fireballs bouncing all over the field while also managing a handful of Snoots. Despite them being color-coded I found myself constantly losing sight of where my Snoots were and sometimes they wouldn’t even be where I had previously left them. I actually think the idea of including a super basic RTS system like this to Warlords is really cool but I think in practice it just doesn’t really work all too well. This doesn’t even take into account the “Black Knight” that randomly shows up throughout a match. When this happens you want to capture a special token of sorts that’ll transform your Snoots into White Knights to help in the fight. When this happens it’s usually when the gameplay field is just in complete chaos with five fireballs bouncing around and way too much going on to really focus. It should also be noted that the frame rate tends to drop a bit when things get hectic.

Warlords features an exhibition mode, campaign and online play. The campaign is made up of just a little over a handful of stages and took me around eighty minutes to finish as I was eating dinner. The enemy AI is never particularly difficult and probably won’t cause people much trouble. There is a ‘story’ of sorts that’s explained in scrolling text while selecting each stage but it feels like more of an afterthought. Outside of the campaign you can play with others either locally or online. I played a few matches online with Chris and Brad and things seemed to work okay. One thing that’s unfortunate is that after each match you’re kicked back to the main menu as it doesn’t appear that there’s anyway to create an actual lobby. That and there’s no one playing this game online so you’ll want to look for people locally.

If you’re a fan of Warlords this version is that game and a little bit more. I’m not necessarily a fan of the new additions but you can totally play the original Warlords if your heart so desires. As it stands Warlords isn’t terrible but this is a game that should thrive when played with others and with absolutely no one playing online (unless you can get local multiplayer sessions going frequently) I’m not sure if it’s really worth it.

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.

General Info

  • The game can get too hectic at times making it difficult to focus.
  • Other than a very short campaign there's not really a lot to do.
  • Frame rate drops when there's a lot of fireballs in play.
  • No one is playing online.