I am willing to wager none of you have probably heard of this title. Well perk up your ears because you are about to learn about my favorite title of PAX East.
For the longest time I have been waiting for a studio to have the courage to innovate genres that focus on non-shooting combat. Sure you get the occasional hack-n-slash adventure but no developer has dared to create a multiplayer focused title of that caliber and that is why Paradox Interactive may have the jump on everyone.
War of the Roses places you in the shoes of medieval soldiers and puts you on the battlefield in 32v32 combat. The best part about that player total is that Paradox plans on constantly improving their game and increasing the size of these already giant battles.
With six different default class types to start, all of which that offer different weapons and armor types it is easy to jump in and open your mind to this innovative title. Players will have the ability to create their own soldiers and customize their weapons,armors, perks, et cetera and I was told that there will be tons of different combinations so players will be truly unique on the battlefield.
These are all great features but the game really proves itself in the gameplay aspect. Player controls are almost identical to a first person shooter, WASD does the walking and the mouse does the turning. Players then use the left mouse to swing their weapon, the longer you hold it down the harder the swing and as you first click you slightly move the mouse to the direction where you want the swing to orginate. That means pushing up will give you an overhead swing and left/right will have you swing across your body. Doing these actions with the right mouse will allow you to parry/block attacks, leading to some epic fights between players.
Players also have the ability to embrace their inner-Legolas by being a ranger. Using bows or crossbows you are able to take advantage of your possible shooter prowess and become a sniper on the battlefield. By holding down the right mouse you hoist your bow and clicking left trigger will have you fire away. What is even cooler is that you can even do long range arc shots and make it rain arrows thanks to their great physics system, can you imagine have a squad of you and your friends volleying arrows to support your team?
Now that I got all of that out of the way I will tell you about my playthrough. This was the first thing I played on the show floor today and I started to acquire an audience as I played. We were limited to 4 on 4 because of local play but I definitely got a feel for it.
I started out as an all-around character wearing medium armor and using a sword. Running around the battlefield looking for foes you see dead bodies, burning buildings, and walls with arrows impaled into them. The medieval scenery is great and is such a change from the typical multiplayer maps in FPS games.
I found myself facing off with enemies and murdering all of my foes. After dealing severe damage, players need to press “E” to execute and actually kill the enemy. You are given gorey animations and it takes a few seconds so opposing teammates can save them, it is a great little counter-balance in the gameplay.
During my entire playthrough I got a taste of some great moments. At one point I ran into a band of archers all hanging out on top of a building, as they were shocked as all hell when I started swinging violently and struggling to change weapons, I already killed one. I then jumped off the rooftop and as they tried to hunt me down I eliminated them one by one. The developers were impressed (don’t lie) and I was only just getting started.
I died once in my entire playthrough, but this gave me the opportunity to switch to a heavy weapon class. I had a two-handed pike and was wearing heavy armor. As I was lurking around with two of my bow carrying teammates we ran into their entire four man team. I immediately start rushing them as my men draw their bows and start firing arrows, I charge up a side swing and point to the legs swiping the opposing players feet from under him and dropping him to the ground.
My teammates keep the others distracted as I finish off my unsuspecting opponent with a dozen or so stabs in the face with a dagger. I then turn my focus on the rest of the team, two of them decide to face off with me. We start brawling back and forth and more people on the development team are starting to watch. Things are getting hairy and I am on the verge of death, I then go into desperation mode charging up a a full power swing and going across the body, killing both of them with a swing that targeted their heads. I heard “wow” from an on-looker and proceeded to stabbing them in the face.
I probably could have played that all day. The physics are great and realistic, with the volleying ability of arrows and also the realism that comes with swinging weapons in close quarters (I actually tried an overhead swing in a stable and ended up hitting the roof and canceling out my swing) it even lacks that arcadey feel that ruins some multiplayer titles.
The only thing left that I would really love to learn more about is the customization. The gameplay is there and it is perfect, if I can create an army with my own coat of arms and have my friends and I fight under a banner, I might just cry.
I was playing an alpha build and was impressed with the level of graphics, I can’t imagine the quality of the game getting any better so that is just an added bonus. A beta is set for sometime this year so please keep your eyes open for access, because it will leave you pleasantly surprised even after a brief period.