War of the Roses video preview - We wade into battle with the developers

Few games allow you to drop a battle axe onto another player's head, plow enemies into the ground from horseback, or viciously stab them in the face as they lay on the ground helpless and defeated. War of the Roses is bringing the action of the medieval battlefield to competitive multiplayer. From the third-person perspective, players control a medieval warrior and try to bash, slash, and shoot each other to death in peasant towns, murky swamps, and tournament arenas. Senior Producer, Gordon Van Dyke, walked us through the profile editor and a match in War of the Roses during a recent Paradox event. See the game in action for yourself in the video below.

In our short hands-on time with War of the Roses, we discovered the intricacies the developers put into the game's hit detection. Running into battle and carelessly swinging your sword will likely get you killed since several armor types like plate armor and mail render sword slashes ineffective. When you choose the correct weapon against armor-types and aim for vital areas, you'll greatly increase your chances of not getting stabbed through the chest as you helplessly lay on the ground. Once you do manage to bring down an executioner's ax on top of an opponent's lightly-armored head or use a dagger to pierce through enemy mail for a quick kill, it is extremely satisfying.

Coupled with the intricate hit detection system, the striking and blocking system for the melee combat feels just as deep - making for combat that is highly skill-based. Clicking and holding the left mouse button then moving it in one of four directions charges an attack from the specified direction. So you will be able to indicate whether you want to perform a crushing blow from above, piercing stabs, or horizontal slashes. On top of that, blocking works the same way. So, if an enemy is telegraphing their attacks, you might be able to successfully block then land a devastating counter attack. For those who like to stay away from close combat, don't think that you'll own everyone on the field when you arm yourself with a ranged weapon. Crossbows take several seconds to load, and bows take precise calculation and timing to hit your intended target. So, nailing regular headshots will take quite a bit of practice.

War of the Roses will be releasing on Steam in September 2012, but you might be able to get an early look when the beta releases in mid-August. So, stay tuned to GamesRadar for more information.

Lorenzo Veloria

Many years ago, Lorenzo Veloria was a Senior Editor here at GamesRadar+ helping to shape content strategy. Since then, Lorenzo has shifted his attention to Future Plc's broader video game portfolio, working as a Senior Brand Marketing Manager to oversee the development of advertising pitches and marketing strategies for the department. He might not have all that much time to write about games anymore, but he's still focused on making sure the latest and greatest end up in front of your eyes one way or another.