Battle Realms: Winter of the Wolf – PC – Review

Your clan charges forth, wolves at
your command, blood taints the water, magic and missiles fill the air.  You are
Grayback, lost leader and heir to the throne of the Wolf Clan. 

Battle Realms-Winter of the Wolf
lets you pick from several quests.  The path of Grayback, leader of the Wolf
Clan is the newest installment for the series.  The gameplay is typical, but
offers more options than most strategy games of this type.  While similar to
Warcraft, the user is given more options in upgrading clansmen, and more bonus
upgrades to develop the town’s resources. 

You must manage your town with a
balance of farmers, irrigation, and water collection.  Build your town and your
defenses quickly.  Take those non-productive peasants and turn them into
maulers, sledgers, or a whole slew of other battle types.  Make sure you balance
your army with long-range soldiers, quick fighters, and those who just plain
stomp everything.  This balance is critical because certain soldiers are needed
to get past obstacles, such as diggers to borough under gates, slingers to hit
switches from long range, and Sledgers to bash through rock slides.  Notice that
your soldiers will continue to fight in battle until all enemies are defeated or
out of range.  Don’t send your troops in if they are outnumbered severely as it
is very difficult to run away.  This feature does allow for a more flowing
battle scene for the user.  It seems that the soldiers each have intentions and
strategies to follow, but keep a tight leash.  Once you are free from the
battlefield, your soldiers will recoup their strength and stamina.  Better be a
patient gamer, because it takes a minute to refill their strength, even from
running a good distance. 

There are literally hundreds of key
combos to use as shortcuts, but you don’t really need most of them.  Ubi Soft
and Crave have built the GUI so you are aware of all happenings within your town
and army.  You are alerted when a peasant is idol (an icon appears-click and go
to peasant; and a sound chimes), when there is battle (an icon appears and
swords clash), and the territory map in the lower right gives locations of your
town, your troops, your allies, and battlegrounds.  Use mouse-overs to quickly
view status info on troops, buildings, and enemies. 

The battle scenes are awesome, but
make sure you have enough video memory.  You’ll need at least 16MB VRAM to run
it at all, and it is suggested to have greater than 32MB.  Watch as the snow is
drenched with blood and body parts.  The water slowly dissipates the blood after
you’ve slain the enemy.  The forests appear to have nice depth, and the concept
of moving under the canopy is creative.  Birds warn of approaching danger as
they squawk and scatter from the limbs.  You can even see the shadow of clouds
as they pass overhead.

I have explored the multiplayer
aspects of few games, so maybe it’s just that I’m new to Internet gaming, but
this game rocks online.  Join up to 8 players for a huge battle.  My favorite is
the two on two battles.  It’s hard to keep players online long enough to
complete a game and keeping it to 2-v-2 allows for nice teamwork.  It runs great
over my cable modem, but may lag in battle sequences over a modem.  Concentrate
more on quantity of soldiers than quality.  If the battle lingers, then upgrade,
but you need to move and build fast.  It adds a new element to the strategy of
the game.  Don’t forget, get some buddies at work, and play over the LAN.  It
should run like you are just playing on your PC. 

Scoring Details

Gameplay: 8.5
The user interface is very easy and effective.  However, in single player
mode there is so much waiting involved.  I had to twiddle my thumbs a little too
much.  Once your troops are moving and attacking, there’s constant chaos and

Graphics: 8.5 
Shadows of clouds overhead, ripples and blood in the water, and especially
the rain and snow are visually stunning.  I wish the lines on the characters
were smoother, but I think the real focus for the graphics is for the battle
scenes to flow smoothly.  And they really do.

Sound: 9
Very solid.  The music and effects are all stimulating to the graphics
displayed.  Check out the voice on the Sledger; he sounds like Arnold

Difficulty: Medium
Build as many soldiers as you can, then throw them into battle and watch the
massacre.  You can get unlimited water and unlimited rice (have to water the
fields though), so the resources are always available. 

Concept: 7 
There are lots of games that are clan based – grow your town, build your
army, and accomplish the mission at hand.  WOTW does bring a slightly different
look to the battle scenes, and that’s where its originality plays in.

Multiplayer: 9.5
Absolutely awesome.  It’s lots of fun to team up with other clans, and chat
to coordinate your attacks and defenses.  I could eat up days with the online

Overall: 8.5
I liked the multiplayer aspect of the game better than the game itself, but
both present their own challenges.  I think the real beauty behind the battle AI
is exposed through playing with other humans.  The campaigns are dynamic to an
extent, but it’s very similar to many other “destroy everything” games such as
Warcraft.  Like that’s bad.  Warcraft is one of the most successful games out
there, but WOTW is a better kick butt game.