Written by  :  Indra is stressed (20706)
Written on  :  Jan 12, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars

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Do I see innovation? Nope. Nice try though.

The Good

You can't help imagining that this game is the cross between Settlers 2 and Stronghold (2001). But it sure hell isn't better than either of them.

I would call the game "not well planned" and quite mediocre. It's good enough to play, but not the type of good that will keep you glued to the monitor for hours and hours. This is one of those games that you just play because you happen to not have another game to play at the moment.

The Bad

Everything was mediocre from the beginning and with a lot of faults. The storyline has to be one of the lamest stories I've seen yet. You appear to be a prince or something being rebelled at by another prince or warlord...not much effort in describing the details. The voice of the story teller needs to whipped by the local bards for lack of charm - his lines are even more so terrible.

One thing essential in these managerial type of town simulations is the excitement of unknown technologies or buildings - a little description here and there to increase the educational value of the game. Knights & Merchants had poor ratings on all the mentioned. Do you know why?

Because they treated this game as...a game.

I could even sense that this game lacked the soul and excitement of a fanatic gamer trying to create a masterpiece. There was nothing in the game that "stood out" that was worth noting for future reference.

To give you an example, in the campaign you have different types of buildings that required certain specialist persons (e.g. farmer, blacksmith) to run the building. Fine so far. I noticed I could create a "Animal Breeder", so I created him. It turns out, although I could create the "Animal Breeder", I couldn't create the building that goes with him. Why even bother giving that option then, I wonder?

There also seems to be a lack of diversity - or just plain lazy. I spent several minutes trying to figure out which guy is the guy that creates bows. Turns out to be a carpenter, which also is the same guy that turns logs into wood in another building. Seems odd to me, these dual tasks. The fact that this game makes bakers run the mill is nonsense. I don't know if this is just plain lazy to create new units or just trying to be efficient. Either which, I'm not impressed.

The Artificial Intelligence of units is downright terrible. Those beta testers should be fired big time. Units keep bumping into each other which wastes several seconds, until they figure out where they want to go - those several seconds may turn to several minutes when you have a lot of workers wandering about.

The same problem occurs when it comes to combat. They had very interesting features when it comes to formations, but the combat mechanism itself ruined the whole system. Combat units can only fight when they're facing the opponent. This means if your opponent is on your rear, your dead meat. That's not a problem if they can move fast enough. These units move very slow when they're told to turn, plus they keep bumping into each other, which means by the time they get to the position they want, no one's alive to even care.

The Bottom Line

More minuses than pluses. A state of the art in the word "mediocre" and not much else.