King Arthur II: The Procrastinator’s Survival Guide
Yes, I started playing King Arthur II when it was released in Jaunary 2012. No, it didn’t take me that long to finish it. Maybe, I could be a bit lazy in getting something written about it. Probably, it was because King Arthur II presents such an enigma wrapped inside a riddle rolled inside a burrito.
To get you off and running, In King Arthur II Britannia has fallen to chaos thanks to the resurgence of an ancient enemy from Celtic myth known as the Fomorians. Commanded by the demon king Balor still trapped in the void, their armies have dealt a tremendous blow to Arthur himself, inflicting upon him a wound that will not heal. It is tasked to his son, William Pendragon, to find the means by which to heal his father, close the nether gates from which the Fomorian hordes are swarming, unite the warring provinces of Britannia, and generally be a suave mofo. Over time he enlists the aid of other figures from Arthurian legend to bring Britannia to a new age of enlightenment, and unlike many other similar wargames, William has more at his disposal than overwhelming force.
It’s a combination of a storytelling adventure, a real-time strategy, and a grand strategy game. Personally, I think they could’ve done without the real-time strategy (Hate them so much. So, so mucchhh), but there’s enough here to keep everybody happy. If there’s one major criticism to be said it’s that developers created only the one way to win. And that can be counterintuitive at times. So, here are a few tips to get you underway.
Follow the leader. The initial tutorial elements can seriously screw you over if you decide to strike out on your own immediately. Certain buttons are inoperable. The whole game can grind to a halt and you’ll have to start over. This also has the unwanted effect of making you feel that you must adhere to the objectives at all times, leading me to my next point.
Take your time. You’re on a quest to save your wounded father. You’ve got to close the nether gates quickly. Hurry, hurry, hurry. Take my advice: IGNORE IT! If you flit around Britannia never at full strength or properly equipped you’ll soon find your ass handed to you. The objectives will stay where they are. Take the time to ensure you’re ready for what’s ahead of you and what has yet to rear up and bite you in the keister. And remember, there’s always a nasty surprise waiting for you.
Weigh the benefits of having allies and enemies. The Fomorians, and later on other races, are your enemies from the start. But there are also the rulers of other provinces in Britannia who are trying to maintain some stability amid all the havoc. Attacking them is not always wise. Gain the friendship of a province and you can establish trade agreements with them. You can obtain new equipment, gain stat bonuses, and other goodies. Also, they will defend themselves when attacked by your enemies. On the other hand, if you conquer their lands their resources become yours. It is also now your responsibility to defend those lands when your forces could be of better use elsewhere. Think long and hard before offering the olive branch or the sword.
Don’t distribute your forces too thinly across the map. The lands you take will fall to the Fomorians if you are not present to defend them. Without their resources, you will quickly find yourself unable to replenish your army’s numbers. Don’t delve too deeply into enemy territory or commit your forces to a single front in order to reduce the chances of an enemy burning and pillaging your distant, undefended territories.
Pool your equipment at the forge. You will obtain pieces of equipment for your heroes as various battles conclude. Anything you don’t immediately equip, take it to the forge and leave it there for future heroes. Don’t give in to the temptation to break it down for experience points because it looks like junk. You’d be surprised how many useless pieces become instrumental later on.
Balance your forces. It may seem cool, but an army composed of just one type of soldier is easily destroyed. Someone who uses all archers is going to have their butts handed to them by a few units of heavy infantry and fast-moving cavalry. You need light infantry on the defensive for ambushing oncoming forces. You need heavy infantry to pursue archers. You need cavalry to rip apart anyone stuck out in the open. You need spearmen to deter flying enemies and cavalry. And two heroes aside from the character you play as will benefit the units to which they have an affinity.
Upgrade your heroes ASAP. The heroes that march with your army are immeasurably valuable. They can cast magic spells to demoralize the enemy. They can strengthen your own flagging forces. Make sure to equip them based on the role you intend to use them in battle. The same goes for allocating their skill points when they level. And you can’t go wrong marrying them off quickly. Heroes are what make the difference when you face a force superior to your own.
Polarize your behavior. There is a moral inventory system at work here. You can either be a rightful ruler or a tyrant. You can also be a Christian or adhere to the Old Faith. To unlock specialized troops and abilities, pick a side and stick with it throughout the game. It doesn’t matter which side you pick since their abilities are all equally useful; the point is that you want to be as much a rightful ruler or a tyrant as possible. Make a caricature of a real ruler. Go nuts.
Save often. What can I say? Bad things happen. Right in the mouth. Save often, especially before important fights and adventure quests in which multiple outcomes are possible. You may find reloading to obtain a different outcome will make your future a lot easier.