Lords of the Realm III Review
We go medieval to take command of the realm in this strategy game.
Review by Darren Cartledge
Published 13th April 2004
Lords of the Realm III
- Developer: Impression Games
- Publisher: Vivendi Universial
- Release Date: 26th March 2004
Real-time strategy games seem to fit into two categories, those that put emphasis on building cities and the collection of resources and those that focus mainly on the tactics employed in battles. Lords of the Realms III fits into the latter of the two and surprisingly it does what it does well.
On the whole the game is a pretty basic strategy game, as mentioned earlier there’s no real focus on managing your empire as this proportion of the game is all pretty automated and run by AI controlled vassals that you give a parcel of land within your kingdom to control. Vassals fit into four main groups, Knights, Clergymen, burghers and serfs. Knights obviously help build up your armies and lead you into battles against your enemies while burghers are responsible for building cities and collecting gold, clergymen will boost your health and Christianity rating while serfs will collect food to feed your armies and subjects.
This system works well and leaves you to command your armies, although at times it can leave you with nothing to do, especially if you leave the AI controlled knights to take care of battles for you.
Vassals also come in a number of ranks such as lesser, common and so on. The higher the level of the vassal the more competent they are at undertaking their roles. For instance lesser knights will raise smaller and weaker armies then a knight of the realm will, but lucky the game lets you oust weaker vassals from their positions when higher ranked vassals become available so you can constantly improve your defences, food production of gold collecting.
Strategy also comes into play when deciding what area of your kingdom you give to a vassal to control, for instance it’s a bit pointless giving a knight an area to control that is deep in your territory as your armies will have to march long distances to reach enemy locations and defend your kingdom thus they will not be able to respond as quickly to invasions.
The game features two main elements; a strategic map that gives you an overview of your kingdom and positions of your armies and a combat screen that lets you lead your men into battle. This system lets you attack various enemy targets at any one time and you are able to switch between the different battles your armies are involved in and not have to worry about the consequences as your AI controlled knight will take over the battle for you.
Before committing yourself to a battle you can merge several armies together to make a more formidable force, in the early stages of the game this works well to your advantage as enemy AI is pretty weak, although it becomes pretty much a necessity as the game progresses. After a battle has taken place it’s important for your army to return to one of your castles if it has suffered heavy losses as men aren’t automatically replaced after each battle, if you do encounter any enemy forces before you manage to reach one of your strong holds you can expect nothing but a swift defeat.
Lords of the Realm III also features a level of diplomacy, although this seems to have been some what of an after thought. The diplomacy screen lets you give gifts in the form of gold to AI controlled kingdoms in the hope of persuading them to enter into peace of an alliance with you. Other then that there’s not much else you can do there.
Graphics in Lords of the Realm III have all been done in 3D, and on the whole are pretty good, however units do have a tendency of merge into one big mass while animation isn’t as good as it could have been although siege weapons work realistically and fire effects and castle wall crumbling look good. Sound in the game has all been done well and the game features a medieval musical score that is highly fitting while sound effects and voice acting have all been executed well.
Overall Lords of the Realm III is solid strategy title, once you progress past the early stages the game provides a good challenge and has enough variety to give it a lasting appeal, while it might not be the best looking game around its graphics complement the game and there’s enough there to make it worthwhile for any real-time strategy fan.
Review Score: 7.4/10
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