An RTS is an RTS is an RTS. They all seem to play out exactly the same, and the majority seem to fail to measure up to a few shining stars in the genre (read: StarCraft & StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty). Lionheart : Kings’ Crusade, prom Paradox, is about as standard of an RTS as one can find.
In Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade, “The crowned heads of Europe launch a new military campaign to reconquer the Holy Land. The time has come for you to assemble your armies and take back the land as Richard the Lionheart, or assume the role of the great Saladin and defend your people against the oncoming invasion.” The gameplay is very similar to other wargame RTS such as SEGA’s Total War series: you command battalions of soldiers and play through different campaigns of typical battle scenarios, such as storm the castle, defense and large scale battle strategy maps. Groups of soldiers make up a battalion, and you select one or more battalions to set forth and lay waste on your mission of conquest.
This game takes quite a while to get into. The story is fairly complex and the choice of storyline gives the player the ability to play two different stories, and learn the legend from heroes on both sides. The killer of any RTS is waiting. You pick a unit, send it to a spot, and wait while they get over there. Lionheart solves this by allowing for up to 4x game speed. If you have a lot of ground to cover, the game can be sped up to cover that ground more quickly. As you progress through the game, units can be upgraded and abilities can be unlocked using Fame points earned during battle. Based on which of the four primary factions you align yourself with changes which units receive bonuses and abilities.
The coolest aspect of this game is the ability to zoom into the action. You start out with a high level overview of the map to select and move units, but when your units are engaged in battle, you can zoom the camera in and get right in the thick of things, watching full size units fight it out for your honor. It adds a neat element to the game, but most of the units have only a few attack patterns, so watching the bedlam gets old after a while.
If you are into wartime RTS games like King Arthur, then snatch up this game. 16 campaigns, two different sides to play, and decent multiplayer modes make for a very playable game. If you aren’t into the genre much, spend your $40 elsewhere there simply isn’t enough unique elements to keep you interested throughout.