Allied with the Greenskins are the Dark Elves. These creepy, whispering masters of magic with a penchant for smug self-satisfaction are the perfect counterpoint for the visceral Orc and Goblin slugfests, and their missions often require subterfuge and stealth rather than brute force. Both sides’ collection of Hero units are solid if hardly jaw-dislocatingly impressive, though intelligent use of these super slayers is even more paramount here than it was in Mark of Chaos.
Battle March’s levels are generally well designed if somewhat linear, packed with pockets of skirmishing enemies that you can choose to join or ignore. Some missions see you working with an AI force, which adds a second variable to the outcome of the level and makes for some interesting strategic situations. Attempting to bring opposing AI-controlled enemy factions into conflict with each other is also a hoot.
Sadly, many of the problems that marred the original game remain. The camera is still inept during siege missions, often leaving you staring at castle walls while your troops are massacred somewhere behind the slabs of stone you’re gazing at, and you can still grow a beard that a Dwarf would be proud of in the time it takes to load a level. Even if you’re a girl. What’s more, combat animations are still weak, the deployment phase at the inception of each level is about as useful as a light bulb on the sun, and a few missions feel a little too obviously tacked on, like a gratuitous, dark alley fight scene in a B-grade martial arts movie.
While Battle March is no Medieval II: Total War - Kingdoms, it’s still a competent expansion, which despite being similar to the main game, offers just about enough faction variety to satisfy. However, it’s just not good enough to warrant shelling out for both this and the original. And that is the real problem.
May 16, 2008