War of the Roses: I Need a New Florist

War of the Roses takes some brilliant concepts and executes them in a frustrating way.

When I first heard about War of the Roses, I went "Oh, that's a game that sounds good enough to pick up during a Steam sale." So, this past weekend when it was on sale for 75% off, I picked up a 4 pack for me and some friends.

At the start, it seemed like a pretty interesting game. The setting is quite intriguing. The combat system and the amount of customization is phenomenal. Well, that is on paper.

Sound

The sound in War of the Roses is nothing to write home about. It doesn't exactly detract from the game, but it doesn't stand out in any way whatsoever. The only thing out of the ordinary is the fact that the characters do not make sounds when moving. No matter if your character is wearing light, medium, or heavy armor, you do not make a sound. Not only is this unrealistic, but this can make playing archer frustrating. When you're aiming your bow and cannot see around you, having an enemy come up usually means they're going to get a free kill.

Graphics

This is one of the areas where the game doesn't disappoint. The graphics aren't anything amazing by any means, but they do look good. Furthermore, the designs of the various pieces of armor and the weapons are all well done.

I will say that the maps look pretty great. Some of the bigger battlefield like stages have environmental effects like snow and fog, adding a bit of flair to the fight.

Gameplay

This is where my thoughts conflict. The game itself seems very well designed. There are a large variety of weapons, armors, and mounts which make the customization something that so many more games could learn a lesson from.
Another positive point is, like Chivalry, it has a wide variety of attacks that put a nice layer of depth into the combat system. However, this is where the positives end for me.

The biggest fault this game has is that it is extremely pay-to-win. To customize your characters, you need to spend gold that is earned in two ways. The first way you can get the gold is to play the game itself; you get gold by killing enemies, reviving allies, etc. The second way you can get the gold is by buying it.

My friend and I played the game for several hours this weekend. I put $10 in, he put nothing. With the amount of money I put in, I was able to unlock many more items than he was, but unable to put a big dent in the total number of items you can buy.

What exactly can you buy in this game? Well, there's the obvious equipment for your character. Then there's different types of wood, axe heads, fighting styles, etc. for weapons and colors, plumes, face coverings, etc. for the armor.

The real way this cash system rips you off is by charging you for the same minor pieces for the different major pieces. For example, if you buy one kind of plume for one type of helmet, you have to buy the same type of plume again for a different helmet. This is absolutely ridiculous.

Prepare for Disappointment

The combat system seems splendid at first glance. In game, however, there are so many factors that ruin the game. Even when you play on a server that limits ping, lag is a huge issue. There are times where you will see your blade connect with your enemy, but it doesn't register.

On the subject of hits not registering, the third person view in this game really makes it hard to tell if your too close or too far for your weapon to connect with the enemy. Some weapons connect much more easily than others. Which brings up the next issue.

The game seems to lack balance. I did put some time into it, but I did not put enough to make a definitive statement on whether or not it is a balanced game. However, with the time I put in, it definitely seems like the heavier your armor and the faster your blade, the more likely you are to win. If you can out swing your enemy and interrupt your attack while being so armored that the majority of their attacks bounce off, well, you're just golden.

Verdict

This game could be so much more than it is. It's got all of the right ideas but it lacks the follow through to make it worth the price of purchase plus the pay-to-win elements. If you're looking to get a medieval combat game, I suggest Chivalry, even if it doesn't have quite as much customization as War of the Roses.

Although it does have its brief moments of fun, the amount of disappointment and frustration you experience while playing makes this game a 5 out of 10 for me.

Our Rating
5
War of the Roses takes some brilliant concepts and executes them in a frustrating way.

Featured Columnist

World traveling English teacher, writer, and aspiring front-end developer.

Games War of the Roses Genres Action Platforms PC Tags fatsharkwar of the roses
Published Mar. 7th 2013

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