previews\ Feb 1, 2004 at 7:00 pm

Wars and Warriors: Joan of Arc - PC - Preview 2

Wars and Warriors: Joan of Arc from Enlight Entertainment is a hybrid action/RTS game that gives players control of Joan of Arc, a woman who heard the voice of God and fought to drive the English out of France during the Hundred Years War before she was, uh, burned at the stake as a witch.  The preview build of Joan of Arc did a fine job of meshing together elements of action and strategy, allowing players to command troops of soldiers and switch to Dynasty Warriors-style fighting on the fly.


Joan of Arc’s story begins after first hearing the voices and speaking to the dauphin Charles VII.  Charles VII sends her to Orleans to rouse up troops to fight for the cause, and so begins the course of history.  This first mission only allows you to control Joan, and serves as a bit of a tutorial stage for learning the action mechanics of the game.  Joan has a few basic combos at her disposal, which can be easily done by linking together weak and strong attacks.  Weak attacks are quick but tend to do less damage than the strong attacks, which are slower and require the use of energy points, which regain slowly over time or quickly by fighting enemies.  By defeating the opposing forces, you will gain experience points, thereby allowing you to gain abilities and increased stats.


As the game progresses, you will be able to command groups of soldiers in an RTS style.  The real time strategy features in the game aren’t too deep, only used in a tactical sense and not a unit-building way.  While you can gain more troops by stirring them to fight for you, you cannot create buildings or units like in, say, Warcraft.  However, the game’s focus is primarily on the action element, and the real fun comes from amassing troops, positioning them in a way that they will be most effective, and then switching to the action mode right into the heat of the battle.


The graphics in the preview build were quite good, although some things could be improved.  The animation looked a little robotic, but the characters moved quite smoothly, even when there was a lot of onscreen action.  The environments were very impressive, with effects like detailed textures and swaying grass.  The character models were pretty good, although they could be a little more detailed and less artificial looking.


The music effects were very good, featuring sweeping orchestral music that changed when the onscreen action would intensify.  The sound was fairly limited (no voice effects, not even grunts, groans and yells), and only seemed to offer footfalls and sword clangs.


Joan of Arc is poised to offer a heavy action-oriented take on the real time strategy genre.  Although the action may be too thick and the strategy too shallow for those looking for a more traditional RTS game, Joan of Arc is still set to be a fun and engaging game.



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