It's been awhile since we've seen a massive multiplayer swordfighting game because there just aren't that many out there (maybe...one?) Let's face it, most of us are accustomed to shotguns and sci-fi weaponry that the idea of having to tactfully bludgeon someone to death seems like too much work. It is more work, but it's also more rewarding when you deliver the final death blow after a few harrowing minutes of intense combat. War of the Roses is still in alpha, but Paradox Interactive had us don our battle armor, pick our weapon of choice and duke it out with fellow journalists. It takes a bit of getting used to the controls at first but we had a bloody good time.
Who developed it? War of the Roses is developed by Fatshark and will be published by Paradox Interactive.
What is it? War of the Roses is a massive multiplayer game that will support at least 32 people on the PC (not finalized) and have a single player campaign component. It's a game that CEO Fred Wester had always wanted to make, and at the helm of the project is former DICE employee Gordon Van Dyke.
What does it look like? We'll admit that we didn't spend a ton of time examining our surroundings but the arena that we played in was a small, abandoned village, with empty homes and sheds to run around in. Considering this was a team deathmatch, we didn't want to wander too far from the crowd because it only takes a few blows before your third person view point changes to a first person one and the last thing you see is someone driving a sword through your throat...
How does it play? To move your character, you use the WASD keys, and if you're using a swinging weapon the left mouse button is to attack and the right mouse button is to parry. To parry you have to carefully time your movements and a red indicator will let you know where the blow is coming from. If you're paying attention, your enemy's movements will give that away as well, so there is time to react and avoid getting clobbered.
For ranged fighters, bow and arrow users have to hold the right mouse button to charge and then fire with the left button. Crossbow users take an extremely long time to load their weapon so make sure you're doing it at a distance. We know first hand what it's like to get gutted because we were too busy trying to load the cursed thing. Once it is loaded though, you can hang back and toss a powerful shot in to the fray, which can help a save a teammate, assuming you actually hit anything. Depending on your play style, you can get up close and personal with a variety of swords, maces and lances. We played with several preset characters and there was quite a difference between playing as a nimble archer than a fully-armored soldier with a lance.
When does it come out? War of the Roses' release date is scheduled for some time in Q3 of this year.