Score: 6.3 / 10
is one of those games that gets me wondering about Sega and their wacky
business decisions. This
title had a pretty good buzz going for it just prior to its Japanese
release in a number of the really hardcore gaming circles, yet it takes
over a year to get here and worst of all, it winds up on the gaming
platform that is the sworn enemy of much of the console gaming crowd:
the PC. Adding insult to
injury is that this title is a real-time strategy game.
On the Dreamcast Hundred Swords had the advantage of novelty,
there just arenít many games from this genre available for consoles.
You could probably count them all on one hand, now in comes this
game onto a platform with such franchises as Command & Conquer, Age
of Empires, and War/StarCraft. Hundred
Swords mimic much of what these games do well, while throwing in some
twists, but ultimately just doesnít compare to the old guard of PC
strategy games. This is a
title that is really only worth picking up if you really wanted the
Dreamcast version of the game, but had to wait for some sort of
localization to know what the hell was going on in the story.
Everyone else need not apply.
The gameplay in Hundred Swords is a very clumbsy, rollie-pollie experience. The units canít be commanded individually, you can only tell the regiments what to do, so no picking one or two brave souls to lure the enemy while the gang waits behind some rocks, sacks of door knobs at the ready. Instead youíre stuck with large, cumbersome regiments which can are selected by clicking on the portrait of their commander. Their pathfinding leaves much to be desired as well. Itís like watching a sad, sad game of electronic Marco Polo, units wandering astray or getting caught up in some trees and such. These problems largely go away after playing the game for a short while and you become accustomed to them, but sometimes in the heat of the moment youíll find yourself muttering, ďOh, bloody hell, get it together guys!Ē because either youíve got a couple of troops falling behind, or youíre stumbling about getting a regiment to where you want it. The rest of the game is largely your standard real-time strategy fair with either gathering resources to build up troops and gain generals so you have adequate forces to take on the enemy, or being given a finite number of soldiers to fight the good fight with. Either way, donít expect the bad guys ní gals to really put up much resistance, they arenít pushovers,
but they arenít exactly the baddest bunch of mofos to ever walk the Earth. The types of troops you have at your disposal are a tad limited too only having archers, infantry, cavalry, and mages, all of which have an enemy they can mop the floor with and, conversely, an enemy that can mop the floor with them. Itís the polar opposite approach to unit design that we see every so often, but it feels arbitrary, almost forced.
least the story doesnít feel forced though, as it follows the story of
a young king whose lands are in a civil war and heís stuck trying to
make everything hunky dory again. Itís
actually a lot better than a lot of the narratives that have been in
console games as of late, with some decent dialogue and an epic plot.
Conversation carries the story, though there are some translation
quibbles here and there, but all in all the story is very palatable.
for aesthetics, Hundred Swords is a fine example of how bringing a game
straight onto the PC from a console without any polish can hurt a
titleís visuals. The
graphics in the game retain their 640X480 resolution, a la TVs so
everything looks a little dull and the colors are all washed out so
there just isnít that pop as the visuals jump off the screen.
Design is rudimentary too with chubby polygonal characters
marching across rather sparse landscapes.
Also annoying is the cameras.
Itís either too close so you canít really see whatís around
you very well, or too far so you canít tell which unit is what very
well. The one nice thing
about the graphics are the character portraits during the cutscenes,
these are very well draw. As
for sound, the quality isnít really there in the effects as you get
the basic weapon noises and some other ambient sounds that sort of help
add to the mood, but you wouldnít miss them if they werenít there
though the music is alright as it wonít have you scrambling for the
ďMuteĒ switch as fast as you can.
I said before, this game is really only for those who saw Hundred Swords
get released in Japan and were sort of curious about it, but couldnít
play the game because they wouldnít understand what the hell is going
on due to the language barrier. The
big PC RTS franchises simply destroy this game in terms of quality, even
the older ones, but if youíve never played those games and donít
intend to itíll make this game a lot more enjoyable.
In some ways ignorance is bliss after all.
- Mr. Nash
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