There are many instances of countries fighting for independence throughout history, but none may be as striking as Joan of Arc. Single handedly, or, as she claimed, with divine assistance, Joan rallied the scattered armies of France against their English invaders and ended their occupation of her homeland. While the true story ended tragically, the heroism of her tale (particularly a woman leading an army in a notoriously patriarchal time) is truly remarkable. Placing their own unique spin on the legend, Enlight Software’s tribute to this amazing figure is Wars & Warriors: Joan of Arc, an interesting hybrid action/strategy/role-playing game.
As I said, the game revolves around Joan’s quest to liberate the French from English rule. The first mission shortly begins after she meets the Dauphin and is tasked with recruiting soldiers and the Duke of Orleans. Players will move along 8 maps tracing Joan’s path from lone hero to army commander. At first glance, that seems pretty light for an action title, but each map is rather sizable, with a number of optional objectives to take advantage of, such as acquiring new troops or defeating small garrisons of enemy soldiers. Joan will also have help from her lieutenants, who have their own specialties and are accomplished warriors. These fighters are smart enough to take care of themselves, but gamers can switch back and forth between any of them at will to take care of any potential threats.
There will definitely be plenty of those, as Wars & Warriors seems much like Dynasty Warriors transferred to the PC. Joan and her warriors both have weak and strong attacks, which can be strung together in any number of combinations to take out enemies. Creatively, strong attacks take a certain amount of energy to pull off, ensuring that your soldiers don’t constantly cut swaths through opposing forces. Successive hits count on a combo meter, which can boost the amount of experience from each kill. Take out enough foes, and you will gain a level. Here’s where the RPG elements take hold, because your character’s strength, agility and defense, amongst other things, can be increased dramatically. You can also learn new attacks or intensify older ones, giving players a degree of control over their fighter’s development.
You won’t always need to concern yourself over the speed of your clicks, however. There will be a need for silent strikes with crossbows to perform ambushes of unwary troops, and even times to seek out reinforcements. Unlike other strategy titles, Wars & Warriors doesn’t concern itself with resource gathering, building construction or weapon upgrades. Instead, it allows you to find and direct troops quickly to strategic choke points or set up ambushes without distracting you from the fast paced hack and slash action. Moving back and forth between game modes is incredibly smooth, and often necessary to take care of some objectives, such as laying siege to castles or gaining support before engaging in a duel with consistently reoccurring nemeses.
You can tell that the designers put a lot of work into making sure that Joan and her allies look great. Animations for attacks are slick and well defined, and the different flair that each character performs with their weapons and combinations feels just fight. What’s more, the engine allows for a lot of units to be onscreen at the same time, ensuring massive battles for skilled field generals. Wars & Warriors looks like it just might raise quite a following when it hits shelves on Tuesday. Check back soon for a full review!
Copyright (c) 1998-2009 ~ Game Over Online Incorporated ~ All Rights Reserved