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Written by  :  Indra was here (20892)
Written on  :  Feb 20, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  2.14 Stars2.14 Stars2.14 Stars2.14 Stars2.14 Stars

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Game of the year? It must've been a really bad year for strategy games...

The Good

Well, for a real-time strategy game, the game play is really nothing new...but then again it either must be a hybrid of Warcraft, Age of Empires and the it's understandable. The new stuff about the game is mostly focused on unit deployment and town development.

Now this is kinda new. You don't have "individual troops" do have something like squads. One squad consists of 1 leader, 4 main troops and 2 back-up troops. Doesn't that sound cool? Yeah, I did too at first...I'll explain that later. So you have a total of 7 blokes per squad. The leader can be replaced with a hero (Kohan), which usually better than the average captain. The neat thing about unit deployment is that you can have a mixture of any variety of troops. Well, almost. I'll explain. If you want to make a cavalry squad, you can put all 6 slots with dudes on horses. The back-up slots are kinda special though...sometimes you can put archers but most of the time you can put "semi-heroes" there, like priests, rangers, paladins, you know the drift. But, you can't put these "semi-heroes" on the main 4 slots. So, you have to be careful what you put in, because when you do, you can't change it after the squad is accepted.

City development is O.K. Nothing really special, but thankfully nothing irritating either. Town development is a series of choices. For example, if you build a stone masonry, you can upgrade it into a place that sells stone for profit, or pump up more stone, or you can change it into a building that automatically repairs the town when damaged (also a good feature). Each building has different uses, so if you have a town near the front line, it's best to choose buildings that maximize defense and offense compared to profit.

It's good to know though that every town has its own militia that can defend your town automatically...and their not to shabby either. I call this a bonus for a strategy game, where other strategy games can be a little laid back when it comes to town defense.

Then there comes the zones of control, sight and other zones that I don't remember the names. It's not new, it just this time you can see what your units see. In most strategy games, if an enemy unit too comes close to one of your units, combat initiates. With the zone of control, you can see when you troops engage the other guy, so it's possible to "sneak" by an enemy you can see on the monitor without provoking them. There is also a "zone of support", which is an interesting little feature. Units in a zone of support surrounding a town, automatically heal. Nice to know you don't need monks now to do the job. This is a good thing, if you want to play defensive.

Now for the bad stuff.

The Bad

First the units. Did I mention when you create a new squad, you can't change its contents? Yep. Your stuck with it and the only way to change it is to dismiss the entire squad. Is that a problem? When you play the campaign, it sure hell is. While playing the campaign, most of the time you have pre-assigned units already made for you. The only problem is, they have bad taste in creating those squads. Now, I'm stuck with units I hate, so I end up dismissing them all the time. There goes the genius down the hole. Bad call of whoever came up with the idea.

Next you have formations. This game must be the WORST game in strategy history when it comes to formations. There is so such thing! If you pick 6 squads and move them as a regiment, they line up from one end of the screen to the other end of the screen. What IDIOT came up with that idea? Yeah, you can change the positions of the units and it seems the only good formation you can get is if you put the hole bunch in one area, making them look more like a mob than an army.

Hit and run techniques DO NOT EXIST in Kohan. Well, they do technically, but its not worth it. It's so hard to retreat whole regiments of units. You can't right click them to retreat, you have to click on the retreat button and click on the area to where they should retreat. That takes too long...especially when you control so many squads in the area. Did these people ever play Age of Empires I wonder? Sheesh.

Did you know this is the slowest strategy game in the world? Yep, movement is so slow, a snail would look like a sports car. You could quicken the pace, but then the units will get tired, lose morale and have their offense lowered. Then your reach desert areas where slow is an understatement...

Back to the campaign. The storyline is AWFUL...or better yet, it nearly doesn't have one. Whoever wrote the story for this game should get fired. Seriously...some imagination PLEASE! The storyline so pitiful, attack this, attack that...nothing fundamental. Cut scenes were completely useless...after Diablo 2, one would think to put a little effort in cut scenes?

The acting? Snore. You have an advisor with a South American dialect that could bore you to death with his ho-hum'd might as well not have sound. And this goes for ALL the voice was so boring to hear those soul.

Adding insult to the injury of a bad storyline, the campaign missions were horrible. There are a lot of units you can't gain access to, these archers on llamas were only available in one campaign. There was only one campaign were you had allies fighting with you. When you finally do get great turns out to be the final campaign...of which the game ends. I'm so pissed with this game. I'm really disappointed...BIG TIME.

The Bottom Line

Something new? Yes. Strategy Game of the Year? That's blasphemy to all great strategy games...seriously. Am I being too harsh? Not enough.