Kohan II: Kings of War

Moby ID: 15381
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As in many stories, good triumphs over evil and gets over-confident... forgetting all about the evil. It is at that point that evil rebounds to try and seize control once again. That is exactly what happens in Kohan II. Strange creatures are moving across the land, civil war has broken the Kohan people apart, and wars are happening more and more frequently.

Offering you five factions and six races to play, this sequel in the Kohan series offers you a variety of things to do. The game offers five different environments to play in and 32 missions for single-player gaming.

Unlike many RTS games, KoW does not require you to have many worker drones to gather your resources. Simply build mines and that is it. Use your resources to build armies rather than workers.

Another feature in the game that makes it different from other RTS games on the market is that you cannot build individual units (with the exception of siege units). Instead, you build groups of units, led by either a hero or a captain. The groups can have up to 9 units in them if you have the ability to build the support units needed to reach 9.

A final unique feature is that as long as you can retreat your group back within your Zone of Control before all units in it are dead, the units will regenerate HP and resurrect fallen units. You will only have to recruit a replacement group if you let your group die off completely.

Spellings

  • Кохан 2: Короли Войны - Russian spelling
  • 可汗2:战争之王 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Screenshots

Promos

Credits (Windows version)

147 People (121 developers, 26 thanks) · View all

Executive Producer
Producer
Programming Team - Programming Director
Programming Team - Lead Programming
Programming Team - Programming
Programming Team - Additional Programming
Design Team - Design Director
Design Team - Lead Design
Design Team - Design
Design Team - Additional Design
Design Team - Writing
Art Team - Art Director
Art Team - Lead Art
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 78% (based on 24 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 13 ratings with 2 reviews)

One of the better games of the genre, though perhaps oversimplified in certain aspects

The Good
What makes the Kohan series stand out among the other RTS games is the lack of micromanagement. Normally I greatly enjoy micromanagement, but that applies to RPGs, where I usually only have to manage one character or at most a small party, and TBS games, which give me the time to consider all options and make proper decisions. RTS games, on the other hand, usually overwhelm me with too many things happening too fast in too many different places. In this game, however, that’s not the case, and I found even the insane pace that it’s capable of in certain moments to be at least somewhat manageable.

When it comes to the economy, things are simplified in a good way. Your mines and buildings automatically supply you with a certain amount of resources without needing to make use of workers to carry those resources to the nearest settlement and you try to maintain an adequate constant supply for your troops and buildings instead of worrying about how much you have stockpiled (the only exception being gold). In addition, settlements tend to take care of themselves to some extent, workers automatically building and upgrading walls after finishing the other tasks you set for them and also rushing out to fix the damage as soon as the attackers are defeated, while militia units, different from the workers, come out at appropriate times to repel the enemy, defeating weak attackers and at least giving you some time to mount a relief effort when a significant enemy force moves in. This allows you to focus on development, expansion and offense.

Removing micromanagement also means that your companies have a certain degree of independence, guarding their area but not chasing a fleeing enemy too far unless told to do so, attempting to run away when the situation looks dire, but especially automatically using their skills to the best of their abilities to aid each other during combat. And that’s a very good thing, seeing as it’d be quite impossible to manage your troops if you had to tell your heroes and support units which abilities to use every time, as it is in other RTS games.

Another good thing is the significantly improved survivability of your troops, compared to what you see in typical RTS games. No matter how much I tell myself that they’re just a bunch of pixels on a screen, I always feel very bad when sending troops to their death, which makes me always try to be very careful and defensive, which is unlikely to work in games of this genre, seeing as they usually favor rapid expansion and an offensive approach. So I feel much more at ease when, instead of individual units, I can recruit entire companies, each having up to nine units and possibly including up to two healers, or perhaps even three if the leader is a hero with such powers, and know that, as long as at least one unit from a company is left alive, all the ones lost in combat will be revived after spending a short amount of time in the supply range of one of my settlements or outposts. This makes knowing when it’s appropriate to retreat just as useful as knowing when to press the attack, and perhaps even more so, seeing as your companies and heroes gain experience during combat and become stronger if they survive more battles.

The Bad
But just this experience system is one of the things I didn’t quite like. There is no choice in the development, not even for your heroes, not to mention that your companies can have all of four levels (recruit, regular, veteran and elite) and your heroes only five (awakened, enlightened, restored, ascended and Kohan Lord). Gaining a level will always give the same bonuses to all of your companies. Heroes do gain different bonuses when they level up, improving their specific abilities, but those bonuses are also predetermined, not allowing you to choose to improve one ability more at the expense of another. This may be a good thing for fans of the RTS genre who are otherwise quite bothered by the addition of RPG elements in these games over the past several years, but I’m a fan of RPGs and feel that I’m missing out whenever RPG elements could have been included and weren’t.

