Every child in Britain would have at some point during their pre-pubescent, odourous and otherwise rainy school experience come across the character of Henry VIII, the fifteenth century equivalent to the perfect candidate for mail-order brides, in their history class. He would’ve been taught alongside the likes of Roman armies; the strongest land force since the bar that’s holding Justin Bieber’s closet shut, and the American WW2 army; which according to most Hollywood films are the culmination of Godzilla, Chuck Norris, BA Baracus and Genghis Khan – this made the Tudor love story a bit of a copout in comparison. However this is where War of the Roses comes into play; it’s like the crazy chemistry teacher that decided all scientific problems could be solved with the simple application of fire. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to History class.

To put it cruedly, War of the Roses is the medieval answer to Call of Duty. It has no single player content and is centralised around melee combat using a vast arsenal ranging from swords, warhammers and axes all the way to crossbows, longbows and cavalry mounted lance’s. Customisation is key and essential to this game just like making a half man, half woman hooker inbreed was to Saints Row 2. You can customise everything from your coat of arms, the type of sword you want, what you want the sword made out of, how sharp you want the sword; all with their own buffs that incredibly impact on gameplay. It’s like when Action Man came out and it became socially acceptable for boys to play with dolls because they weren’t just ‘dolls’, they were ‘action figures’. Except in this case, you do actually spend a lot of time deciding what your Action Man will look like; it just so happens that he’ll be wearing it while executing your enemy as opposed to taking the girls downtown for a movie and to hit on the cute guys outside the mall.

Speaking of execution, that is another thing that this game does incredibly well – gore. If you’re like me and don’t consider yourself squeamish, but at the same time don’t have to watch the Saw series just so you can get hard at night, this is the perfect game for you. Blood spatters across your screen as if it’s a Christmas decoration on your vicar’s tree, and in order to kill someone you have to perform an execution on them which usually involves impaling and/or beheading. So no, your Auntie Mildred probably won’t appreciate this game, but if it helps, you’ll learn enough about medieval warfare to run your own series of Time Team.

I fear I must stop throwing compliments at this game like a bulldog terrier would probably want to go for the jugular of those pathetic little things that compete at crufts, because this game is not without its downfalls. To put it more accurately, this game has a lot of downfalls. Dismissing the first-day-release server trouble they had simply as teething pains, there’s an awful lot more teething pains that you’d of expected them to iron out in the Beta. Starting with what holds most combat-based games together, there’s a lot of balancing issues. It’s got better since the Beta admitedly; you can no longer ride round on a horse with a lance and basically call yourself the human incarnation of the immortal Jesus, but you can still ride round and one shot kill people in the face with a lance as if the only thing they were armed with was a spatula and butter knife to occasionally throw at you like David and Goliath; only this time David could be replaced with a small peanut and Goliath with the entire primeate section of London Zoo. Yes, that was a long-winded analogy, but you haven’t had a lance poked in your face so many times that you’re beginning to think you should rent your face out as a cheap whore. There are a million other balancing issues that I could talk about but unless you’ve got a degree in Tudor-rant-ology it’s going to make as much sense to you as One Direction do to me. To put it bluntly, bluntly like the two-handed warhammers the little kiddies seem to favour swinging mindlessly in this game, the balancing is unbalanced. Little more can be said than that, hopefully this will be fixed in further weeks, but with the game being in Beta longer than Susan Boyle has had a moustache it doesn’t seem very likely.

If you ever look at popular, female based, pop groups there’s always the one that let’s the group down – the one who looks like they’ve been hit in the face with a trowel but nobody had the heart to kick them out (probably because they were the only one with real talent) but that is what the spawn system is to War of the Roses. The great fat wart on the nose of what otherwise would be a pretty damn good game. As this game is heavily based on ‘realism’, a word that’s thrown around in today’s FPS-happy world like a new brand of cocaine at the X Factor contestants flat party, it seems odd that they put in a squad spawn mechanic into the game. No, I take that back, it was downright bloody stupid. Whoever came up with this ridiculous game-breaker of an idea should actually be hung drawn and quartered due to the fact it buggers up the whole experience. There are literally countless times when me in my steel-clad heavy armour-suit of death, or as I so call it, waltz over to a pesky little archer; only to have my testicles ripped out of my eye sockets by three poncy little axemen who spontaneously appear under his feet. It can turn a very simple, and easy, fight into a certain bloodbath to which only you were invited. It even backfires when it works the other way and you spawn in on someone who you thought was running through a daisy field, but when you spawn realise was actually performing an interpretive dance entitled, “Dodge Thou Arrow Which Surely Fly Througheth Your Face And Sentence You Todiediediediedie”.

All in all I’d say that this could be a very perfect game, if only they were to sort out the issues that probably should’ve been resolved in pre-Alpha. Yes I am irritated, if they don’t fix this game I’m gonna have to find something else to do with my time until the eventual release of Halo 4, and this game seemed like a good distraction for while I’d wait. All this being said I’d advise waiting a month or so, seeing if the forum trolls have gone back under their bridges, and if so, assume they’ve fixed the game and buy it any way – you can always take your anger out on some bloody archer.




I build time machines out of DeLoreans and drink a lot of caffeine.