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War of the Roses Preview

Steve Butts | 26 Jan 2012 16:00
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Players will then want to select an armor type that suits their style of play. Heavy armor like plate and chain mail provide lots of protection, but are slower than wearing cloth or leather armor. Some of these values are a bit ahistorical, as plate mail was not apparently as limiting in terms of speed and mobility as most people think. Each type of armor is rated in both penetration, which lessens the chance that the wearer will be damaged at all, and absorption, which lessens the amount of damage the wearer takes once a weapon penetrates. Naturally, there are a wide range of visors, crests, plumes and other attachments you can put on your armor to make it even more personal.

As in most online shooters, War of the Roses includes various perk slots to help you further refine your character. Quite a few are either/or selections. For your offense perk, you can choose to spawn on a horse, or have a quicker sprint. On defense, you can opt to unlock a shield bash or merely reduce the encumbrance of your armor. There's even a heavy cavalry perk to give your horse added protection and ensure that the infantry will scatter when you charge.

Melee combat uses four different types of attacks: left, right, down, and thrust. To make an attack, you simply hold down the mouse button and move the mouse in the direction you want to strike. The longer you hold the button down, the more damage you'll do, but you'll have to be careful not to hold the pose too long, or your character will grow tired and your attacks will fail. Damage is determined by the base value of each weapon, the speed and location of your strike, and armor protection. This means running full sprint and swinging an axe into an opponent's head will do loads of damage and possibly cause long term health loss through bleeding. On the other hand, landing a glancing blow with your mace against a heavily armored opponent is likely to only momentarily stun him.

While the industry has plenty of enjoyable third-person medieval combat games, from Kingdom Under Fire to Dynasty Warriors to Rune, this Call of Duty style approach is something not seen since the unfortunate Dark Messiah of Might & Magic. If Fatshark can manage to deliver on the gameplay, it will offer a compelling alternative to the military shooters that dominate the online action market.

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