The major problem, however, is the fact that they went too far in their attempt to get rid of micromanagement and they removed nearly all troop management. You’re not able to choose actual combat formations, having all of three options for combat behavior, each having clearly stated effects instead of offering you tactical options. What’s more, the independent behavior of your units can hurt you at times, when they become determined to attack and perhaps even chase an enemy company despite your attempts to tell them to do something else, or they try to destroy another section of an enemy settlement’s wall instead of rushing in and attacking the settlement itself despite the fact that a breach already exists in that wall. And retreating can also be a problem, since you can’t quite retreat in an orderly manner without having your troops stop to engage any and all enemies who happen to get near. Plus that some companies will tend to lose morale too fast and run away, completely out of control, either in the wrong direction or even when the battle was quite obviously almost won.

Something else I don’t quite like is the feeling that all races are the same, only having a different name and look for their units and buildings. Haroun cities work a little differently, while the “evil” races can have a couple of additional buildings and bonuses, but that’s about it. Seeing as you will have to switch back and forth between nearly all of them during the regular campaign, even working with more of them during the course of one mission, this can serve to prevent confusion, plus that this approach tends to be the rule in most RTS games, but it still enhances the impression that this game was perhaps simplified a bit too much.

The Bottom Line
Kohan II: Kings of War wasn’t just a good game back in 2004 when it was released, but has also aged very well and can stand up to scrutiny even now, at least in my opinion. It even works without any problems on the latest versions of Windows and with the latest video drivers, which is something that many newer games fail to do.

On a personal level, this is one of the extremely few RTS games that I actually enjoyed playing, and in fact one of the extremely few that I bothered playing, not to mention finishing, over the past several years. The RTS genre itself still doesn’t sit well with my playing style, but Kohan II: Kings of War did manage to eliminate a lot of the major grievances I had with such games in the past. Though it still required me to employ strategies I’d rather not resort to and it certainly has problems of its own, the biggest one probably being that it was simplified too much in areas where it shouldn’t have been, I’ll still say it certainly was, and likely still is, one of the better games of this genre.

Windows · by Cavalary (11443) · 2010

A welcome change of pace for strategy fans

The Good
Kohan II is a beautifully polished realtime strategy game with a clean, elegant interface and attractive audio-visuals. Kohan II distinguishes itself from the majority of today's fantasy RTS games by its macromanagement style of play and its de-emphasis of RPG elements.

Kohan II abstracts traditional RTS gameplay up one level to reduce micromanagement. The player orders automated squads instead of individual troops; base-building, troop training and resource gathering are similarly automated. The player doesn't get bogged down in details: Kohan II is a game of patient planning and execution of large-scale strategic maneuvers.

Where many of today's fantasy RTS games are moving towards RTS/RPG hybrids (e.g., Warcraft III, the Warlords Battlecry series), Kohan II keeps the focus firmly on strategy. There's no D&D style class or skills system grafted onto the troops. Squads and heroes have a simple experience ranking, just enough to encourage the player to figure out effective ways to assemble and deploy troop combinations.

The result of these design decisions is a game that's simple to play and free from many of the frustrations that plague RTS games: no need to organize troop tactics in the heat of battle, no wayward troop AI, no erratic troop formations and pathfinding, no repetitive base-building.

The Bad
The single player campaign's plotline is serviceable but lacks a spark of inspiration. The same basic concepts can be applied successfully to most of the maps in the single player campaign; variety comes from adapting to geographic features rather than mission goals. It's a tribute to Kohan II's solid underlying mechanics that the single player campaign doesn't get boring despite this shortcoming.

Upgrade paths are limited and the different races have a samey feel to them. There's a lack of options and variety in building and upgrading bases and armies compared with the best RTS titles. Kohan II also suffers by comparison in its lack of tactical nuance. The player decides when and where to attack but with few exceptions the details of battle tactics are best handled by the game's AI.

Kohan II removes the player from the heat of battle, creating a less intense and frenetic experience compared to traditional RTS games.

The Bottom Line
Kohan II is an unassuming game at first glance. I didn't find it instantly addictive, but the more I played it the more I came to appreciate its unique take on traditional RTS gaming. I recommend it to RTS fans who are getting burned out playing endless variations on the same style of gameplay. If you're looking for an RTS game that emphasizes pure strategy, check out this game.

Windows · by harmonia (246) · 2005

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Trivia

Awards

  • Computer Games Magazine
    • March 2005 - #8 Game of 2004
  • GameSpy
    • 2004 – Most Underrated Game of the Year (PC)

Analytics

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Riamus.

Additional contributors: PCGamer77, Unicorn Lynx, Apogee IV, Klaster_1, Patrick Bregger.

Game added October 30, 2004. Last modified January 22, 2024.