|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Neocore Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Neocore Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 24, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
This large-scale combat is exciting and tense. Using all the tactical resources at your disposal gives you a lot of leeway to find winning strategies to take down enemy forces. The problem is it doesn't take long for King Arthur's steep difficulty curve to bite you in the backside. Even on the easiest difficulty setting, you'll soon wind up railroaded into hard-to-avoid battle situations where you're likely to get ground to a pulp no matter what your approach to combat or army management is. Losing Arthur or having too many of your forces whittled down spells an instant game over, forcing you to restart from a recent auto save. Depending on how you play, it's easy to accidentally back yourself into a corner and have to backtrack in this manner. Otherwise, the game is really quite enjoyable.
When you're not trying to kill people, there are other activities to engage in. Quests bring up a choose-your-own adventure style interface that presents snippets of narrative and multiple options for what course of actions you want to take. You'll have to run through a lengthy tree of these encounters before wrapping up a given quest. Some will have you spending money or food. Others will lead to battle. Ultimately, your decisions in these side excursions not only affect the outcome of a given quest, they can also have an impact on your troops, your religious leanings, the wheel of morality that tracks your deeds, and the vitality of your forces.
King Arthur has a polished, impressive overall presentation that features some marvelous artwork and a well-designed interface. Help menus that explain the various elements of gameplay pop up early on, though they're not overly intrusive, and they actually have some style to them. On the map and in combat, the graphics look great on higher settings. The quick-zoom camera lets you get some truly cinematic views of the action, from a ground level perspective on the fighting to the standard eagle-eye view. Voice work and the soundtrack are also well done.
Though the extreme difficulty curve gives us some pause, King Arthur is an easy title to recommend. All of the various elements come together nicely with a gorgeous and stylish presentation. Neocore has already released a major patch to tweak some of the early issues, and their attentiveness to player feedback bodes well for the future of this engaging fantasy title.
CCC Staff Contributor