Warlords III: Reign of Heroes was a decent game with a large following. Darklords Rising picks up after the first and adds more scenarios, more campaigns, new units, and new heroes. RoH was touted as "Turn Based Game of the Year" from various magazines and Reb Orb has tried to incorporate users suggestions into a worthy sequel instead of an addon.
The object is pretty simple, be the last man standing. No new themes here, just a relatively simple turn based strategy game. You further yourself by capturing cities and building your army while maintaining some diplomacy with your friends, allies, and enemies. Your heroes are your key players. They get the items. They get the advancements. They get the nifty spells, attacks, etc. It's somewhat similar to the Heroes of Might and Magic series, but due to the fact that I haven't played HOMM I can't really make any comparisons.
It's 2D just like Reign of Heroes. It looks pretty decent in 1024x768 and runs smoothly. It doesn't appear to have many differences in interface or graphics from the original, so don't expect anything new.
Sound is okay. It's pretty much generic sound effects, though each unit has different sounds and there's lots of units. It's adequate, but doesn't make any strides in adding to the gameplay.
It's pretty simple to play although there's lots of menus. If there's any little bitty thing that can have a menu, it's in here. It's pretty easy to get started in. You build your units, defend your cities, move out and take more cities. The tutorial mission was good for getting started but it left some of the aspects of the game sketchy since it didn't really instruct you on how some things worked and how they affected the game. I found the base for the game to be somewhat similar to Seven Kingdoms. It had a similar feel on how the game went along, but the two games aren't any closer than that. It's turn based, so it's not as quick paced as it could be, but it does move along pretty well. It doesn't seem to move along fast enough when there are a lot of computer opponents.
Fun Factor 12/20
If you liked Turn Based Strategy and you liked the first one, it's worth a look. I found mys interest level dropping as the game went along. It's not real easy to decide where you want to do and who you want to do it with. The campaigns are decent enough to hold your attention but they aren't enough to rivet you there.
It supports up to 8 players and has all the standard forms of multiplayer. In addition it has the old fashioned "Email" gameplay that isn't seen too much anymore. It's a decent multiplayer turnbased strategy. I prefer some of the military tbs's better but it does benefit from the multiplayer to a degree.
Overall Impression 6/10
It's a rehash of Reign of the Heroes. The box says it includes the campaigns and scenarios from RotH, so that right there sounds like ADDON to me, not exactly worth a sequel. It does feature some decent improvements over RotH, so it might be worth it if you liked the original. Otherwise, I really can't say it's a bad tbs, just not anymore than decent. Just wait for HOMM3 if you're hungry for a Medieval style turn baser!
People who downloaded Warlords 3: Darklords Rising have also downloaded:
Warlords 3: Reign of Heroes, Warlords 4: Heroes of Etheria, Warlords II Deluxe, Warlords, Warlords 2, Warlords Battlecry 2, Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos, Warlords: Battlecry III
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