After its successful releases of Crusades: Thy Kingdom Come and King Arthur: The Role-playing Wargame, developer Neocore Games joined forces with strategy giant Paradox Interactive to create their latest title Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade. Utilizing its Coretech 3D engine as it had in its past titles, Neocore has created another action-packed RTS game with that trademark RPG element so prevalent especially in the King Arthur game.
Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade takes place during the period of the Third Crusade (1189-1192), which was called the Kings’ Crusade because it involved the kings of England, France, and Holy Roman Empire. Players will play as the more famous of these figures, Richard the Lionheart of England and lead the reconquest of the Holy Land from the Saracens led by the Egyptian sultan, Saladin. In addition to playing as Richard, players will also be given the option of playing the Saracen campaign as Saladin providing for a more expanded campaign experience with different types of units and attributes including holy relics. Also, what would an RTS game be without a free-for-all battle? The scenario selection allows those players who want to jump into a random battle select their preferred playing field and units including other notable crusaders such as Guy de Lusignan and Tancred of Lecce.
As in the previous games, Lionheart features a similar style of gameplay where there is a large world map divided into different regions of control. Unlike its previous title where you are given free rein to move armies around the map, the campaign is a lot more structured and gives players target provinces highlighted in red. Once you click the highlighted province, players are taken to a battlefield based on the terrain immediately surrounding the area where the army is located. If you play as Richard, players will notice that in addition to missions from the Pope, there will be other Crusader factions that have their own set of objectives, which you may choose to fulfill in order to gain their favor and cooperation. Once on the battlefield, there will be objectives located all around the area that players must focus on in order to gain advantages over enemies. If there is a city on the map, you would be given a number of engineering points that allow for construction of siege equipment including towers, ballistas, and the feared trebuchet. After the battle, depending on the province, players will receive a unique unit to recruit and a hefty sum of money for recruitment and upgrades. This will be particularly attractive to those who don’t particularly like micromanaging economics, taxes, and city development. In order to gain revenue and resources, pure conquest is the only option.
Neocore also brought back the familiar unit experience point system, which allows players to upgrade units, improving their attack, defense, armor, weapons, and reliability in battles. Players will also be able to add special powers, which increase combat effectiveness on the battlefield. Another feature is the ability to attach unique weapons, armor, and special potions, which furthers the RPG feel so characteristic in Neocore RTS games.
Overall, this is definite an RTS to look forward to especially for fans of King Arthur and medieval genre fans. The environments in both the campaign and battlefield maps look amazing with distinguishable terrain features. With so much potential in its unit development and RPG story telling, these will definitely supplement the overall game experience and occupy countless hours. This game will be one to watch for. Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade launches on October 8th for the PC.