Each island of the three then climaxes with an epic set-piece battle, or two. Well, ‘battle’ doesn’t do them justice - these are wars. They make Dead Rising’s mass retail ruckuses seem like playground slaps. And even with literally hundreds of warriors shambling about, all fighting, all blocking and all dying, somehow everything remains fluid, detailed and HD-pretty. The only real comparison is with an RTS but those collective crusades tend to be seen from eight miles high, not within eyeball splattering-radius.
The only thing that lacks luster as these warrior automatons make a believable stab at swashbuckling is the sound. This is meant to be Good-vs-Evil clashing on the cusp of Armageddon but somehow it lacks so much atmosphere as to be eerie, not scary. War should be louder than this, not least to compete in tera-decibels with the legendary Brian Blessed’s bellowed voice-over. Where are the clinks of mace on chainmail, the howls as Viking bone is twatted into powder and the banshee screams of Berserkers in battle? Sure, the score is good and the vocal acting more than up to scratch, but the SFX are just too wimpy and sparse both on the frontline battle and while you wander.
Perhaps a little more smoke and a few shinier mirrors might do the trick, because without the wailing of war or perhaps a few dramatic but harmless trebuchet shots landing nearby, you don’t always feel the drama in your very marrow, as you surely should. This is a fight for the survival of your people but you don’t feel part of the whole, just the ‘hole who started this war.