A unique RTS game that will instantly hook any fan of the genre, as well as any casual gamer that gives it a shot.

User Rating: 8.5 | Knights of Honor PC
Knights of honor is a blend of classic RTS action, and leader based turn based strategy games like Heroes of Might and Magic. No clicking through the end of your turn here, though - as the whole game is real time, and fought on two scales simultaneously. Primarily, you navigate over a map of medeival Europe, where you can see your controlled provinces, towns, castles, armies, and your own marshalls. (the leaders of your armies.) Secondly, when your marshall engages an army on the main screen, you have the oppurtunity to take control of your units in a smaller, faster, RTS battle, alot like Rome: Total War. The game is very deep. This is probably the closest thing to a simulation of Medeival politics and war i have ever played. Firstly, you have a royal family. Your king will age with time, and hopefully marry and have children. You can arrange marriages between your princes/princesses and royalty of other nations, or let them marry on their own, which will usually be a commoner from your nation. Your royal family can also be appointed to your royal court, to do various duties. The royal court is made up of 9 knights, who can be either appointed there from the royal family, or hired with gold. There are several jobs they can perform; Marshall, Spy, Builder, Farmer, Cleric, and Merchant. Marshalls command your armies, Spies infiltrate other countires and gain information on them and perform various jobs of deviously cool trechary, builders promote faster building in the town they govern, farmers increase food production in towns the govern, Clerics increase piety in the town they govern, and merchants trade between other nations for gold or resources. You kingdom generates 3 primary things - Gold, Piety, and Books. Gold is obviously the form of currency, while Piety is used to influence nations to join your cause or make your nation more powerful, and books are used to increase the skill of the knights on your royal court. There are also several dozen other trade resources, which are either obtained through traveling to the new world and bringing them back, or developed in towns you control based on their natural resources. They can also be traded for. Resources serve to do two things. First, they increase the happiness of your people, and second, once you control certain resources, you gain kingdom advantages, which strengthen different aspects of your kingdom. The map is made up of countries, each with one castle and several towns. The countries are taken over by capturing the castle found within. When your in control of the country, you can build various buildings in the castle that will allow you to produce other things, be it gold, a resource, or special military units. Of course, you can also build better walls, turrets, and whatnot as well. The smaller towns in the country just serve to produce gold, food, and tools for their country. (Tools are used along with gold to build structures.) Invading armies can sack towns, but they wont take control of the country unless they attack the main castle. I've noticed a lot of people bash the A.I. in this game, but i think otherwise. The diplomatic ties between countries are so much mroe sofisticated in KOH then the more popular games like civilization. Other nations have their own agendas, but depending on their personalities (which are listed in one of the screens) they make different choices. If one nation is at war with another, and you invade one, the other nation will really start to like you, and be very likely to become your ally and help you out in the future. The diplomacy in this game is a shining feature, but you have to see it in work to fully grasp just how deep it is. Another cool thing the game throws in, is historical accuracy. For example, i started a game off as the Highlands. (The northen most region in Scotland.) Because of the time period i picked, i was at war with the lowlands, Lothian. York was firmly behind the lowlands, and while not at war with me, quite upset with me. When i was able to invade the capitol of Lothian, i succefully completed the campaign so many of us remember from the movie Braveheart - i reunited the Scottish clans, and the game asked if i wanted to change my countries name back to Scottland, as it was meant to be. Though this is the only case of this i've seen so far, im sure there are plenty more historical campaigns in the game, which add a real good feel of authenticity. The sound in the game is no joke either. Great sound effects, decent musical score, and solid voice acting, all help to bring you more into the role of a leader in medeival Europe. The only problem i ever had with the sound, was occasionally the music would seemingly stop for a few minutes. The Visuals are great as well. Okay, yeah, its 2D.... So what? Its still one of the most lusciously in depth and gorgeous looking games ive ever seen, even if the display setting is locked at 1024x768 resolution. There's plenty of fluff, and everything is well animated. The graphics are all clear and serve to assist gameplay, and never get in the way of a good time. There are only 2 problems i can see that stop this game from being 100% perfect. Firstly, there's just one map. Well, sorta 3, because of the different time periods, but everything is still laid out exactly the same. The only thing that ever changes seems to be the resources the towns have, and that might be based on time periods, as i havnt played through each more then once yet. This game could have benefitted immensly from throwing in a few more specialized maps, like say one of just England, or any other smaller region, or even better, a random map generator. In the end, replayability is going to be killed because the map is going to get boring. Secondly, the multiplayer is a joke. No multiplayer campaigns? That just seems pointless to me. There's nothing id like to do more then play a game of KOH with my friend, where we both align together to take over the known world. The only multiplayer the game does have is skirmish battles, which to me arnt that much fun to begin with. Ultimately, this is an excellent game, and i recommend it to anyone with a computer. period. Anyone should like it. Its got a great tutorial to teach you the basics, and killer gameplay. My only hope is this game gets a sequel in the near future with a random map generator and multiplayer, or if im really lucky, just a patch to this game that would allow it. What are you waiting for? get the demo now and play!