I see much promise in the War of the Roses Beta for this is a game set in a genre and time-period not often explored by games set in the third-person perspective. Set during the 15th Century the game focuses on the war between the House of Lancaster and the House of York. Swords are a plenty, and the multiplayer beta is full of men slashing away like mad fools. Mainly it is me swiping my sword at anything that moves and not doing much apart from getting swiftly chopped to bits.
I was at first frankly hopeless when dabbling with the beta for War of the Roses, I might have killed two people when I started compared to hundreds of deaths. I don’t entirely know whether I was doing something wrong or if I was just a wee bit crap at the sword and shield malarky. After jumping onto an empty server I think I figured out where I was going wrong. I wasn’t using my shield and wasn’t getting any power into my sword strokes.
Your sword and shield are controlled with your mouse, right click to bring your shield up, left click and move the mouse in a direction to slash and swipe. The trick, that took me far too long to figure out, is that you have to hold down the left mouse button to get any sort of power into your cuts and thrusts. Having figured out how to actually attack people properly, I promptly found a populated server expecting to dominate the land. It wasn’t to be, after killing a foe I was promptly charged down by a knight on a horse who proceeded to dismount and execute me in a grizzly animation which was full of stabbing in my face. Not pleasant.
On spawning again I saw a comrade lying on the floor, wounded but not yet executed and finished off. The body next to him was filled with arrows. I helped my fallen ally to his feet, earning a nice XP and coin bonus along the way and went forth to battle. It was another short-lived trip as I was soon caught in a melee with two foes, I was bleeding but unable to bandage myself as I was being battered black and blue, and ultimately red.
The XP I had accumulated had unlocked the Crossbowman to play with, a class without a shield, but rather a sword and crossbow. The crossbow is a very slow weapon to use, it takes some time to draw back the bolt, and a poor shot will be punished with the lengthy reload time.
I haven’t played with the other classes or created my own custom class, testament to my lack of skill at the game. I have wandered the outskirts of the battles afraid of further slaughter and the maps created by Fatshark are extremely impressive. While battles are often confined to a small area of the map, the whole level is well designed with some gorgeous scenery.
There will be a singleplayer mode when the game launches in early October, but the multiplayer component will likely dominate. With options to customise your coat of arms and class loadout there will be a lot to do to tailor your character to your needs.
War of the Roses could well be another sleeper hit from publisher Paradox Interactive when it lands October 2nd on the PC.