Reviewed on PC

WARLORDS BATTLECRY 2

                      Reviewed By: Nathan Baker
     VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER
GAME TECH INFO

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Strategic Studies Group/UbiSoft
Price Range: $21-30
Learning curve time: 1-30 min.
Age level: Teen to Adult
ESRB Rating: Teen
Patches / Upgrades: Latest version 1.03
System Requirements: Win95 (Win2000/XP recommended), Pentium 350/Athlon 300 minimum, 8mb video card

Genre: Real-Time Strategy (RTS)
Christian Rating: 3 of 5
   (some objectionable elements)
Gameplay: 5 of 5
   (excellent)
Violence: 2 of 5
   (heavy)
Adult Content: 4 of 5
   (barely present)

Screenshot from 'Warlord Battlecry 2'
Remember the “olden days” of computer gaming? Everything was easily categorized. It was easy to classify a game as a certain genre. As technology and games have evolved, however, sometimes genres will blend and merge. An excellent example of this is "Warlords Battlecry 2". With the original WBC, SSG took its turn-based Warlords series of games and made a real-time strategy game out of it. There are, however, enough role-playing elements to make it a strategy/RPG mix rather than a straight strategy game. This is all part of the trend towards more realistic gaming.

The game carries over several of its predecessor?s excellent features--stunning graphics, a rousing musical score, and dynamic hero stat management. Unlike the original “Battlecry”, however, “WBC2” doesn?t have a scripted campaign with a human hero. Instead, the campaign involves you choosing a race and commanding its armies. The goal? Total conquest of Etheria. It is unclear as to whether genocide or merely political dominance is the goal, but by implication one must assume that it depends on the race. While a land controlled by Orcs would not be a pleasant place to live for Elves, a land run by Humans would probably bear some resemblance to feudal society.

Before I venture too much into the political realm, though, let me say that this campaign is much better than the storyline campaign featured in the original “Battlecry”. The story in “WBC2” focuses on an integral part of the strategy game idea--straight combat. It?s like playing a whole bunch of skirmish games, but with a goal in mind. And afterwards, you can win some excellent items and play your hero in multiplayer battles with your friends. The exportable hero is something which was sorely needed before.

Screenshot from 'Warlord Battlecry 2'
Speaking of multiplayer, we all know that the multiplay aspect is really what strategy gaming is about. Playing against the AI has limited fun factor, and pitting your wit and tactical savvy against that of another is what most strategy gamers crave. Fortunately, there is a very strong multiplayer section of the game. In fact, a World Editor comes free with the game and allows players to design their own maps, should the large number of included ones not satisfy. The developers? Web site (www.ssg.com.au/wbc2/) contains everything from patches to new maps and AI files to keep the game dynamic.

One problem you will find, though, is that the ubi.com multiplay servers aren?t exactly as popular as Blizzard?s Battle.net servers. You can usually find a few people on the DaemonWings server, but in general if you want to engage in multiplayer you should have a willing friend who has the game as well, because that will usually be the only competition you can find.

Box art for 'Warlords Battlycry 2'The question I still haven?t answered, though, is whether the disturbing elements in this game makes it worth even pulling off the shelf. And if you?ve seen the box art, that?s the first clue that there will be several things that you can object to. The box depicts a demonic knight standing victorious over the foes he has defeated. Not a box you want to display prominently in your room. The game is rated “T” for blood and violence, and the disturbing images the developers seem to enjoy throwing at us won?t make the experience any more enjoyable. But that?s not even the root of the problem, especially since you can turn the blood off.

Three (if I?m remembering right) new races were added since WBC. One of these races is the Daemon race. While it is spelled in the archaic form, this is still somewhat disturbing. A game that lets you play as a demon with the objective of releasing your hordes of fallen angels on the world--that?s just wrong. Additionally, as with almost every RPG, there?s the aspect of magic. Magic here falls into several different categories, but with two basic objectives: harm your enemies or enhance yourself and your allies.

These aspects of the game are quite disturbing. The Dark Elves, for example, can sacrifice their troops with a chance of summoning a Daemon. The Daemon race can build a Chaos Shrine to summon their Titan, Balora, a powerful Daemon. Necromancers can raise bodies from the dead and call forth zombies from the Earth.

This is all very disturbing, of course. I would like to offer one comment, not as an apology for the developers who added these things, but as a statement of my own perspective. You see, life is about choices. We choose whether or not to buy this game. We choose whether or not to do drugs, to rob a store, or to live a pure life. God has given us free will so that we can choose to love Him on our own, without being forced, but we can also choose to reject Him. In the same way, this game allows you to make choices. Though it is just a game, and “killing” game-generated creatures is just a fantasy, I am seriously disturbed by the occult and hellish nature of some of the things in this game. But demons and magic exist in real life, too. So you can play through the game and avoid magic and the summoning of demons and undead, just as you can live your life and avoid involvement in the occult and Satanic worship. Or you can indulge in these things in the game, just as you can in real life. While playing the Daemonic race may not carry the consequences of Satan worship, it does help inure the player and callous his or her heart towards the evils that it can bring. So I won?t say this game is, in itself, evil. It just offers you choices that portray evil.

So, in final review, this is a fun game. It doesn?t have the popularity of the “WarCraft” series (and “WarCraft 3” is similar to this game in many respects), but it can be just as immersive. And as long as you guard your mind and make good choices--and realize that this game is a pastime, not a suggestion on how to live your life--then you will have fun. Just be careful, with this and all games, and you?ll enjoy the time you spend relaxing and conquering!

Year of Release—2002



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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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