War of the Roses Review

One of the newer maps that is similar to TF2's Payload Maps

  • Developer: Fatshark
  • Publisher: Paradox Interactive
  • Release Date: 3 October 2012

Plot (5/5)
War of the Roses is obviously set during the war of the same in English history. This war was set during the 15th century between the House of Lancaster and the House of York – both houses having roses as their emblems (hence the name). The maps, weapons, battles are all based on medieval history, which I like as it adds a degree of authenticity to the game – however in reality it's just a background for the multiplayer mayhem.

Gameplay (3/5)
Gameplay is okay. Basically the game is Team Capture the Flag but the maps are set in English towns and villages. You can customise your player to have a variety of weapons which are unlocked with enough experience and in-game gold. Your player can use swords, axes, lances, spears, daggers, crossbows and bows. You can also further customise the weapons even specifying what kind of fighting style you wish to employ. Different armour and perks are also available for selection.

With XP and in-game gold earned, you can unlock new weapons, armour and perks

The fun part of the game is the awesome novelty of playing a Third Person slasher instead of First Person Shooter. It's also quite specific when it comes to "locational" damage and where you aim. Even when you swing your sword you have to be aware of terrain (slashing from the right when there is a wall on your right for example will cause your sword to clash with the masonry). Teammates can even kill each other if they're not careful where they swing!

Also it's nice to play a game with a somewhat realistic depiction of medieval warfare. Crossbows take ages to reload, you really need to aim high with the bow and striking an enemy while on horseback isn't quite as easy as you might think.

Be warned that the AI in singleplayer is a bit dumb. For example you can cap flags by just running around them Benny Hill style and win the scenario. But it's meant to be a tutorial. Multiplayer is where it's at.

Sound (4/5)
Blood splatter effects and the clanging of steel is great. And they've got Poms doing the voiceover work, so all is good.

Music (4/5)
Music isn't memorable but since it's medieval it suits the game.

Graphics (3/5)
Not bad and you can really beef them up, but the animations aren't very realistic and on my system it struggled even on lowest settings, which is pretty bad considering the computer is only a year old and not a slouch.

Replay (2/5)
Replay is via multiplayer and there are a variety of unlocks and weapon combos you can get which is great – however when I first played the game when it came out, this never worked for me since it never saved my progress! Later on I found out this was because coincidentally, there were stats server issues at the same time I was playing the game. It seems stats now save as intended.

Also when I first started playing War of the Roses there were only a few maps available. I was worried that the game would quickly go stale if they didn't introduce anymore. Fortunately a few more maps have been added since release.

"...there are usually maybe 20 Australian players online. As you can see, the Australian War of the Roses community is very small."

Finally there seems to be very little players in Australia. At one time when I played there was none – during weeknight evenings though there are usually maybe 20 Australian players online. As you can see, the Australian War of the Roses community is very small.

Polish (2/5)
The game is unfortunately not very well polished. Sometimes the game crashes to desktop other times it freezes for a few seconds on the server browser window. There were also issues with the stats server on release (as mentioned earlier).

There's also no digital manual bundled with the game on Steam and the tutorial doesn't cover everything. I was wondering for example why you're given the option to execute a fallen foe or not. If the time runs out, the fallen foe can beg for mercy and then he respawns. When I asked my fellow players I got a reply of "something to do with honour. But that's the thing, there's no real explanation for it.

Score – 6/10

War of the Roses is a good concept. The novelty of wielding a sword instead of a shotgun is a refreshing change. Unfortunately, the game was incredibly buggy on release and while some steps have been made in fixing it, it might be too little, too late.

If you want to get the game, you can get it off Steam.

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